14 Bad Designs to Avoid

By | October 28, 2020
14 Bad Designs to Avoid
Bad designs can be a turn off for most
viewers, so you need to avoid them.

14 Bad Designs to Avoid

Graphic designers are meant to grab the attentions of the viewer and relay the desired information to them through the design.

There are many designs around that tend to annoy viewers and also turn off their interest on the message the design is meant to pass.

This article has spotted designs that repel the interest of readers. If you are about to create your own attractive designs, to aid you in the process, we have compiled the common mistakes most designers commit while designing their projects.

The aim of every good design is not just being aesthetically pleasing, but to effectively convey a message.

14 Bad Designs to Avoid

  1. Avoid traces of poor readability
  2. Combination of mismatching fonts
  3. Poor kerning
  4. Use of unconventional colors
  5. Designs that lack negative or blank space
  6. Improper alignment of elements
  7. Ineffective use of contrast
  8. Designs with irrational scaling
  9. Designs with no regard to the rules of visual hierarchy
  10. Wrong picture format
  11. Designs lacking communication techniques
  12. Designs carried out without consideration of the medium it is meant for
  13. Avoid too much use of stock images
  14. Avoid overthinking and over designing
  15. Avoid cliché design.
  1. Avoid traces of poor readability

Poor readability discourages and repels readers from reading content on a design meant to pass information.

This is one of the common mistakes made by some graphic designers in an attempt to write many words in one line of sentence thereby impairing the sense of readability in the context.

To provide a better readability to the design, 50 to 60 words and characters per line is the optimal length.

Users or consumers of your design are meant to be able to read and understand your content easily without double thinking.

Readability is one of the most important aspects of graphic design because the arrangement of texts affects how readers absorb the information in the content.

  1. Combination of mismatching fonts

The combination of too many fonts gives a design an unprofessional look and it tends to disorganize the whole content if it is over done in a paragraph.

Some fonts are meant to communicate formality and some are to communicate elegance or other influential aspects.

Freestyling with different fonts can be fun, but reading through it is like walking on a crooked road; reading a sentence that has up to ten different fonts can be tiring and annoying.

It is suggested you use not more than three fonts in a paragraph.

  1. Poor kerning

Kerning is the process in typography where the space in between letters is readjusted either manually or automatically to enhance clarity of a word.

Kerning makes a big difference on the look of your project but most designers don’t seem to pay much attention to the spacing between letters.

Adopting kerning and adjusting the space between letters can make the words more readable and pleasing to the reader.

The inappropriate use of kerning can cause problems of misinterpretations from the reader. Having too much space in between letters can make your design look disjointed, while having too little space can make the appearance tight and consisted.

  1. Use of unconventional colors

Choice of color combination is the most important aspect of designing.

If the right color is not chosen, a design with well-structured information and communication might go askew.

Poor combination of colors may cause a visual vibration throbbing, which makes it hard for the reader to understand the design.

  1. Designs that lack negative or blank space

Unnecessarily filling of every inch in a design is one of bad acts in graphic designing. Application of too much elements in your design makes it harder for a viewer to read the content; the viewer will have to go extra miles to think in other to decode the information the design is passing across.

A good design with negative space that you can emulate is the Google logo design, which has more of negative space, thereby providing clarity the main subject which is “GOOGLE”

Consider negative space as a part of design element instead of seeing it as a void or empty space.

  1. Improper alignment of elements

Lack of proper placing of elements and proper alignment can make a design look messy and disorganized. Properly aligned elements create an orderly and accurate symmetry in your designs.

Some designers roughly arrange different elements in a design and overlook the alignment procedures thereby making the whole content disorganized.

Proper alignment enables you to arrange elements in such a way that consumers of the design can involuntarily scan the content and still have a clear understanding of the information the design is passing across.

Alignment creates a visual synchronization between the various elements and it also helps you balance your text and images so that it can be visually appealing to the consumers.

  1. Ineffective use of contrast

This is another bad design to avoid while carrying out a project. Most amateur designers do not give much attention to contrast and opacity setting.

They tend to use the same contrast for both the vital and minor elements in the design which might end up concealing the main idea of the design.

The vital element that is meant to pass information across should have a higher contrast than the other elements that made up the design.

Having the knowledge of the application of contrast theory is essential, as well as proper application of bright color; light color and dark colors differentiate between an effective design and ineffective design.

Proper placement of contrast between text and background is important.

  1. Designs with irrational scaling

Without any doubt, scaling is the most important element in producing a great design. Scale refers to the size of an object relating with the space it occupies.

Lack of knowledgeable use of scaling can mar your design, too much or less scaling or stretching of objects or elements in a designing form can distort the intended beauty of a design.

  1. Designs with no regard to the rules of visual hierarchy

Not paying attention to the rules of visual hierarchy is one of the design errors some graphic designers make while designing a project.

Visual hierarchy is an important principle in graphics designing. It helps to communicate to the viewer the importance of each element according to their ranking.

The largest texts or images tend to be the most important detail that passes the required information, followed by the least important ones.

Visual hierarchy is similar to inverted pyramid in reporting, whereby the most important details are revealed to the reader first before the less important ones.

  1. Wrong picture format

Designs that are pixelated are visually disturbing. The use of wrong picture format can diminish the supposed exquisite look of a design.

Some designers make the mistake of using raster images instead of vector images. Raster images is made up of few pixels which becomes blurry when enlarged, but vector images are made up of geometric curves and lines so they can be scaled to any proportion and it will still maintain its colorful form.

  1. Designs lacking communication techniques

Most designers give much reference to the aesthetic aspect of the design while neglecting the proper construction of the diction content.

Every design is meant to relay specific information; a design is termed bad when it fails to pass the designated information effectively.

It is advised to run a spell check, pay a close attention to grammatical details and comb through your project after designing to ensure it has the defined communication quality.

Your business may be ignored if your marketing design has many spelling mistakes, because such mistakes convey unprofessionalism.

  1. Designs carried out without consideration of the medium it is meant for

The medium you are designing for matters a lot, there are different procedures used in designing for different mediums. Consider whether it will be published for a print or online medium.

While designing for print media, the page layout should be put into consideration so as to avoid the loss of important design elements in the binding process.

Printers tend to reduce the color of the design after printing, so before printing your design, increase the brightness and contrast of the design so as maintain the crispy look when printed.

And also change the CMYK color mode for printing while RGB color mode is for designs to be displayed on computer and mobile web pages.

  1. Avoid too much use of stock images

It is definitely not wrong to use stock images but it is advised to use them rationally, fitting too many stock photos makes a project look unprofessional.

There are also plenty of stock images used online; people can easily recognize and see that the images in your design are stock photos, which will bring down the value of your project.

  1. Avoid overthinking and over designing

Including different elements to your design can be good but adding too much of it can be detrimental. There are many Photoshop tools available for use, but it doesn’t mean you should use all of them in one design. Simplicity has an aura of its own. Over design can cause loss of potency in passing information the design is carrying.

  1. Avoid cliché design

Copying other people’s design can damage your credibility as a graphic designer. Looking for inspiration from other creative designs is advisable but copying someone’s design is unacceptable.

Stay away from over used design patterns and create your own design, it will take you higher in your career.


Some graphics designers end up making their designs complex while trying to make it unique.

They use inappropriate color, fonts, and other elements; they make the common mistake of not researching on their businesses or adhering to clients’ instructions in the name of thinking outside the box, which renders everything counterproductive.

It is best to keep it punchy and simple.