The Worst Graphic Design Advice We've Ever Heard

Apr 28, 2014 | Graphic Design

Woman drawing on graphics tablet

So you want to improve your company’s image. You have a basic logo and the beginnings of a website, but your other designs are still in the early stages. Your first instinct might be to Google some ideas—but beware! There’s some terrible advice out there. To put your best foot forward, avoid these “tips” at all costs:

1. “The best way to grab attention is with tons of colors and fonts.”

Let me stop you right there. While dynamic colors and fonts are important, remember that you can have “too much of a good thing.” Think about the advertisement section of your local newspaper. Each ad is vying for your attention, typically with bright colors and big fonts. But the eye is often drawn to simpler, cleaner designs that stand apart from the others. Know your audience and design accordingly.

2. “Your logo should represent everything that’s important to your company, including its purpose and goals.”

An engaging logo is significant for every organization. It must represent you well—and look good doing it. But your logo does not need to communicate your entire identity. Make it relevant and appealing, and let your business do the rest.

3. “All applicable content must fit onto any poster, brochure, or business card you create.”

Like your logo, print pieces don’t need to display all data related to your message. For example, a poster for an upcoming sale should include the date, time, place, and your website if applicable. But don’t list every sale item in detail. Just pique the viewer’s interest enough for him to take the next step.

4. “Photos are the best way to convey what you’re all about. Clip art is especially awesome.”

Pictures can be incredibly effective. However, don’t get photo fever and turn all of your designs into glorified collages. Graphic design is just one stepping stone in your marketing plan—to help build rapport and expand your client base. Photos should complement and support your brand and communication, not uphold it completely. And clip art is almost always tacky.

5. “Every inch of your design should contain information or photos—margins are for morons.”

Visual space can make or break a design. Sometimes simplicity and space are exactly what you need to grab attention and establish your professionalism.

6. “All text should be at least size 12 and double-spaced.”

Remember all of those high school and college papers you wrote—Times New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced? Forget them. Graphic design is a different ball game. Did you know that the fonts of most magazines and newspapers are between size seven and ten? The space between text lines (aka leading) makes a big difference in the overall appearance. Plus, it saves paper!

7. “Any guy off the street can do graphic design. All you need is a cheap design program and some free tutorials.”

It’s true that you don’t need a degree in graphic design (though it helps). But you do need plenty of experience and skill to create professional work. Tutorials can help. Advice is great. But excellent design takes practice and expertise. Don’t skimp on it—after all, it’s the first thing people see from your organization.

If you’re looking for quality, customized graphic design, give us a call. From logos and websites to brochures and magazines, we have lots of experience and would love to help with your next project.

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