Common Graphic Design Mistakes (You’re Probably Not Aware Of)

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So, you know how graphic design is everywhere these days, right? From websites and social media to advertisements and product packaging, good design has become essential for catching our attention and conveying messages effectively. Did you know that there are some pretty common graphic design mistakes that often go unnoticed? I have a degree in graphic design and STILL make these mistakes sometimes… you know when you look at a project too close, you don't see the mistake? It happens to everyone!

See, there's this misconception that graphic design is all about making things look pretty, but there's so much more to it. That's why I thought it would be cool to dig deeper and shine a light on these lesser-known blunders. I mean, we all want our designs to stand out and make an impact, don't we?

In this blog post, I'll be sharing some of the most common graphic design mistakes that you're probably not aware of. We'll explore the realms of typography, colors, composition, images, user experience, and more. It's like a crash course on what not to do in the world of design.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.

So, whether you're a graphic design enthusiast or just someone who wants to improve their visual communication skills, this post is for you. Get ready to uncover some eye-opening design hiccups and learn how to avoid them like a pro.

Common Typography Mistakes

Typography is all about your fonts and how they're paired / displayed together.

It may seem like a simple task, but trust me, there are some typography blunders that can make your designs go from “Wow!” to “Whoa, what happened there?” So, let's explore these sneaky mistakes and make sure you're not unknowingly committing them.

Picture this: you're designing a flyer for a corporate event, and suddenly, you decide to use a fancy, cursive font that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale. Oops! That's a classic typography mistake. Your font choices should align with the purpose and message of your design.

Understanding font psychology is key. Each font carries its own personality and conveys different emotions. So, ask yourself, “Does this font reflect the tone and vibe I want to communicate?” If it's a formal business document, opt for clean, professional fonts. If it's a playful invitation, go for something more whimsical. It's all about finding the right font that speaks the language of your design.

And speaking of fonts, let's not forget about font pairing. Using multiple fonts in a design can be great, but only if they complement each other. Avoid pairing fonts that clash or compete for attention. Instead, aim for harmony and readability. A good rule of thumb is to pair a bold, attention-grabbing font with a simpler, more legible one. That way, your design will have a balanced and cohesive look.

Imagine reading a magazine article where every paragraph has a different font and size. Talk about a headache-inducing experience! Consistency is key when it comes to typography. It creates a sense of harmony and professionalism in your design.

So, pay attention to maintaining uniformity across different design elements. Use the same font family and sizes for headings, subheadings, and body text throughout your design. This not only makes it easier for the reader to navigate but also establishes visual hierarchy. And hey, while we're on the topic of hierarchy, remember to emphasize important information by playing with font variations like bold, italics, or underline. Just don't go overboard and turn your design into a circus, okay?

By avoiding inappropriate font choices and ensuring consistency in your typography, you'll be on your way to creating designs that are not only visually pleasing but also effectively communicate your message. Trust me, your viewers will appreciate the readability and thoughtfulness behind your typography choices.

Color Mistakes

It's amazing how a simple color choice can completely change the mood and impact of your visuals. But beware! There are some color conundrums that you definitely want to steer clear of. So, let's unravel them together. It's really important to choose the right colors when you're starting your branding journey.

Ever seen a design where the colors clash like two rival soccer teams? Yeah, that's a color palette disaster. When it comes to selecting colors, it's essential to understand the principles of color theory and harmony. Colors have their own relationships and interactions, and choosing the right combinations can make your design visually pleasing and harmonious.

So, take a moment to learn about complementary, analogous, and triadic color schemes. These are tried-and-true methods of creating color harmony. Complementary colors, for instance, are opposite each other on the color wheel and create a striking contrast.

Analogous colors, on the other hand, are adjacent to each other and produce a more soothing and cohesive effect. By understanding these principles, you can avoid color clashes and create a design that feels just right.

Imagine trying to read a message on a design where the text blends into the background like a chameleon. Frustrating, right? Poor contrast and readability can seriously hinder the effectiveness of your design. When it comes to text, legibility is paramount. Your viewers should be able to effortlessly read the information without squinting or deciphering hieroglyphics.

To ensure readability, consider the color contrast between your text and background. For example, using light-colored text on a light background or dark-colored text on a dark background can lead to readability nightmares. Aim for a high contrast between the text and background colors. If your background is light, opt for dark text, and vice versa. This simple adjustment can do wonders for the clarity and impact of your design.

Remember, colors play a crucial role in conveying information effectively. By avoiding color palette mishaps and ensuring proper contrast and readability, your designs will not only look visually appealing but also communicate your message with clarity and precision.

