Do you think you or anyone you know can slap something together and call themselves a graphic designer? Check this list and see if you are guilty. Don’t worry, you don’t need to tell anyone – just stop “designing” and the world will be a much better place.
1. Long and fat people/images. If you don’t know how to resize a picture without distorting it, stop what you are doing. Seeing photographs and images that have been resized with the proportions intact is painful. Please hold down the shift key when you shrink or enlarge an image. If you can’t, hire someone to or ask a friend who knows how. I can’t even begin to tell you how disturbing it is to see squished or fattened people.
2. Centered text. Nothing says amateur like all the text being centered. While a line or 2 centered is not visually problematic, paragraphs of text are hard to read. There are a few exceptions, like extremely formal invitations. Even in these rare cases, I would still argue that usually centered text reads as stagnate, unoriginal and predictable.
3. Too many images. I’ve seen a million websites packed with images from right to left and up and down. This drives me insane. What is the viewer supposed to be focused on? Surely not everything. If so, you’ve got bigger issues than design.
4. Not enough space. Elements must be given room to breathe. White space is one of the holy grails of design. No, not because we’re boring. Because we understand the power of focus. I actually designed a site for someone who said – I need more “stuff” on the page – I feel too exposed. That means I did it right – she was the focus and she wasn’t comfortable with it.
5. No focus. I don’t care what wonderful piece you’ve created. If there’s no focus, there’s no purpose. This is design 101. You can always separate a pro from an amateur by asking the question, where is my eye going? If it’s being led somewhere – that’s no accident.
6. Aesthics over user experience and readability. I love aesthetics – I should, I was an art major. When making something visually appealing, like a website or a label – what the viewer will be using it for is paramount. My husband’s whey protein brand just changed their labels to with trendy horizontal and vertical text of different sizes. Cool to look at? Sure. Easy to read? Not at all. We were trying to figure out if some of the ingredients had changed and it took forever to figure out. Annoying!