There are endless excuses for why people can't create quality designs on their own. They don't have an eye for design, they're not artistic or they have no creativity.
These things may be true, but it doesn't mean you are incapable of creating quality designs. With a few simple principles and techniques anyone can learn to design. As a creative business owner you'll frequently be tasked with creating new designs for social media graphics, pop-up promotions, flyers and brand collateral.
In this post, I share a few of the most common design mistakes and how to fix them. If you think you may be guilty of making a few of these mistakes, keep reading!
1 | Consistently inconsistent
Inconsistency is one of the most common graphic design mistakes people make. It's so common because people like to experiment with new colors, fonts and graphics. Although, it's fun to mix it up and keep it fresh, it actually hurts your brand recognition.
Consistency creates brand recognition.
The goal when designing all brand collateral pieces should be to reinforce your brand even if your logo isn't present. When you are committed to creating consistent graphics your audience can recognize your brand without your logo. In order to create consistent designs rely on the same colors, fonts, patterns, borders, etc.
If you are overwhelmed with where to start, or your business doesn't have a brand style guide, start by creating a color palette and choosing 2-3 fonts. With just these two design elements remaining consistent your brand recognition will easily increase.
2 | Font overload
Another common design mistake is adding too many fonts to your design.
When creating a new design it's important to limit your font usage for a number of reasons. A few being: consistency, communication and hierarchy.
As mentioned above, it's important to create consistency to improve brand recognition. In regards to communication, it can be hard to understand a designs message if too many fonts are being used. It's distracting and often overwhelming. Hierarchy should also be considered when using fonts. Hierarchy, as I'll discuss later, aids in communication and legibility for your audience.
Brands should limit themselves to 2-3 fonts. This allows you to create contrast, hierarchy and consistency.
It's also important to include font guidelines for your brand. Font guidelines refer to how, when and where you choose to use a font. This creates consistency and increases brand recognition. View the example below:
3 | Lack of hierarchy
As briefly mentioned above, hierarchy is also an important design factor.
Hierarchy is the top design technique that ranks the importance of your information. Whenever you're creating a new design there is typically one general message you want to communicate. Whether you're communicating a sale, upcoming event or new blog post, how you create hierarchy in your design will dictate what your audience takes away from your design.
You can create hierarchy through colors, font density, weight or size and graphic elements.
4 | Color-crazed
Similarly to font-overload, color-craze can be damaging to your designs and brand.
When creating a brand or new graphic it's important to start by creating a color palette. Each color palette you create should include primary colors and secondary colors. When you create your brands color palette you should start with 3-5 primary colors. From there create your secondary color palette by using tints and shades of the primary colors.
The example below plays with tints and shades of the primary colors. From there they use secondary colors to round out the palette within the analogous color scheme.
5 | Thriving on clutter
I'm a minimalist designer. That means I believe you can create a profound brands, websites and design elements without adding clutter.
Clutter is one of the harder design techniques to teach because it is a personal decision. When creating a new design, I always try to find what I can remove. This can be very difficult for some people as they believe every piece of information is important.
When thinking critically, we know that isn't true. But, when it's our brands business card we want to share every social media handle, our website, our phone number, multiple emails and work and home address and everything in between. Clearly, that's too much.
When we create one call-to-action, share one clear message or one way to contact us... people are more likely to act. When we share too many ways to proceed, people tend to act like deer in headlights, they freeze.
When creating a design, consider how you can strip it down to the bare essentials. Rank the information you're providing and then evaluate what content fits the design without creating clutter.
What were you most surprised by in this blog post? Let me know in the comments!