written by
Carsten Pleiser

Graphic Design Mistakes: 9 Deadly Sins That Kill Your Marketing

Graphic Design Marketing 7 min read

Want to know the biggest graphic design mistakes marketers make ALL-THE-TIME?

From choosing the wrong typography to overdesigning, being a digital marketer who's in charge of design can cause your marketing to be slightly ineffective.

But we totally get it...

Us marketers juggle many different plates and we don't always have in-house designers at hand to help us out.

Tight deadlines, budget pressure and not having the nerves to wade through endless freelancer profiles on Upwork & Fiverr make us designers-on-the-job.

Small or major graphic design mistakes creep up.

Wanna know what these mistakes are and what you can do about 'em?

Go one, this one is written just for YOU 👇

But there's one more thing...

Why Graphic Design Mistakes Are Bad For Your Marketing

Marketing and graphic design go hand in hand, right?

Eye-catching graphic design assists us in boosting our credibility, building trust & awakening emotions that ultimately lead to sales & conversions.

But there's a problem.

Technology!

Instead of learning the skills or working with a dedicated graphic design professional, we're turning to graphic design tools like Canva & Co.

Nothing wrong with that, BUT...

We're NOT designers.

That leads to the web being flooded with poor visuals that turn off viewers or templates that look like they've been used a zillion times before.

Come one, you know exactly what cheesy, boilerplate templates I'm talking about...

So how can we avoid any major graphic design mistakes?

First, you need to identify what they are.

Ready? Let's go!

Mistake #1: No Visuals In Your Blog

Hand to heart, if your blog looks like sh!t no one will read it.

Just like this.

Uups, where is it (I can't see anything...)?

Uh oh, no image for your blog?

Yes, even if you have the best long-form content in the world.

If you don't care about the design and the visuals within your blog, people won't care about your brand either.

Heck, they won't even start reading in the first place.

It's no secret, first impressions count and that's regardless of the actual content!

Engaging blog headers increase click-through rates

First, blog headers and social media graphics that stand out from the crowd can heavily influence the click-through rates.

Second, once they're actually engaging with your content, you need to keep them engaged.

A good way of doing that is by using visuals that back up your written words.
(Think of infographics, charts, diagrams, images & call-to-actions)

Bespoke designs and graphics can help your brand be different from its competition.

And that's exactly what you want, right?

Pro Tip: Designing those marketing assets yourself takes time. Why not use an unlimited graphic design service that will take the weight off your shoulder?

Graphic Design Mistake #2: Too Many Fonts

No matter what you design, consistency, and readability are important.

Using two many different fonts or different font faces can distract and confuse your audiences.

Just like this:

graphic design mistakes typography
Too many typefaces & fonts fight for attention

"Oh dear" - Exactly.

Choose your fonts carefully - Always!

Good font choices are especially important when it comes to designing brochures, newsletters or sales collateral.

Graphic Design Mistake: Don't use too many fonts

Different typefaces need to work together to convey your message.

Fonts are like friends. It's nice to have a bunch, but you only spend time with a few.

For example, serif fonts are easier on the eye in print publications, while sans-serif fonts work better in designs used on the web.

Keep the number of fonts to a minimum when space is tight. this applies to assets like banner ads or business cards, for example.

Never use more than one different font type for your headline.

Simplicity is key and that leads us to graphic design mistake #3.

Mistake #3: Over Designing

Oh oh, that's a big issue amongst marketers.

Just because Photoshop gives you the option to apply fancy filters doesn't mean you have to use them all. Just because Canva has new templates, doesn't mean you need to stuff them with cr@p.

Less is more, simplicity has its benefits. Leave the fancy shadows and effects and keep it simple.

Here's a semi-scientific explanation of why simple designs work better:

Over-designing makes your audience's brain work too hard to gather the information. As a result, chances are they will just skip over the information, obtaining nothing.

Pro Tip: Space creates a certain balance in your designs, making it easier to consume as the brain doesn't have to work as hard.

Graphic Design Mistake #4: Ignoring Visual Hierarchy

An important principle of graphic design is visual hierarchy.

A lack of visual hierarchy causes a lot of confusion, especially when your design is trying to say too much.

As a rule of thumb, there should be one primary message that drives users towards a certain action.

However, a second or even third message is okay as long as they're properly balanced with the primary message.

The latter example above looks much better right?

The next one's classic...

Graphic Design Mistake #5: Using Raster Images Instead of Vectors

Design newbies often make the mistake of using raster images instead of vectors.

This can end up with a pixelated mess like so:

Raster Images

Raster images are made up of pixels and become blurry when enlarged.

Vectors are made up of geometric lines and curves, so they can be scaled up to whatever size you want and still appear crisp.

Vector Graphic

Whenever you need to scale up an image without losing quality, use vector graphics.

They're also much easier to edit in programs like Adobe Illustrator or Sketch.

One last thing, you never want to use any bad, over-used or cringeworthy stock photos for your marketing.

Onwards and upwards...

Mistake #6: Not Adjusting Images For Social Media

This is a pretty massive graphic design mistake marketers make - failing to resize images for various social media platforms.

You don't want to cut off words like this, do you?

Even if you're using the same post across multiple social media channels, the design needs to be resized to appeal nicely on each channel.

Luckily, tools like Promo offer free image resizer tools. You simply upload your design and the tool will automatically resize for every social network.

Clever!

Mistake #7: Choosing The Wrong Colors

Graphic Design Mistakes: Using the wrong colors

Just because green and red are your favorite colors doesn't mean they will work for your audience.

In fact, this is even more essential for viewers who face vision disabilities.

But even then, contrast is essential for the message to read quickly and effectively.

Consider a dark/light contrast when placing text over backgrounds. Dark text over a light background or light text over a dark background is common.

Pro Tip: Use colors of contrasting shades and play with levels of saturation.

Mistake #8: Using Words Instead of Visuals

The fastest way to turn your audience off is by including too much text in a piece of content that's supposed to be primarily visual.

This is especially true when it comes to presentation design, infographics or blog headers.

For example, you don't need to repeat the words that you want your design to express.

graphic design mistakes wordiness
Graphic Design Mistakes: Too Wordy

Instead, let the design speak for itself:

Makes sense?

Mistake #9: Placing The Call To Action In The Wrong Place

In Western culture, we read top to down and left to right.

Keeping this flow in mind can help you make better decisions as to where to place your call-to-action.

According to Wordstream, the best place to put your CTA is on the bottom right corner.

Why?

Because you never want to force users to backtrack in your design in order to click a button.

For example, you would want a CTA button in a design where the user would find it after reading about the offer or the benefits.

That said, here's an example:

graphic-design-mistakes

Wrapping Up

While some of the above graphic design mistakes are obvious to the trained designer, many of them are often overlooked by someone who's not a professional.

Do you need some help with your graphic design?

Design Buffs is a month-by-month unlimited graphic design service. You tell us what designs & marketing assets you need and your request is dispatched to your personal designer. You get an update within one business day. Get your designer today.

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