Common Mistakes in Design

When I get free time, I find myself lately browsing a lot of other design blogs looking to upgrade my knowledge and see whats going on in the design world. I seem to be coming across a lot of posts that explore common mistakes designers make, I guess being a designer I can relate to this and thought I would explore this topic myself. Although designers don’t like to admit it but we make a lot of mistakes there’s just no learning without mistakes, you soon discover in the creative industry that there are a lot of things you should not do but you learn from the mistakes that you do miss at the end of the day we are only human. So after reading a few related topics I have kept in mind many common mistakes even the top professionals cant say they haven’t committed.

Not saving files properly
In general, save your designs as CMYK for print, RGB for web
When you first start a project in Photoshop, indesign or even Illustrator you’ve got to stop and think about the format you are creating it for, is it web or print? is it a large format document for a exhibition stand or mobile application? When you set up a document for print, the general set up is CMYK, 300dpi not forgetting about crop marks, trim and bleed (usually 3mm each side )“ again depending on print project size) Before sending to print, think about your file formats, outlining fonts and colour profiles especially imagery. You don’t want to be sending RGB image files to print. Alternatively setting up a project for web and screen design usually requires settings of RGB, 72dpi.

Imagery formatting
In one of my other blog posts: The Importance of Imagery in Web design. One of the areas I covered was optimising your imagery for web design, You need to think about how images can affect download speeds on the web. This is easily solvable if you are not a photoshop mastermind, I have used these programs in the past to help optimise my imagery for web, definitely give it a try TinyPNG, JPEG Optimiser, OptiPNG. Ideally your looking to optimise your images down so they reduce in size and not in quality.
Using too many fonts

Honestly more then two fonts in any design is too many, As a general rule, try to stick to two different fonts and use the different font weights to differentiate and highlight areas, it’s as easy as that. Having a clear, formatted design is important and overcomplicating it with too many different fonts just spoils the design, you want the design to look consistent so you don’t confuse your viewers, by using too many fonts this just causes confusion and people just won’t be interested. Keep it simple!

Spell Check
Being detail-oriented is extremely important as a designer, especially if you’re dealing with print work. If you make a mistake on a website, it is usually not a catastrophe since things can be corrected in real-time. But once something goes to print, mistakes are costly and usually one can’t be corrected (other than reprinting). (ref. Creativepro.com) When working on your projects be sure you are performing a spell check, have someone else proof read your work, and check for any potential mistakes before sending off your final files.

Not being Organised
One of the things I love to see when designing is a neat Photoshop and illustrator file, grouping layers in a concise order, pagination, when a designer keeps things neat and organised it just makes things so much easier to work with, lacking structure tends to make starting (and completing) projects very difficult. Just taking that bit of extra time to tidy up your desktop files and download files makes it that little bit more easier and organised, it also makes finding files that bit more easier.

Illegible Fonts or Font Sizes
New designers may make this mistake, but choosing a font that’s difficult to read or reducing it to an illegible size is really detrimental to your design. For example, in infographic design the main means of distribution is the web, so use typefaces that lend themselves to digital displays and size them large enough that they’re easy to read. Even in infographics, where visuals drive the message, the supplemental text can be critical. (ref. Killer Infographics)

Conclusion
I always keep in mind a list of things to always think about when starting a new project, especially print. Always think about when setting up the project, the size, bleed and trim, once the design is complete then are all the images the correct file formats? Are they the correct CMYK Setting? Have I checked spelling and grammar? Is it all the correct dimensions? You can’t always think of everything, it’s very common to make mistakes, we are human after all, but getting someone to proofread your document is always a bonus, just to make extra sure nothings been missed. It can cost your client heavily if a magazine has gone to print with the wrong email or phone number,  just think about that.

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