Let’s face it, we’ve all made mistakes. Whether your workload gets too heavy, or you’ve simply gotten faster with your skills it’s easy to make some simple mistakes. Though mistakes are what make us human, it’s not an excuse to let them go by unattended to. In this article, I’ll share with you 3 common mistakes you might not realize you’re making and how to make a habit to avoid them.
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Check Your Seplling* (*Spelling. Don’t Forget About it!)
Okay, this is common sense but the truth of the matter is that as a designer you’re probably working with the Adobe Creative Cloud programs… and unfortunately, spell check isn’t automatic. What happens when you’re in a hurry and you send a client an amazing design you’ve worked so hard on but after hitting that send button you realize a spelling error staring right back at you. I’ve done it, and I’m assuming it might have happened to you. If not (that’s awesome), but it’s definitely a big risk that you’ll inevitably end up forgetting. It can be a big discredit to your work but to avoid future spelling errors, you can find these spell check options in just about every Adobe program from the top menu bar, under “Edit > Check Spelling…”
How to Fix This: Every time you feel the urge to save your work, add a spell check before you click “Save.” This creates a habit to keep your work always grammatically correct every time you reach a save point. To take this further, make a checklist to go through before you decide to send your project to a client (such as running spell check, making sure you hit all of the client’s requests and feedback, etc.).
Having Too Many Fonts
This is a rookie mistake that I’m sure most people are aware of, but it still happens. I get it. You want to make stronger messages with different font styles; I mean that’s one of their purposes but in order to create a structured and well-crafted brand you need to have a recognizable and consistent look. If you’re using every cool free font from dafont.com, you’re destroying someone’s brand and reputation.
How to Fix This: A good rule of thumb is to pick 2-3 fonts maximum. This will allow you to have a solid brand while giving you the flexibility to create diversity in designs. To take this further, make sure to pick fonts that are:
- Represents the brand
- Pairs well with the other font(s) you’ve chosen (sans serif and serif fonts pair well together, but if you choose 2 serif or 2 sans serif fonts, make sure they have contrasting thick and thin weights for hierarchy purposes)
Try this: Create a brand book with one san serif, one serif, and one script or handwriting font for very, very, very, very special occasions, then just only use those! One great thing about the advent of social media tools like AdobePost and Canva is they allow you to creatively use other fun fonts without destroying your brand’s consistency.
There’s a lot of formatting issues that can happen in layout design. Things like kerning, tracking and leading in text blocks, center alignments, content overload and simply putting too much text on a single line. What’s kerning, tracking and leading? Get up to speed. You’re asking for trouble if you’re not working on any of these issues; they’ll only brew frustration for your client and anyone who looks at your work.
How to Fix This: Incredibly, you’ll only need to know 1 word to fix just about all of these mistakes in 1 fell swoop. SPACE. It’s important to let your work breathe and to not overwhelm the reader. To take this further, utilize your space effectively:
- Add space to text blocks by adjusting kerning, tracking and leading. Next, reduce line lengths in your text blocks easily by keeping the 7-word rule. Never let more than 7 words exceed a line. Simple!
- To avoid content overload, don’t try to fit everything on 1 page. It’s okay to separate it and move it on to multiple pages; it’s why you’re hired. You’re here to make a boring document look amazing.
- Though center alignment might not be a SPACE issue, it’s always something to remember NOT to do. When you center align text blocks, it creates stress on a readers’ eyes because each line of text starts on a different location and creates more work for the reader to find the next line. This also messes up the natural flow of content. Add a quick fix to center alignment issues by simply using them only for headings or short lines of text and keeping all text blocks right or left aligned.
You might have some great designs, but if you’re making these easily overlooked mistakes you can discredit the entirety of your work. Never forget to spell check before each time you feel the urge to save your project, limit yourself to 2-3 fonts for a more well-crafted brand and fix your layout issues by managing space more effectively. Just adding these effortless tips to your design habits will boost your work’s credibility drastically. Good habits make a good designer.