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The most common way for a graphic designer to learn is through trial and error. Especially for young and aspiring graphic designers, who keep on committing mistakes because of lack of experience. You must have heard of the old adage “To err is human”. So the next time you make a mistake, don’t fret over it…instead learn from your blunders.

Having learnt from my mistakes, which I encountered in my career, I wish to educate my fellow designers about some of the errors, which they should avoid in any case. Following are 10 of the most common mistakes that most graphic designers commit in their graphic design careers:

 

1. Working without a Design Brief:

In any graphic design project, the details are necessary to guide a designer through the entire process. Some graphic designers have a bad habit of being overly confident and start the project without acquiring a detailed design brief.  A design brief helps you collect all the information about your clients’ design project. Without knowing your client’s requirements, you simply cannot work on a logo design project.
 

2. Ignoring the Target Audience:

The purpose of graphic design is to visually aid companies in expressing their message to their target market. Hence, if the graphic designers ignore the target audience, they will never be able to create the right design. In order to create relevant designs, you must first analyze the intended customers for which it is aimed at. Overlooking the target will lead to a weak and aimless design.

 

3. Not maintaining a Contract:

In a graphic designer’s career, salary and payments issues are frequent. When you don’t maintain a contract with your clients, you are likely to be swindled of your hard earned money. I don’t wish to imply that every client has ill-intentions. But some clients have a habit of getting the work done and running away with it without paying the designer.
 

4. Avoiding Contact with the Client:

Some graphic designers feel shy while some are completely ignorant when it comes to staying in touch with the client. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your professional life is not communicating with your clients properly. By not staying in touch with clients during the project, you make them feel ignored and unwanted. You must take feedbacks from them to avoid any client criticisms in the end.

 

5. Procrastinating:

In any profession, deadlines are extremely crucial to meet. By completing your work on time, you exhibit your determination and sincerity to commitments. Some graphic designers tend to procrastinate on their projects. When they end up falling short of their deadline, they pass off a mediocre design as minimalism design trend. Procrastination will make your clients go away since they expect you to be efficient.
 

6. Not Staying up-to-date:

In this cut-throat competition, it is essential for graphic designers to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of graphic design. As technology upgrades every day, newer and better ways of graphic designing are evolving. Those who fail to catch-up in graphic designing eventually lose the race.

 

7. Not Starting in Black and White:

Some graphic designers fail to understand the importance of starting in black and white. They directly create the colored version of the design. This is a big mistake as one should know how the design looks in black and white because some promotional mediums don’t allow for colors. Hence, what you create in color might not look good in black and white.

 

8. Pass off Plagiarism as Inspiration:

One of the prime qualities of a graphic designer is their ability to be original. Another big blunder you could make as designers is to copy others work. Some designers have a bad habit of passing off what they plagiarize as merely inspiration. While you may get away with it sometimes, but in the long run, your credibility as a genuine and original designer will be badly affected.
 

9. Neglecting the Power of Simplicity:

Some graphic designers believe that if they add more effects in design, it will become attractive. But the reality is otherwise. Adding too many elements to a design makes it complicated and messy to look at. They often neglect the power and significance of simplicity. Instead of making intricate and difficult to comprehend designs, designers must prefer simple concept that the target audience will remember.

 

10. Lose Confidence:

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually fear you will make one. Be it graphic designing or any other profession, confidence is crucial in the success of your career. One of the gravest mistake you can make as a graphic designer is to lose hope in the middle of a project. There will be times when you will get tired of working on a project or be unsatisfied with the results. But never give up and carry on until you achieve your desired results.
 
 
Which of these above listed mistakes you believe to be most harmful and dangerous for a Graphic Design project?

 

Author Charlie B. Johnson

has written Posts 388 .

  1. designbastard On July 11th, 2011 at 7:01 am
    1

    I think “9. Neglecting the Power of Simplicity” is often forgotten …

  1. The Evolving Blog On July 11th, 2011 at 12:31 pm
    2

    Great reminder! Thanks Charlie!

  1. Bruno On July 11th, 2011 at 3:46 pm
    3

    I´m not an experienced graphic designer, but willing to be one some day.
    for me, the lost of self-confidence is crucial, and most important tip to grasp in mind. I´ve been working at my actual job for almost 4 years, and i am sick of it, but i am not looking out for other oportunities, because of my lack of self-confidence.

