It’s easy to underestimate the importance of design. “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like,” the late Steve Jobs told The New York Times back in 2003, when he was at the helm of Apple. He insisted that, contrary to popular belief, design “is how it works”.
This dichotomy helps to explain why graphic design can be deceptively difficult to get right. Here are just five examples of mistakes that people can too easily make with graphic design.
Not paying enough attention to kerning
What is kerning? The term is used for the spacing between letters in text of graphic design. If these letters aren’t spaced with sufficient care, the text could be left as barely legible — and potentially come across as saying something different to its intended meaning.
It is therefore good practice to even out spacing between both letters and words — and test this spacing by squinting or crossing your eyes so that you aren’t easily distracted by the characters.
Failing to consider how the design will look on mobile devices
Think about it: graphic design is an intensive task usually undertaken on large, bulky computers, such as Macs, built to withstand the load. Ironically, however, graphics created on such hardware are often viewed on such compact devices as smartphones and tablets.
So, doesn’t it make sense to test your graphics on miniature machines like these rather than just on desktop computers like those that have likely been used to make the graphics in the first place?
Not making enough use of white
Non-designers could easily assume extensive use of white in a design to be a lazy approach, or perhaps just overly reminiscent of Apple’s design strategy for its website and retail stores.
However, going too far the other way — by attempting to fill every last bit of space with vibrant detail — can actually be worse. Adding white space can make a design easier to comprehend and serve as a blank canvas for crucial details, such as the call to action.
Being overly influenced by personal tastes or current trends
In an attempt to draw attention to your graphic design, you could end up imbuing it with touches largely just because they are trendy, or incorporating elements driven more by your personal tastes than those of your target audience.
These tendencies can result in a tonal mismatch; for example, a nightclub advert that looks too restrained and more in-keeping with the mood of a library. For graphics to do their job, they need to resonate with the target audience.
Neglecting to account for current trends at all
As we have just acknowledged, you shouldn’t mindlessly jump from one trend to another. However, you do still need to keep in mind what happens to be ‘on trend’ — as, otherwise, you could inadvertently produce an outdated-looking design.
If you are struggling to discern a sensible balance between trendy and traditional for your graphics, you could trust our graphic designers with striking that balance on your behalf.