1. Not considering the message
The whole purpose of design is to convey a specific message. Often, we tend to get ahead of ourselves, thinking about
the images and treatments we want to use in the design. If we simply take a moment to consider the overall reason
for the design, we will produce a better product for our clients. Take a couple of minutes to brainstorm and sketch.
Come up with several concepts that provide a visual illustration for your client's message. It's worth the extra time
Would this sign encourage you to pet (pat) a dog?
2. Not considering the audience
Perhaps you have had a great idea you have been mulling over for a while; or, you have just discovered a great new
source for images that you have wanted to try out. Either way, sometimes we have a great idea or resource we use on
the first project that comes our way. Before you jump on an idea, think first about the audience that will be seeing the
end design. Are they young or old, student or professional, conservative or liberal? These and other descriptors should
shape the colours, images and other elements you use in your design. If you are unsure about the characteristics of
the intended audience, schedule a time to review these details with your client. They should be happy you are taking
this into consideration.
3. Not considering the usage
Before you start your design, ask your client what carrier they will be utilizing. This is especially important when
designing a logo. It may look fantastic on a billboard or window display but become hard to read when shrunk down for
a hat, stationary or pen. Likewise, colour choices may not translate well depending on how and when the logo will be
used. Once the logo is designed, try it out on different colours and in different sizes. If it is not translating well, make
some tweaks (or start over if necessary). Companies want logos that last, so if you do not take the extra time up front,
they may have to invest quite a bit more down the road when they discover their logo is not as versatile as they had
4. Not allowing for breathing room
Whitespace is our friend. Embrace it. Love it. Use it. It is easy to fall into the clutter trap of design. There are so many
captivating images we want to use to convey the message. The best way to circumvent this pitfall is to take the time to
edit. Once you have finished your design, take a break. Walk away from your workspace so you can come back with a
fresh eye. It is also good to have a friend or coworker that you can have evaluate your work.
5. Not evaluating the fonts
Fonts, they can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Many designers fail to understand how much a font can convey.
If you have not already done so, it is a great idea to make a study of typography so you can understand the value of
the different style of fonts. Another mistake that can be made is using too many different fonts. It is important to have
unity in your design. Your fonts should work together to create a common feel and image.
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UPDATED 12 FEBRUARY 2015
5 COMMON GRAPHIC DESIGN MISTAKES