  1. Branding / Identity / Design On July 12th, 2011 at 3:16 am
    4

    This is a great reminder on the design admin P’s and Q’s list.

  1. Pre-Made Logos On July 12th, 2011 at 11:19 am
    5

    Very interesting!! I think that plagiarism and procrastinating are the logo’s worst mistakes for a designer.

  1. Jackie On July 12th, 2011 at 3:50 pm
    6

    I come from the writing/management side of marketing, but #2 is something I’m continually having to reinforce with newbies (and some oldbies). If you don’t know who you’re writing/designing for, how can you possibly be effective? And there are so many (mostly young) designers who are in love with teeny-tiny type, forgetting that the majority of their audience is 40+. If you make it too difficult on them, they’re going to flip right past you.

  1. Nexstair On July 13th, 2011 at 3:42 am
    7

    Thanks for great tips.

  1. Gouka Seishi On July 13th, 2011 at 10:22 am
    8

    I rarely have a design brief where I have worked. Even a small bit of information can be a good brief, although this is the only problem I see when being a designer.

    Following the trends and updates in graphic design are easier compared to website design which has changed more within the last few years.

  1. VersatileFemmie On July 13th, 2011 at 3:10 pm
    9

    So true. Fortunately I am aware of all ten aspects, but I understand a lot of upcoming talents have an issue with making a contract etc.

  1. Christopher On July 13th, 2011 at 3:38 pm
    10

    I wish any of our customers would do a design brief!!

  1. Iriel On July 14th, 2011 at 5:16 pm
    11

    My greatest mistake is that I lose confidence constantly, because I’m not a designer yet, I’m just a student in university, and my teacher where I’m working (Yes, I’m, working in an agency) is constantly telling me that i fail in everything, and i can’t give any advices, in design and in other topics… is very frustrating

  1. Richard Ball On July 15th, 2011 at 1:12 am
    12

    As Thomas Edison’s suggested that making a mistake is actually a method in discovering how not to do something.

    Just as long as you are active you’ll be developing your skill set, regardless if its incorrect!

  1. sheila On July 15th, 2011 at 8:58 am
    13

    All these mistakes do affect designs and a graphic designer should at most incur one of these factor,if not,n you probably are in the wrong profession.thanks for all these tips,they are probably a great help to us;the young aspiring graphic designers with very little experience!

  1. Nicole- Designing Signs On July 15th, 2011 at 11:48 am
    14

    I believe that at least once in life everyone have
    commit one of this mistakes, but it’s your goal to learn from the mistake
    not only for do things right also in order to improve your own skills.

  1. zohaib zulfiqar (Pakistani Graphic Designer) On July 15th, 2011 at 5:55 pm
    15

    Nice List for graphic designer
    Thank for this post

  1. Creative Girl On July 18th, 2011 at 3:10 pm
    16

    This definitely lets me know what NOT to do! Thanks so much!

  1. Adam Booth On July 19th, 2011 at 3:05 am
    17

    This is a great post with some great information and tips for any aspiring graphic designers.

    I agree that loss of confidence is one of the major worries / mistakes for any designer. There are so many designers out there all vying for jobs that you will undoubtedly be over critical of your own work and feel like you are getting nowhere. But in 99% of cases this is not true. It is extremely important to carry on and be patient.

    I also feel that may designers are guilty of avoiding contact with clients. This is mainly due to the fact that most designers are trained to do what they do and know what design will suit the project and will be better for the client in the long run but the majority of clients have a completely different view of their business and ( in my experience as a web designer with Creare Design ) constantly change their mind and the design which is increasingly frustrating for designers therefore avoiding the contact that can be extremely helpful to both parties. In regards to this point, maybe many designers need to learn how to sell designs more and get clients enthusiastic about their designers too.

  1. rongdhonugraphics On July 20th, 2011 at 7:37 am
    18

    Relationship is the key to business, if you have a close relationship with your designer then all the better. Not to say that you need to go around for meals with the family; but having a close working relationship will only add value to your finished product.

  1. maka On July 20th, 2011 at 1:02 pm
    19

    Great tips ! sharing ! :)

  1. Beauty. Balance. Design. On July 20th, 2011 at 5:30 pm
    20

    These are all great tips. I would say that not staying in contact with your client is one of the worst, communication is key. I get a lot of business because the competition seemed to fall off the face of the earth. Stay in communication especially when problems or delays arise.

