Design and esthetics are subjective in nature. What looks good to you might not look good to the person next to you. But, like all arts, there are certain guidelines that help communicate your ideas, concepts and thoughts more effectively. These guidelines can, and should, be broken only if this further helps your cause. It’s never recommended to overstep these as a kneejerk reaction to rules in general. Design guidelines are not creative obstacles.
Among the many basics of design, there are a few that are easily recognisable. Here are what we feel are some of the most common design mistakes
Simply put, kerning is the individual spacing between two letters. We tend to take this spacing for granted not realising that it can have a huge impact on the overall visual. It sounds minor, but it can make a huge difference. If two letters are too close together, they can make words look messy, unclear, and difficult to read. If letters are too far apart, the word can look disjointed and the reader might read it too S….L….O…..W….L….Y. When kerning is done just right, it creates a neat, visually organized piece of text.
Too many colors
Contrast is an important, powerful design rule. Contrast helps highlight the key points of the message within the frame. Colors, typefaces, textures, size, shapes are some of the basic tools used to add contrast and guide the eye. These tools should be used in moderation as misuse can lead to the frame looking very cluttered and leaving the viewer confused as to what the message is.
Too many colors can make any design look cluttered, tacky and, confusing. Sticking to no more than two to four colors, while keeping in mind the text that will go on the visual, can not only create the desired contrast but can also help balance out the visual aesthetically.
Using raster images
Vector images are made up of geometric shapes like points, lines, and curves and can be enlarged or reduced without losing quality. On the other hand, raster images, which are made up of pixels, are necessarily resolution-dependent. This is why when you enlarge them they look blurry and out of focus – their pixel size has been stretched.
Remember: Even if the creative thought behind the visual is amazing, it all comes down to execution. Many promising creatives have been destroyed thanks to the use of rasterised images.
Not thinking out of the box
Day after day, if you are churning out the exact same design, in terms of size, images, colors, and the use of text you have basically discovered a template for yourself. This leaves you, the designer, as well as the viewer, fatigued seeing the same thing over and over again.
In the creative field you have to constantly be on your feet, not in terms of the technology and software you use, but also in terms of being creative and observing the different kinds of designs being produced by others.
When working on projects, there is a tendency for fatigue to set in. Both design fatigue and designer fatigue are common in the creative industry. At a point like this one tends to forget or involuntarily ignore the nuances of a creative work, and skip over the details. This results in silly mistakes and overlooked key factors, which can have negative consequences on your final creatives.
These are some of the tripwires we look out for in our own work, whenever we’re designing. If there are any you feel we’ve missed out on, let us know in the comments!