15 Graphic Design Mistakes to Avoid | MP 114

Why should you incorporate trends in your new design? Do you use stock images? Are you using hierarchy to your advantage?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about 15 graphic design mistakes to avoid.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

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In This Podcast

  • Too many fonts
  • Using stock images
  • Not proofreading
  • Choosing the wrong colors
  • Using incorrect hierarchy
  • Designing for the wrong medium
  • Saving in the incorrect format
  • Not creating a versatile design
  • Lack of negative space
  • No visuals in your blog
  • Not adjusting images for social media
  • Using words instead of visuals
  • Placing the call to action in the wrong place
  • Thinking “desktop-first”
  • Ignoring current trends 

Too many fonts

It’s hard to understand the message of a piece if there are too many distracting fonts involved. Keep it simple!

Using a single font can also be impactful since it adds continuity and establishes your brand identity.

Sam Carvalho

Also, keep in mind the kerning of your fonts. Adjusting the space between letters can make the words more legible and help with the overall appearance of the words.

Using stock images

Many common stock photos become overused which makes it a dead giveaway when you put them in your marketing piece.

If you do end up deciding to use stock images then make sure you are properly purchasing the photos to avoid watermarks or ones that are low resolution.

Not proofreading

Make sure you are always checking over the spelling and grammar before publishing a piece. Clients may deem your business unprofessional due to a tiny spelling mistake.

To avoid this, try to get a second pair of eyes on your work to pick up any possible errors you may have missed.

Sam Carvalho

Choosing the wrong colors

When creating new branding for your company or new artwork, it’s important to start by creating a color palette. Your color palettes should include primary and secondary colors. Be sure to test your fonts along with these colors to make sure that the text is legible whether standing alone or sitting on top of other elements.

Using incorrect hierarchy

Hierarchy is how a piece is organized so that the audience knows which elements are the most important because it guides their eye movement.

Hierarchy is the top design technique that ranks the importance of your information.

Sam Carvalho

Hierarchy doesn’t just have to be font size or placement. You can also create an effective hierarchy through colors, graphic elements, or the weight of fonts you use.

Designing for the wrong medium

Whether you design for social media, your website, or in print, the medium that you use will guide how you create your design.

If your design is digital, then create it in RGB (red, green, blue) which is used to display a range of colors digitally.

If you design in the CMYK format (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black)) then you would be using four-color process printing.

Saving in the incorrect format

Does your image need to be in raster or vector format?

Raster images are made up of pixels while vectors are made up of geometric lines and curves, which means they can be scaled to any size while keeping their shape.

Sam Carvalho

To avoid pixilation, a good rule of thumb is to make your design bigger than it needs to be. You can always reduce resolution, but you can never increase it.

The three most common file types for web-based images are .jpg, .png, and .gif:

  • JPG images are ideal for files with gradients and allow for a smaller file size through compression.
  • PNG Images are lossless, so they do not lose quality during editing, support transparency, and tend to be larger than a JPG.
  • GIF images can maintain a low file size while being able to support animation.

Not creating a versatile design

If you’re creating a logo, think about:

  • how it will look on promotional products
  • how it will look in one color or full color
  • how it can be simplified to ensure you’re able to use specific design processes with your logo.

Lack of negative space

Instead of looking at white space as empty space, consider it like any other important element of design.

No visuals in your blog

It is a fact that blog headers and social media graphics that stand out from the crowd can heavily influence click-through rates.

A good way of maintaining client engagement is by using visuals that back up your written words. Consider infographics, charts, diagrams, images, and calls-to-action.

Not adjusting images for social media

Even if you’re using the same post across multiple social media channels, be aware that the design needs to be resized to appear nicely on each channel.

Using words instead of visuals

The fastest way to turn your audience off is by including too much text in a piece of content that’s supposed to be primarily visual.

You don’t need to repeat the words that you want your design to express. Instead, let the design speak for itself.

Sam Carvalho

Placing the call to action in the wrong place

The best place to put your call-to-action is in the bottom right corner. Why? Because you never want to force users to backtrack in your design to click a button. You want a call-to-action button in a design where the user will find it after reading about the offer or benefits.

Thinking “desktop-first”

Think “mobile-first” because that is how most people are consuming information and digital media.

Make sure you keep things simple. Imagine someone viewing it on a small screen and ensuring that your design also works for that size.

Ignoring current trends 

Current graphic design trends should be considered and evaluated to see whether any are relevant to your brand and can be incorporated.

Refreshing your creatives is a great way to keep your audience interested.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

  • Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription free.

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.

Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

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