Posts Tagged ‘Communicate’

We’ve all heard it before, the person who claims to be a graphic designer because they know Photoshop. Or how about the small business owner who creates his own website to save on costs. Maybe you know someone who printed their own business cards off a graphic design template they downloaded online. Anybody who wishes to call themselves a graphic designer these days can, they just have to buy a computer, the latest Adobe Creative Suite and give themselves the title. Does that mean they are a good graphic designer? Without any training, probably not. It doesn’t mean they can’t be good over time, but graphic design is an art form that communicates an idea or a thought with visual clarity. It is a skill. A hard skill to master. Sure, it’s a skill that can be learned.

These Common Mistakes Should Be Avoided

Too Much Stuff – Poor design is usually cluttered design. Good graphic design communicates in a clear manner, and when there is so much stuff on the paper (or screen for websites) then the message gets lost. It’s one of the most common mistakes, to keep piling on elements to the design that aren’t necessary. One of the best tips I ever got was to strip away everything that isn’t necessary to the message and that is usually the most effective design.

Bad Type – Graphic design is so much more than just pretty pictures. One of the most important, if not the most important, piece of graphic design is typography. A huge mistake graphic designers make is poor font choices and poor type layout. Typography is not just picking a nice font either. It’s the relationship of the characters to each other, to the design piece, and to the message. The shape of the font, the size of the type, the color, all these things fall under the typography category and make or break your design. Study up on typography and try not to use too many different fonts in one design. One or two fonts is usually plenty, (sometimes three). I try to keep them clean and in relation to the design.

Effects – Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and QuarkXPress all have preset effects in the program. Some are nice, some are not so nice. Using a bunch of them together usually results in a disaster. There is a time and place for drop shadows, and even glows, but most of the other effects look pretty cheesy.

Trendy – The best graphic design transcends time. Take a look at the work of Paul Rand, http://www.paul-rand.com, his designs from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s still look great today. Trendy design for the sake of trendiness is not good design. Unless you require a trend in your graphic design try to communicate with good design principles and your own creativity instead.

While working with these common mistakes in mind you’ll be able to further enhance your graphic design skills.

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