There is always that one design faux pas you and many Ottawa business owners wish you could forget. Either you were rushing to finish a marketing brochure or you overlooked proofreading or you just didn’t know what to do. These are common mistakes Ottawa companies make on graphic design projects that can easily be avoided if you understand some basic principles. Though it’s always a smart move to hire a professional, knowing what mistakes to avoid will make life a lot easier.
That said, here are the top 10 mistakes Ottawa businesses make with graphic design:
Poor Font Choice
You might see a font that you absolutely adore and want to integrate into your designs. But there is a chance that it could be a poor choice or mismatch for your brand. Remember, there are many fonts out there, but only a few are going to fit the vibe you’re looking for. Also, you want to make sure that you aren’t using too many fonts at once. Having too many fonts on a single page will create visual dissonance. The project will look messy and unprofessional, which isn’t the result you’re going for.
Keep 2-3 font types that are related to one another. One of the best tricks is using one font type but different weights and sizes. It will look cohesive but also pop. Also, avoid certain fonts. Papyrus, Comic Sans, and in some cases even Helvetica will detract from the graphic design.
Humans have short attention spans. There’s no denying that fact. It’s why people can’t sit through a 20 second advertisement without wanting to skip it. And it’s also why people will lose patience with designs that have too much information. Many graphic designers and businesses tend to make the same mistake on their first few projects—they choose far too many words.
When there is too much text, people are going to say it’s too long and pass it by. Instead, try for brevity. Minimize the text down to the very vital bits then let imagery play a key role. Try to stay below 50-60 characters in a single line.
Poor Colour Combinations
Choosing the wrong colours and complementary (opposite on the colour wheel) shades spells trouble. You want to choose a palette and stick with those colours throughout the entire project. Don’t stray from the shades you choose, because it could ruin the cohesiveness of your work. Also, pay attention to how the background colours work with the font weight and colour choice. You don’t want to lose any of the information you’re trying to highlight.
Secondly, consider how the colour choice will affect the psychology of the viewer. If you choose the wrong colours for a brand, they could end up perceiving your business as cold or clinical instead of welcoming, for example. You will need to find proper balance between all colours, fonts, and images.
Poorly Written Brief
One of the biggest mistakes in graphic design happens before the project even begins. It occurs when the designer doesn’t even understand what is expected of them. Usually, this is due to a badly written creative brief or a lack of communication between the graphic designer and the business. Many businesses expect the graphic designer to comprehend what is desired from a few instructions or an idea, but the truth is that the graphic designer can’t deliver great work unless they have a total understanding of the expectations.
The good news is that it’s an easy fix. For every project, write up an in-depth briefing for everything. Detail the kind of colour scheme, the targeted audience, your branding, and so on. Also, communicate with the designer regularly.
Although this is more web design related, graphic design also carries over to the overall look and feel of a website and its media. If you are implementing special vector designs, images, animations, and so on, you are going to want to make sure all that stuff works across all platforms. If the desktop version of a website functions well but the mobile-version has sizing issues or doesn’t respond, it will impact you negatively.
Stale, Overused Content
So many businesses make the mistake of following graphic design trends. Unfortunately, recycling what’s popular could backfire. Your project might look stale or outdated, and it could reflect poorly on your business. While it’s fine to incorporate some trends, creativity is more important.
Using Stock Pictures
You might think that using a free stock photo for your website or blog or flyer is going to save you some money. In reality, it is not always the best idea. If you want to rise above your competition, try to go with original photography rather than using a stock photo that has already been used hundreds of times. You want to minimize duplicated images whenever possible. Having an image designed strictly for your business shows creativity and will even be more advantageous for branding.
Spelling and Grammatical Errors
Sometimes you get blind to your spelling and grammatical errors. That is why it’s so important to have someone review the work before printing it or launching it on social media. Even a small mistake could have a large impact on your business, especially if the information gets skewed. Others may perceive the error as negligence and wonder about the integrity of your brand. People might even discredit your products and services and head to the competition instead. You don’t want that.
The bottom line is that you need to not only be careful with the language and fonts you choose but also the way you communicate through the graphic design project.
Kerning is when the space between letters is adjusted to make text more appealing and legible. Doing so is a delicate procedure. Go too much one way, and your letters could be so smashed together or so far apart that your project loses all meaning. This is bad for branding and bad for your image. When in doubt, have a professional graphic designer work on the kerning for you.
While most designers will automatically save their work as a Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) or as a Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) or something similar, deciding which one is right for the project can be a challenge. Basically, you need to know how you’re going to be using the final project before you begin.
You can ask the graphic designer for their recommendations. They will generally consider whether the image is going online or if it will be printed then go from there.
Graphic design is more than just selecting colours and images. It takes some practice and creativity to make projects into masterpieces. Now that you know some typical mistakes, you can avoid those issues and start creating amazing designs.