  1. Web Design Columbus On July 22nd, 2011 at 1:49 am
    21

    that for sharing great basic point which i usually use to commit ….:)

  1. Sazid Imran On July 22nd, 2011 at 3:18 pm
    22

    this is absoulately fundamental needs for a web designer ………. but to my understanding …. these very important 10 tips needs to be maintained in any sorts of professionalism ….

  1. jVisualFlow On July 23rd, 2011 at 12:00 am
    23

    I think some designers losing the sense of simplicity. I am also guilty of these, where sometimes i forgot the power of simple designs.
    Thanks to this awesome tips..
    It helps us a lot being a designer.

  1. Logo Design Team On July 26th, 2011 at 4:30 am
    24

    Thanks for this nice post! The points you mentioned are so often forgotten by the designers while designing a logo. As you have mentioned, since the main function of the logo is to reach up to the targeted audience, hence the factor should never be overlooked. Also maintaining simplicity is another factor the designers often forget. Don’t try to make the design very complicated. It should be easy enough to understand for the target audience.

  1. Custom logo design On July 29th, 2011 at 5:59 pm
    25

    Most of the mistakes mentioned here are foundational in our industry. I believe that avoiding contact with your client is perhaps one of the worst mistakes a designer can make. I know how difficult it can be dealing with clients at times, but a good designer needs to view the project from their perspective as well. ‘Believe it or not’, a great ‘bedside manner’ goes along way to establishing the right design solution.

  1. Fahim On July 30th, 2011 at 2:50 am
    26

    what NOT to do!.this is absoulately fundamental needs for a web designer.thanks for sharing

  1. Clipping Path On July 30th, 2011 at 5:06 am
    27

    To be successful every designer should start with a good design brief. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  1. Chris On August 3rd, 2011 at 4:57 pm
    28

    you forgot, “Don’t use overused stock photos.”

  1. Levi On August 7th, 2011 at 5:26 pm
    29

    Number 3 is VERY important!!! I’m surprised how many people do not get one from their clients. For number 5, personally I do my best work when I procrastinate. I use my day to think about and observe things before I design for a large client and the sudden rush of needing to complete a piece creates some of my best work.

    Levi

  1. david-tienda de electricidad On August 14th, 2011 at 5:00 am
    30

    I think “9. Neglecting the Power of Simplicity” is often forgotten
    Thanks for great tips.

  1. Rockstar for HIre On August 14th, 2011 at 4:11 pm
    31

    I think the design brief is the most important. Without it you’ll just be wasting your time.

  1. alquiler de pisos en sevilla On August 28th, 2011 at 6:52 am
    32

    the lost of self-confidence is crucial, and most important tip to grasp in mind.Thanks

  1. lups On September 1st, 2011 at 9:51 pm
    33

    Procrastinating!!! most harmful and dangerous for a Graphic Design project

  1. Michelle On September 20th, 2011 at 10:26 pm
    34

    Loving all of your articles and tips. The point about starting in Black and White is one I often forget about. I must make a habit of it soon!
    Thanks

  1. hareline On October 7th, 2011 at 4:40 pm
    35

    Here’s the To Do version:
    1. Write a Design Brief
    2. Target the Audience
    3. Sign a Contract
    4. Maintain Client Communication
    5. Meet the Deadline
    6. Keep Current
    7. Start with a Sketch
    8. Be Original
    9. Simplify
    10. Be Confident

  1. GD On March 27th, 2012 at 6:16 am
    36

    I´m an experienced graphic designer,for me the lost of self-confidence is crucial, and most important tip to grasp in mind. I´ve been working at my actual job for almost 5 years, and i am sick of it, I fear to look out for other oportunities, because of my lack of self-confidence. Please help me on this, how to get out of this.

  1. Egujie Godfrey On April 3rd, 2013 at 3:17 am
    37

    Good write up…I think….Not considering the target audience would be the costliest mistake a graphic designer could make

  1. Bruce Jones On June 30th, 2013 at 5:43 am
    38

    Another one might be to make sure design budgets are discussed beforehand so there are no surprises afterwards.

  1. Sathianathan On July 5th, 2013 at 12:47 am
    39

    Nice points listed to improve the designs and development concept. Thanks


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