12 Common Mistakes Amateur Graphic Designers Make and How to Avoid Them

By | November 3, 2020
12 Common Mistakes Amateur Graphic Designers Make and How to Avoid Them
As an amateur graphic designer, you need to
avoid making certain mistakes to be able to
create great designs.

12 Common Mistakes Amateur Graphic Designers Make and How to Avoid Them

This post provides exhaustive information on the common mistakes usually made by amateur graphic designers at the start of their career.

It also provides useful suggestions on how to avoid the mistakes and go ahead to creating captivating designs for your clients.

Please, continue reading:

12 Common Mistakes Amateur Graphic Designers Make and How to Avoid Them

  1. Failing to outline a creative brief
  2. Using simple software for professional work
  3. Using the wrong typography
  4. Using too much elements and color
  5. Using popular images
  6. Designing out of context
  7. Saving designs in the wrong format
  8. Not crosschecking your work
  9. Failure to keep it simple
  10. Copying trending designs
  11. Misusing the white space
  12. Not setting reasonable expectations.
  1. Failing to outline a creative brief

A creative brief is the most important document when starting a design project. It outlines the details of what the client needs and requested for.

Most amateur graphic designers are unable to identify with the client’s expectations and demand, and familiarize with what is required for the project. This mistake occurs before projects even get started.

Lack of proper communication and expressions from the client and the designer in most cases contributes to a poorly written creative brief.

In order to avoid this mistake, the designer should ensure there is appropriate communication and expression of ideas.

It is impossible to achieve what your client wants if you as a designer do not understand your client’s expectations. This could be avoided by outlining a creative brief of what you want to achieve.

  1. Using simple software for professional work

There are various software tools for graphic designing and some cannot be used for professional creations.

Most freebie programs use raster graphic imaging instead of the industry standard vector. One common mistake amateur graphic designers make is to use these software tools for professional design because they are usually free, however, the final outcome will not be unique, leaving your client unsatisfied.

To avoid making this mistake, do not use amateur software for professional work.

Try to use graphic software that are of industrial standard; stop trying to save money by using freebie programs because it may led to you losing your clients.

  1. Using the wrong typography

Typography says a lot about a company’s brand; using the wrong typography and using typography that is difficult to read might misrepresent the brand.

Every designer should have an eye for what a good font looks like and how to express them in the right way.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • Avoid using free fonts which are frequently used and below standard.
  • Check out sites where you can purchase unique fonts to use for your clients.
  • Stick to one type of fonts for one design project; don’t use too many fonts for one design because it will make your work look messy or overdone.
  • Ensure that you maximize space without compromising the message of the typography.

Your font should be able to relay messages; whatever font you decide on should be able to tell viewers what the brand is about.

For example, when designing typography for a water producing company, you should be able to convey the message to the viewer even without them reading the name.

You should use water related items to design the font.

  1. Using too much elements and color

An attractive design requires a delicate balance of color. Graphic designers often make the mistake of adding too much color to a design and this makes the design look unattractive and repelling to the eye.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • Choose your color wisely; we would advise you to choose two or three colors at most and ensure that you add a neutral color to help you balance everything.
  • Always keep in mind the message you are trying to express when choosing your colors.
  • If you decide to employ the use of animation as a special feature, stick with that so you don’t over stimulate viewers with many elements.
  1. Using popular images

Another mistake amateur graphic designers make is using popular pictures in their designs, thereby making their work not look unique.

The project may look nice but will end up looking unoriginal because of overuse of stock images.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • When downloading images try to stay away from popular ones.
  • Look for the least downloaded photos and use them.
  • You can also hire a photographer to take good and unique images for you to use for your designs or you can buy photos online.
  1. Designing out of context

In order to achieve a good design for a project, three groups of context elements have to be considered, they are: the user, the environment, and the world.

Amateur graphic designers make the mistake of not considering all the three elements; they are usually after their client satisfaction forgetting that it is also for the environment and world at large.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • The designer should consider any physical aspect that may influence the design. To achieve this, the designer has to be keen on the time, the day, the location, the place and every other thing that relates to the design.
  1. Saving designs in the wrong format

Amateur graphic designers usually make the mistake of saving the final outcome of their works in the wrong format, and this may affect whatever their client needs the design for.

For instance, a client might need the design to be printed on a billboard; if it is not properly saved in the right format it will affect the output of the design on the billboard.

How to avoid this mistake:

  • In order to avoid this mistake, there are rules in creating, saving, sharing, and handling over any design files.
  • Again, when choosing a file format think about what the design would be used for and how to compress it.
  • The most accepted format to save your files for print is CMYK while for web, save in RGB.
  • You can also save your file in JPG or JPEG, PNG, PDF, AI, EPS, TIFF and other formats depending on their intended use.
  1. Not crosschecking your work

Designers are often in a hurry to deliver their work and so they forget to crosscheck it for errors. A crosschecked file could save you the cost of misspelled types and other errors in your work.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • Use the dictionary or any spell checker app to sort out misspelled words within your work.
  • Proofreading your work can also help you spot out mistakes.
  1. Failure to keep it simple

In a bid to impress their clients, designers often make the mistake of over designing their works and this may end up to ruin the work.

When a design is overdone, it makes it harder to communicate the message intended.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • Keep it simple; the best design conveys information clearly.
  1. Copying trending designs

As a designer, keeping up with trending designs is one thing you must do if you wish to remain at the top of your game.

However, copying trending design is a bad idea because it doesn’t make your work unique, and when your client doesn’t have something unique they may become unhappy.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • Rather than using trending designs that may be outdated, use a design more likely to have longevity for the brand.
  1. Misusing the white space

Most times designers don’t know how to find a balance between text and white space and this divides the reader’s attention.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • Ensure you give enough space so that readers can easily spot the message on the page.
  1. Not setting reasonable expectations

Amateur designers overestimate their abilities and set goals within a small time frame, which can lead them to working under pressure and having a bad result at the end of the day.

How to avoid the mistake:

  • Do not overestimate your ability, set an achievable deadline.
  • Remember that it’s better to humbly turn down a client than end up delivering bad designs.


When starting out in graphic designing, you are prone to making certain mistakes which can make your work less satisfactory to your clients.

This post provides a list of common mistakes amateur graphic designers usually make on their projects and how they can avoid them.