Even the best graphic designers fall victim to the occasional design mistake, as trends quickly come and go and leave them racing to catch up with the newest looks. If professional designers are prone to making mistakes, that can only mean that non-designers utilizing today’s countless online design resources are bound to break several cardinal design rules. With websites popping up such as Canva for creating social media graphics, NamePress for designing trendy customized clothing, and Zazzle to create everything from logos to Zoom backgrounds, we’re sharing the top design mistakes to avoid — so your self-inspired creations impress instead of disappoint.
1. Too Many Fonts
Designing without formal instruction or a creative instinct often results in the use of too many fonts, creating a disorganized and disheveled look to your design. While you’re under the impression that mixed fonts are adding character and interest, what they’re actually doing is adding distraction. Pick one or two fonts that align with your intended tone of the design, and instead of including multiple fonts, try typography instead. Typography is the art of arranging type so it’s interesting to the eye, such as making impactful words larger and bolder while supporting words are smaller. Typography adds depth to a design and also helps carry the reader’s eyes through the copy in an engaging way.
2. Too Many Colors
Colors evoke very specific emotions from anyone viewing a design, and amateur designers tend to use too many colors and color palettes that don’t match. Color combinations should provide just the right amount of contrast, help readability, and grab the viewer’s attention. Try this handy tool from Adobe that allows you to search for a color and presents you with a wide array of palettes that work.
3. Not Enough White Space
The goal of design is to fill the space, right? Wrong. White space, also referred to as negative space, is a critical element of every design. Without white space, designs look crowded and overwhelming. While it’s easy to assume it does the opposite, white space actually draws the viewer’s attention to your intended focal point of the design. White space is best related to today’s best practices in website design, which is long scrolling homepages with brief but impactful text, simply iconography or photography, and lots of white space to keep the visitor flowing down the page along with your content.
4. Hard-to-Read Text
You might love that floral background for your marketing brochure, but that means your text will be incredibly hard to read. A common design mistake of non-designers is not making text legible enough, with too many backgrounds and not enough contrast of text placed over the backgrounds. It’s important to remember that the goal of any graphic design is to be visually appealing, but more importantly to clearly communicate your message. If you fall in love with a dark or busy background, use white or a bright-colored text over it so the copy pops out of the background.
5. Choosing the Wrong Fonts
As mentioned above when it comes to color, fonts also evoke certain emotions. This makes an understanding of the power of fonts critical to any design. Fonts can convey elegance, formality, playfulness and much more. For example, designing custom t-shirts for your grandparent’s 50th Anniversary celebration with a bubble or chalk font will give an awkward youthful vibe, instead of the intended elegant tone you would achieve with a beautiful script font. Flip the scenario for a child’s 5th birthday party, where a fun bubble font is ideal on a t-shirt alongside their favorite character.
Utilizing any online design resource today is quite easy, and most of them are set up with countless design templates to help you along. However, almost all of them allow you to personalize your creations to a certain degree — which is where these design mistakes come into play. Before you venture onto NamePress for custom apparel or Canva for a social media graphic, review these all-too-common design mistakes and make sure you don’t become their next victim.