As a business owner, failing to invest in good graphic design is a huge mistake, and can often result in missing out on valuable business opportunities. According to Adobe State of Create 2016, 45% of respondents said they paid more for a well-designed product or service. When it comes to the visuals on your website, there’s no messing around.
Worried about choosing the wrong graphic designer for your website or marketing? Simply follow the designer checklist below and you’ll find the perfect one in no time.
Typography is the main element in graphic design; it highlights a brand’s personality and conveys a message to the users. A general rule of thumb is to use 2 fonts (3 max) that complement one another. If a designer is using 4-5 fonts and they don’t represent the brand properly, this is definitely a red flag. For example, you wouldn’t use a traditional serif font for a modern, trendy hotel and you wouldn’t use a playful, young sans serif font for a wedding venue. Every font has a specific use case, so a designer should be aware of the feeling a font gives off before choosing it to represent a brand.
The graphic design relies heavily on color to evoke emotion. Similar to typography, each color gives off a certain vibe, both on its own and when paired with other colors. It’s important to use colors that complement one another and don’t compete. A red flag would be if a designer is using conflicting colors, colors that are hard to read, colors that don’t match the brand, or not using colors in the right place. On the other hand, a good designer will use a mix of 1-2 primary colors and a few secondary or complementary colors to really tie the color palette together without it feeling overwhelming.
Consistency is one of the most important things to look for in a designer. Are the same colors and fonts used throughout the project? Is the designer using the same styling for headings, body text, and button colors? How about the spacing between similar elements within the design? Consistency creates a clean look that is easy to follow. It also builds trust with the user by giving them the opportunity to remember certain things. For example, if a designer uses the same button color across the design, users will start to remember that anytime they see a button in that color, they need to take an action.
Not Enough White Space
When designing, white space is the key to preventing chaos. In order to produce an effective design, each element needs a certain amount of space to breathe, without overwhelming the user. If every inch of available space is used, it can be challenging for a user to follow the design or understand what they should be taking away from it. Providing enough white space allows the user to consume each element on its own before moving on to the next element.
Too Much Information
A good designer knows how to get a message across using as few words as possible. Only the most important points should be included in a design. If a designer is using all words and not getting creative with icons, shapes, colors, and images to get the message across, this is an issue. These design elements free up space and can sometimes be MORE effective than words. It’s a well-known fact that users skim and don’t read every single thing, so if you make your message easy to understand without having to read a ton of information, that’s a win.
Message Not Clear
If a user is confused after looking at a design or didn’t understand the message, then that designer has failed. Every design needs to have a clear point. Right off the bat, a user should clearly understand what action they should take, know what they are looking at, or understand what you are trying to say to them. Making the message very clear and super simple without the user having to think too much is the sweet spot designers should aim for.
Too Much Emphasis on Design, Not Enough on UX
It’s great if a design is beautiful and visually appealing, but if the user can’t figure out how to use it or what they should be doing next, the designer did not do their job properly. The whole goal of design is to pull the user in and have them understand what to do and how to do it immediately. The user should leave the experience feeling satisfied, intrigued, and/or accomplished. A visually appealing design is important, but not at the cost of functionality or usability.
Habits Of Bad Graphic Designers
Reacting on criticism
Good designers never react to criticism, be it constructive or otherwise. Bad designers take criticism personally and may even get downright rude to the client.
Unaware of industry updates
Bad graphic designers hardly know about the designing world let alone the people who make up the industry or the newest software updates and trends. If a designer is lacking in essential industry knowledge, s/he cannot be described as an innovative designer.
Not Sketching Designs
Professional disaster. Every graphic designer must know how to sketch at least a rough draft of the project and have a proper design process they follow.
Procrastination is a bad habit and those who stick to this habit often come up with substandard work and are unable to meet deadlines.
Losing important details, forgetting dates, mixing up project details, etc. won’t make you look good as a designer.
Not bringing new ideas to the table, not learning new tricks, or trying out new schemes because it requires extra effort. Using common derivative concepts is a sure sign of a lack of sheer creativity. No one wants to hire such a designer!
Lazy graphic designers don’t care about a client’s deadlines or project completion. They delay deadlines, give substandard work, and absolutely don’t care about clients.
Submitting Low-Quality Images
Sending clients low-resolution images that are difficult to scale and impossible to enlarge. Submitting images in both vector and raster format is the right thing to do. You never know when the client might need to print the design on a different medium altogether.
One of the characteristics of bad graphic designers is that they are smug and overconfident about their work. They consider themselves the best and even charge an exorbitant price for their substandard, derivative designs.
Wannabe designers are the most active at copying concepts. They lack a creative drive which is why they prefer to copy other designers, claiming it as inspired art, instead of creating their own.
Not Using Correct Software
Bad graphic designers fail to understand the significance of using specific software for various services. For instance, they will create a logo design in Adobe Photoshop and send the client raster files.
Lack of Color Understanding
Designers must have a strong understanding of colors, contrasts, and combinations that can appeal to the viewers. They must also know that web design templates are preferred in RGB while Pantone color standard is the best for logo design.
When dealing with clients, being professional is necessary. This includes using formal language rather than using slang. Designers who practice an informal code of conduct harm their reputation and gain popularity as being unprofessional.
Unintentional mistakes are forgivable, but continually practicing these poor habits makes you a bad designer, and bad graphic designers are NOT allowed anywhere in the professional world!
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