Being a graphic designer is not an easy job to take for everyone. In many cases, people call themselves designers because they know how to operate some editing applications such as Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator. But is it enough? No, it is not. Professional designers out there had to learn ranges of information to nail the art.
It later separates the bad and good designers in the field. So, it is necessary to understand how to recognize a bad graphic designer. For designers out there, it will help you see whether you are good or not and whether you need to learn more or not. For clients, you can also recognize the bad worker before sealing deals.
Looking for a bad designer is still one of the controversial topics out there. One is because there are no boundaries and a real meter to tell good or bad in design. However, again it meant to raise awareness of some mistakes or signs that make one job look amateur. It is also worth underlining that bad does not mean the end. You can improve to get better at it. Here goes the criteria of a bad designer:
1. Behind Text Boxes
The behind text boxes are something that can hinder the overall look. The idea of this bad design comes from the restricting feeling on it. A box makes your text stand out and separated. If it is correct, it can help highlight the aspect. But when it is unnecessary, you will make it out of place.
Just because you can make one, it does not mean you have to add the box. So, it is a bad decision for design. Designers might want to do this to their graphic to accentuate the text, but do you need it? The sense of blocky background can great contrast to its surrounding design, which makes a weird and bad look.
If adding behind text boxes is inevitable, make sure you put it in the correct places and function. It will emphasize important detail in the information or a little snippet in the corner. It is also critical to carefully plan it out, so you will not overuse it. As one of the bad graphic designer signs, this is one of the minor things to consider.
The alternative of doing so is using something else, such as a dramatic headline, different font, using quotes, or others. The idea of using white space also helps designers to get creative. You can pull off many graphic modes, such as reverse your type and make more readable highlights without a bad block behind the text box.
2. Using Borders
Similar to behind the text box, borders can either make your graphic stand out or ruin it. In this case, the bad idea will surface if you are overdone. Again, try to minimize the uses of borders or lines that can make a separation between sections. The designer needs to plan what kind of information it is worth to get borders.
When it comes to graphic design, you can utilize white space for better comprehension and unity. It also looks cleaner for the whole plan. Designers can also play around with font type, hierarchy, and color without being restricted to the border. The border bad graphic designer habit mostly comes to contain the unsafe feeling with the uncontained type.
While it can help and work well if done right, it can also destroy the flow of the graphic project. The border will contain pieces and make them feel restricted in an area. A bad decision in doing so will make an impression of losing breathing space. In many cases, elements such as images, texts, or shapes can be there just as it is without borders.
3. Drop Shadow And Emboss
Graphic designers got a lot of options to style every media in their project. Whether it is a shape, text, or even image, they can play around with graphic elements whatever they want to. But just because you can do all of them, it does not mean you have to. In some cases, bad styling will make you appear like an amateur designer.
The best but bad example is the use of embossing and drops the shadow. Surprisingly some designers love this kind of style. The embossing can help to add a 3D effect to the text or media, but it also makes shadows in certain areas. Thus, creating such a nightmare model. It can get worse when they decide to combine it with a drop shadow.
The double shadow style makes it look like a solid floating object. Isn't it a cool element? Well, it is one of the biggest dead signs of amateur work. It looks so bad for the whole graphic project. It is not only the bad look, but the graphic designer also loses the sense of prioritizing audience experience.
The bad styling combination will plummet the readability of text (if you use it for text). It also makes the media stand out in the wrong way. What makes it worse is that the graphic designer flaw is part of the forbidden elements; reflections, rainbow gradient, and comic sans. Try to avoid the elements and use other ideas to make a wholesome graphic design.
4. Helvetica Everywhere
You should not use comic sans because it looks basic. For a graphic designer, you need something more to pump up the whole project. But again, being too much is another bad and forbidden move. It goes along with the font choice, such as Helvetica. Indeed the Helvetica font is very popular and used in many designs, but try to use others.
Many typefaces hold the same premise as Helvetica. It is versatile, easy to read, and simple. However, there are too many usages of Helvetica that make it unfavorable. That is why you can try other styles to break out from the bad graphic designer habit of using Helvetica for everything.
Some suggestions that you can easily find are Futura, Formata, or Trade Gothic. There are also Eurostile and Antique Olive. The idea is that you can get a more comprehensive and better-looking design with a unique font. However, make sure that you choose the correct typeface that hits the right audience, goals, and overall graphic plan style.
5. Using Wrong Typography
Another case of the bad graphic designer sign goes to the wrong typography choices. Every designer needs to understand that every typeface has its character, uses, spirits, and purpose. Can you imagine the thunder-like font in the Harry Potter logo will fit with a formal project? It is not. It is because the font holds a different spirit and feel.
In this case, a good designer not only needs to learn about the overall graphic look but also the font. The basics are using serif for body text, and sans serif give more elegant looks. That is why comic sans is the biggest forbidden bad font a designer can commit. Joke aside, you need to take a red string that not every font can be used in any situation or need.
As you need to know the proper text for your graphic plan, it is also worth using a limited font. The less is more philosophy can help you get the idea. Why so? One of the bad graphic designer's sins is using more than a maximum of three different fonts. Take the idea that you can use different fonts for heading, body text, logo, and others.
But if you are a designer that uses an abundance of fonts in one graphic project, then prepare for a more tacky and unreadable text. At some point, it looks like a bad magazine paper-cut words as threatening letters. It is going back to the idea that a graphic designer needs to consider the typography carefully, including the uses, the family, the audience, and the purpose.
