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How to Avoid the Top 5 Common Mistakes Graphic Designers Make

Don’t feel bad if you recognize yourself in any of these mistakes, be them related to spell checking, wrong typography choice or too many vector graphics. Almost all graphic designers out there committed them at least once in their career. Let us see what these mistakes are and how to avoid them.

1. Failing to Understand the Brief

This could happen if the brief is…to brief, or worded in an abstract manner. Sometimes, the client, trying to be helpful, adds a lot of explanations, examples that make things worse, in fact. Never take for granted the fact that you are pretty sure you know what the client means.

The best solution for avoiding this mistake is to talk to the client, be in constant communication and ask for feedback. Once you have outlined your general idea for the design, the client will tell you if this is what he has in mind or not. And as you progress with your work, make sure you get feedback for every stage of the project.

2. Wrong Typography Choices

Some fonts are trendy at a certain period. The trend will last for a summer or half a year – at the maximum. Then your client has to live with an outdated font that has no relevance for the brand or business. If you want to understand what we mean, just check the logo rebranding for Gap and AT&T, which are already included in the designers’ hall of shame.

The best way to avoid this is to disregard current trends and search for a font that truly represents the brand and is timeless. For instance, BBC has the same logo font for 17 years, and it doesn’t look outdated.

3. Too Many Stock Photos

Over-abusing royalty free images will make your work look sloppy. It makes you look like a lazy person who pasted together ready made images, added some effects in Photoshop and that’s it. It is understandable that a client will complain that he didn’t get value for his money.

Avoid creating a bad reputation by using stock images only when they are required by the client, or when you truly believe that including that image will convey your vision on the design brief. Also, don’t purchase the image from the best known stock image websites. Chances are, that image is included in tens or hundreds of other designs already. Instead, you could select thematic vector graphics and adapt them to give the overall image an original look and save you a lot of design time. Check out our Vector Graphics online store, we have plenty of options to choose from.

4. Forgetting to Proofread

Spell checkers are a great aid, but they can only help you in terms of misspelled words. They will not spot a correctly spelled word used in the wrong context. The most common mistakes revolve around words like “their”, “there” and “they’re”, each meaning something different.

This mistake can be easily avoided if you read every bit of text before sending the final design to the client.

5. Not Saving in the Correct Format

We will be brief on this one: CMYK for print and RGB for web. Always. No exceptions. Plus, remember issues such as bleed, trim and safety areas when you design for print.

Now, these being said, we hope that your work will get to higher quality standards and we are looking forward to hearing how you overcame other issues regarding clients’ demands, vector graphics mistakes and logo redesigns.

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  • jmcgraphics

    Item 4: Yeah, proofreading. When I’m rushed I have tendency to “look it over” rather than “look it thru”, which means, when it comes back I can’t charge it is an author alteration, whether copy or graphics. As for Item 1, I have to draw a line between “what they ask for” as opposed to “what they really want”. That is my maxim.

    The bulk of my work is telecommute. Some of my customers have a knack for sending instructions in “text-ese”, using abbreviations that mean zilch to me, or using half-complete or “clipped” sentences that are perfectly clear to them, but no one else. How can I tell them that diplomatically, without sounding “superior” or “testy”. Clear communication is vital. I always ask for briefs or instructions in writing, unless we are F-2-F. Then I take notes. When finished, I read my notes back to them, for any further clarification.

Ionut B
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Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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