7 Common Rookie Design Mistakes


Creating your own graphics when you're first starting your business can help cut costs and get your business online quickly. Canva and other free design software makes it easier than ever to learn how to create graphics. But Canva can't teach you design principles, so it's possible that you're making design faux paux without knowing it.

Here are some common design mistakes I see in the small business community. Avoid them and watch your graphics get more likes and more shares!

Using Mediocre Photography

While I applaud any business owner that takes the time to find free commercially licensed stock photos (instead of just ripping copyrighted photos from Google), I suggest going the extra mile to find beautiful photos. If the photo you choose looks like it might have been taken by your mom or slightly artistic cousin, it won't stand out.

A good place to find beautiful, free stock photos is Unsplash.

Not Paying Attention to Alignment

Attention to detail makes or breaks the professionalism of your graphics. Simply making sure your image is balanced and all the elements are aligned evenly makes your image look polished.

Creating Tangents

Tangents are when two elements almost overlap, or just barely overlap. In the example below, the white box just barely skims the petals of the flowers. If you have two elements close to each other in a design, either give enough space between the two, or intentionally overlap them.

Using Distracting Backgrounds

It's easy to find a beautiful picture and what to use it in your graphics, but remember that the focus of your image should be the copy, not the image (assuming it's not a product photo). If the image distracts from the text, no matter how pretty it is, it's not doing you any favors.

Writing Copy in Script Fonts

Please STOP doing this. For one, if your text does read easily, it's not doing its job well. And secondly, script fonts are super trendy right now, so your image is not going to stand out.

Overly Tight or Overly Loose Leading

Leading is the space between lines of text. Loose leading makes each line of text feel separate and choppy. Tight leading makes your eye jump around when reading, and may lead to skipping lines of text. It may feel like I'm harping on readability, but bad typography is the most common issue with amateur design. Get your typography right, and the quality of your designs will improve significantly. 

Not Knowing Your Specs

Saving your design at the ideal size, resolution, color profile, and file type for the intended use of your graphic will make your image crisp and vibrant. 

Have you been guilty of any of these design blunders? I'd love to see some before and afters if you use any of these tips. Let's make the internet a more beautiful place!