6. Using Font 12 With Auto Leading
Being basic is not bad or a mistake. But if the graphic designer can do more, why not? The idea works the best for font and text consideration. In this case, many applications come with the default 12-point type text setting. You can use it, and there is nothing wrong with the idea. But you can make a better impression with slight changes.
The idea is that a graphic designer needs to choose a different option of using 12 points for body copy. The 12-point is considered too large for body copy, which makes it look very basic. However, you can add extra 1 or 1.5 line spacing or leading to make a different impression. So, the bad 12 points can look more professional.
It looks even better if you consider using smaller points, such as 10 and 11, with the same leading or line spacing setting. Try to compare the two models. The bad default typeface will look far amateur than the 10- or 11-point passage text. The different leading also makes it easier to read while also containing more words than 12 points.
7. Double Enters
There are chances that graphic designers do double enters to balance the typeface. However, it is a bad graphic designer habit that you need to avoid faster. If you are in need to make space between paragraphs or after the headline, play with the line spacing or move the font around. It helps more than just doing so with double enters.
The bad habit gets worse if you do it way too many times. Using double spaces will make it possible for your graphic project to have a blank space at the top of the column. In other words, you will have way too much space between each paragraph. The effect also makes the designer's text looks disconnected and harder to comprehend.
8. Two Spaces
Another worse graphic designer sin that might arise without realizing it is two spaces. Just like the double enter or return bar, this practice is considered a bad example even for amateur designers. Graphic designers are not only working around pictures. They are also bound to work with a lot of text in graphic projects, which is why typography plays a great role in it.
The sense of using double space in between sentences and after punctuation is simply wrong and bad practice. Typography-wise, it is a flaw that tends to happen due to the lack of spacing and kerning adjustment. It also makes the text look separated. If you want to make a solid text in graphic design, learn more about the typography aspect.
9. Centered Alignment
Centered alignment has become a bad practice in graphic design due to its messy and dull appearance. Indeed, it can work with some typography wiz. However, using a centered layout can turn into a bad sin with no fascinating point design. If you want to use the centered alignment, you need to adjust the text. Thus, it looks more appealing.
The best example is the centered alignment with designed verses. The bad graphic designer can turn into a more interesting text to read. It gets better if the designer uses a flush left or right to add strength to the entire page. Most likely, the left or right flush is the best option for many graphic projects. However, again it depends on the need. If you have to center it, then do so.
10. Wrong Straight Quotes
Designers need to learn how to use the right typography in as many ways as possible. One of the many bad habits is using straight quotes for the wrong purpose. Straight quotes were mostly popularized for typewriters, which have been changed for more modern technology. In this case, you need to follow the trend and proper usage of quotes.
The bad sign is very apparent if they use straight over the edge instead of quotation marks. You can also see the bad use of quotes if they are mistaken for prime marks, straight, apostrophe, and quotation marks. Suppose you want to nail a graphic project and become professional, learn how to do the punctuation right.
11. Do Not Hung Quotations
The bad graphic designer's sign of using wrong punctuation also happens in quotations. To make a proper quotation text, you need to hang the quotation marks on both ends. Surprisingly, many graphic designers make this mistake due to not understanding the software. Try to read the software manual to make it right.
12. Did Not Adjust Indents
Indent makes a lot of difference in text design. In this case, the bad thing that a designer can do is not adjust it. The chance that the designer uses the default indent that has a wide space in the beginning. While it is a standard, it can leave a big blank area for the whole paragraph in your graphic design. The best one is only two spaces indent, which you can do manually or through setting.
13. Using All Caps
All caps might be one of the bad graphic designer mistakes that are hard to shed. Some of the fonts come with an all-caps design, which leaves the designer with no choice to use it. However, it is different if you keep the caps lock button on the entire time. All caps will make the word harder to read since it appears with the same shapes. The alternative option is to use bold, different font, or reverse the text.
14. Not Using Bullets
A little tiny detail such as bullets in graphic design can make a lot of difference. In this case, designers need to shed the bad habit of using hyphens instead of bullets. Indeed, in word processing software, you can get an automatic bullet or numbering option. However, it is a different case in editing and graphic software.
The use of bad graphic designer hyphens that replace bullets is very outdated. It was used in typewriters due to the easy implementation. However, when it comes to graphic design projects, you need bullets or dingbats for this matter. The use of dots and dingbats will make a proper and easy-to-look point separation. It also makes a great highlight for the text media in your graphic.
There is an unspoken law in graphic design not to use underline text. Why so? Most of the time, people use underlines to emphasize hyperlinks on the web. However, if you want to highlight text using italicize text. Again, the use of underline is considered an outdated trend from the era of the typewriter. But again, sometimes the bad rules can be broken.
16. Grammar And Spelling Mistakes
No matter if you are a native or non-native language user, grammar and spelling mistakes are one of the hardest aspects designers seem to face. The bad sign is everywhere, which is something you need to recognize. To avoid this bad habit, you need to check and ensure every grammar in the project.
The said signs are not hard and fast rules for every graphic designer out there. In the world of graphic design and projects, there are many considerations regarding every element. Some of the points highlight mistakes that frequently appear in the design. It does not mean bad is doom for your career. Understanding the bad points will help you improve in the future.