10 Mistakes Every DIY Graphic Designer Makes
As a DIY graphic designer myself, I know just how easy it is to fall into these common traps that can make your designs look unprofessional and unpolished. With the introduction of AI I think we are going to see a surge of DIY designers and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome more creatives to the space. I’m excited to see what we all create with these new tools. With so many new players in the game there will be many novices getting to know this medium, myself included. So, I would like to share the top 10 mistakes I’ve made as a DIY graphic designer and how to fix them.
1. Font Failure
Let's talk about the two most common font failures DIY Designers make - guilty. I've totally been there and made these design mistakes myself - using way too many fonts or getting too fancy with them. Trust me, it's not good design practices.
So here's the deal: try to stick to a maximum of two or three fonts and make sure they play nicely together. You want your fonts to be readable and easy to understand at a quick glance. Fancy fonts might look cool, but if your audience can't read them, what's the point?
Remember, you only have a few seconds to grab someone's attention, so keep it simple and use fonts that get the message across. Your audience will thank you for it!
2. Not Using a Consistent Colour Palette
An inconsistent color palette can make your designs look disjointed and confusing. I love color and when I started I just couldn’t understand why people would make color palettes of just 5 colors, until I learned a bit more about types of color palettes. Choosing a limited color palette and being consistent throughout the design gives me a more pleasing final design.
3. Trying to Include Everything in Every Design
Are you guilty of trying to cram EVERYTHING into your designs? I totally get it, I have so many ideas and I want to do all the things! But I sometimes have to stop and remind myself, less is more.
Trust me, when you simplify your design, it can actually make it look even better. Plus, it won't overwhelm your audience with too much information to take in at once.
So why not try scaling back a bit and see how it turns out? I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at the result!
4. Using Inconsistent Imagery
Inconsistent imagery can make your design look unprofessional and confusing. Choose images that are high quality, properly sized, and consistent in style throughout the design. It’s okay for you to have more than one restrictive style but keep it to one per project.
5. Scaling Images Disproportionately
Just a friendly reminder to keep in mind when designing - scaling images disproportionately can make your overall design look unbalanced and awkward. To avoid this, make sure to properly size and crop your images to fit the layout and design of your project. It may take a bit of extra effort, but it'll definitely pay off in the end!
6. Ignoring the Importance of Whitespace
Did you know that whitespace is an essential part of design? Yep, it's true! By adding enough whitespace, you can create a more balanced composition that's easier to read and looks clean and polished. It's like giving your viewer's eyes a little break so they can process all the details you've put into your design. And despite what my fourth grade teacher may have said, whitespace isn't just "empty space" - it has a really important role to play in art and design. So don't be afraid to use it!
7. Not Paying Attention to Alignment
Alignment is key to achieving a polished and professional looking design. It's super important to make sure all the elements in your design are properly aligned so that everything looks cohesive and balanced. Trust me, a little attention to detail in this area can make a big difference in how your design is perceived. So take the time to check your alignment and make any necessary adjustments - your design will thank you for it!
8. Not Considering the Hierarchy of Information
Having a clear hierarchy of information is crucial for guiding the viewer's eye through your design. By establishing a hierarchy, you can make sure that the most important information stands out and that the design is easy to read and navigate. It's all about creating a flow that draws the viewer in and helps them make sense of what they're seeing. So don't be afraid to prioritize your designs and make those important elements pop!
9. Ignoring the Importance of Contrast
Contrast is super important in creating visual interest and making elements stand out. If you want your design to look dynamic and interesting, be sure to use enough contrast. It's like adding a little spice to your design - without it, things can end up looking flat and boring. And remember, if everything is in focus, nothing stands out. So don't be afraid to play with contrast and make your design pop!
10. Using Low-Quality Images
It's important to keep in mind that using low-quality images can really bring down the overall look of your design, making it seem unprofessional and cheap. That's why it's always best to use high-quality images and make sure they're properly sized and formatted for your design. And if you're incorporating AI generated images, be sure to download the best upscaled version and utilize upscaling tools when needed to ensure that the images are of the highest quality possible.
I created this list honestly for myself so that I could use it as a sort of checklist when I am working on my own design projects. I hope that by sharing them I might help you in avoiding these common mistakes. Remember to keep it simple, choose a clear color palette and font, and pay attention to the details to create stunning designs that stand