Composition Complications

It's like the puzzle that brings all the pieces together. But hey, even puzzles can be tricky, and composition is no exception. So, let's explore some common composition complications and ensure your designs are visually appealing and well-balanced.

Ever come across a design where everything seems to scream for attention at the same level? Yeah, that's a lack of visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy is the art of guiding the viewer's attention and creating a clear focal point within your design. It helps viewers navigate and understand the information in a logical and organized manner.

To establish hierarchy, you can play with variations in size, font weight, color, and placement. Your most important elements should be emphasized and stand out, while less significant elements should take a back seat. This way, viewers can quickly grasp the main message or call to action. Remember, a well-defined visual hierarchy adds structure and clarity to your design, making it more effective and engaging.

Picture this: you open a website, and there's an explosion of elements vying for your attention. Buttons, images, text – it's like a design party gone wild. That's overcrowding and clutter, my friend. In an effort to include everything, we often end up overwhelming our designs, resulting in a chaotic and confusing visual experience.

The key is to embrace negative space, also known as whitespace. Negative space is the empty area surrounding and between design elements. It allows your design to breathe and creates a sense of balance. So, simplify, declutter, and give your elements room to shine. By removing unnecessary elements and strategically spacing out the remaining ones, you'll achieve a more harmonious and visually pleasing composition.

Remember, composition is about guiding the viewer's eye and creating a visual flow. By establishing a clear visual hierarchy and avoiding overcrowding and clutter, your designs will not only look cleaner and more professional but also communicate your message effectively.

Image and Illustrations

Now let's shift our focus to the captivating world of images and illustrations. They add visual interest, convey messages, and bring life to your designs. However, if not handled properly, images and illustrations can become sources of major design blunders. So, let's uncover some common errors and ensure your visuals are on point.

Have you ever come across a design where the images look pixelated or stretched out of proportion? It's like watching a blurry movie on an old TV. Low-resolution or stretched images can seriously downgrade the quality and professionalism of your design.

Always strive to use high-resolution images that are crisp and clear. They not only enhance the visual appeal but also showcase your attention to detail. Additionally, make sure to resize and optimize images for different platforms and mediums. An image that looks great on a website might not work as well on a social media post. Adjusting image dimensions and file sizes appropriately ensures optimal viewing experience across various platforms.

Illustrations can be a powerful way to add uniqueness and personality to your designs. However, misaligned or improperly placed illustrations can disrupt the overall harmony and flow.

When incorporating illustrations, consider how they integrate with other design elements. Pay attention to alignment, balance, and proportion. Ensure that illustrations complement the surrounding text or other visual elements, rather than overshadowing or clashing with them. The goal is to create a cohesive and visually pleasing composition where everything feels harmonious.

Remember, visuals have a significant impact on how your audience perceives your design. By using high-resolution images and properly integrating illustrations, you'll elevate the quality and impact of your designs.

Poor User Experience

Now, let's dive into the realm of user experience (UX) and explore how neglecting it can lead to some serious design pitfalls. UX is all about creating designs that are intuitive, user-friendly, and provide a seamless experience for your audience. So, let's uncover some common mistakes and ensure your designs shine in terms of user experience.

User interface design is the visual and interactive aspect of your design that users directly interact with. Neglecting UI design can result in a confusing and frustrating user experience. Imagine buttons that are hard to find, navigation that leads to dead ends, or confusing interaction patterns. Yikes!

To avoid such mishaps, it's crucial to design interfaces that are intuitive and easy to use. Consider the user's journey and ensure that information and actions are organized logically. Use clear and recognizable icons, buttons, and menus. Keep in mind that users should be able to navigate effortlessly and find what they need without any unnecessary hurdles. Always put yourself in the shoes of your users and ask, “Is this design intuitive and user-friendly?”

In our modern multi-device world, your designs need to be accessible and responsive across various screen sizes and devices. Ignoring responsive design principles can lead to a poor user experience, with content appearing distorted, text being too small to read, or important elements getting cut off.

When designing for multiple devices, consider how your design adapts and responds to different screen sizes. Make sure your layout adjusts fluidly, images resize appropriately, and text remains readable. Test your design on various devices and ensure a seamless and consistent experience across the board. Remember, users should be able to access and engage with your design comfortably, regardless of the device they're using.

By giving due consideration to user interface design and embracing responsive design principles, you'll create designs that prioritize the needs and expectations of your audience. A positive user experience not only enhances engagement but also reflects your commitment to delivering quality designs.


Congratulations on making it to the end of our journey through common graphic design mistakes! We've covered a range of blunders that often go unnoticed but can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your designs. By being aware of these mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, you'll elevate the quality and impact of your visual communication.

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