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Top 5 design mistakes professional designers rarely make​

amateur designer struggling
True professional designers avoid these design mistakes.

What are the characteristics of a professional output in general? 

Try to remember a world-class performance or an excellent piece of work completed on time amidst difficult circumstances. Professional products or services will be flawless, awe-inspiring, and consistently excellent.

Take, for example, K-Pop. Idols, or members of K-Pop groups, have flawless skin, superb singing and dancing skills, and perfect group synchrony. 

They’ve mastered their craft to the point where they’re famous even in countries where they don’t speak their language.

You can’t help but think: “How did these people train to reach this level of professionalism?”

This, like all stories of fame and success, did not happen overnight. Famous K-pop groups had to go through a lot to be seen on the world stage. These idols have been performing since they were kids, as young as 7 years old.

According to statistics, kids who want to be k-pop stars typically apply to more than 30 auditions. 

They may be offered a trainee contract for 2 to 4 years after passing an audition. This does not guarantee a debut; rather, it is an invitation to an idol training programme.

While competing for the spotlight, the trainees receive intensive coaching in singing, dancing, acting, language, and other areas.

Despite this rigorous training, only a small number of trainees are able to join groups and make their debut. 

The agencies choose their preferred trainees by hand. They will only become famous if they consistently deliver excellent performances.

Designers are polished through rejection and corrections

Designers, like all professionals, go through training and a lot of rejections on their work. Only those who believe in themselves and their craft will be able to persevere and earn the title of a full-fledged, professional designer.

They turn rejections into learning experiences that motivate designers to improve their work. 

Professional designers, regardless of their level of expertise, are open to feedback and will revise the design until you, the client, are pleased with the final results.

Deer Designers take pride in their work, but they don’t let ego get in the way of creating meaningful designs for your brand. 

They will make a few suggestions because they are the design professionals, but they will always strive to reflect your intention for the brand.

The blind leading the blind

With the proliferation of do-it-yourself design apps, creating attractive graphics appears to be a simple task. 

Many designer-wannabes parade their newfound skills and rob poor, innocent small and medium enterprises by producing subpar designs for them after taking a few online courses.

It’s a recipe for disaster when a non-designer client hires a freelance designer who only uses do-it-yourself design apps. Avoid making this mistake.

It’s easy to overlook some essential graphic design fundamentals, especially if you’re not trained to spot design mistakes. Unfortunately, if you don’t correct the designer, you will lose a new client or the opportunity to convert your ad into a sale.

In this article, I’ll show you five design elements that can tell you whether it was created by an amateur or a professional designer. This way, you can easily tell if the designer is telling the truth about their design abilities.

Inexperienced designers frequently make the following mistakes:

1. Incorrect basic information  

I hate to state the obvious, but I’ve seen far too many invitations and social media ads that fail to provide the most critical information necessary for someone to act.

If you invite coworkers to a party at your home and the designer forgets to include the time and date on the invitation, you will not only confuse your guests, but you’ll have to go out of your way to clarify the details to each person on your guest list.

Isn’t it a waste of time?

TIP: Always include a call-to-action. Once you’ve communicated the details clearly, make sure the next step is clear, such as: visit the website, RSVP, click to register, and so on. Never assume that others know what they should do next.

2. Inconsistent design

There are various platforms from which to communicate and advertise your brand. You want to be present in relevant channels as a small and medium-sized business like yours.

If your designer creates a Facebook cover photo that does not match your profile picture, which does not match your website design, which does not match your business card, which does not match your Instagram account, they are causing a brand identity crisis!

Establishing brand trust requires consistency, and professional designers ensure that your logo, brand colours, and typography are used consistently across all platforms so that when someone sees your ad, website, or materials, they know it’s yours.

TIP: Create a branding guide for your company using an on-demand design service. 

This guide will explain colour schemes, proper logo usage, imagery usage, and typography guidelines to help you maintain brand consistency across all platforms and collateral.

Branding guide samples made by Deer Designer

3. Plagiarized photos, illustrations, or graphics 

You’re most likely looking at competitors in your industry who are crushing it with their branding – and if you aren’t, you should be! You should not, however, ask your designer to mindlessly imitate them.

Because they lack experience and design conceptualization skills, inexperienced designers are more likely to commit design plagiarism.

Copying a design is unethical and illegal. It also diminishes trust with your audience, who has most likely seen your competition and is aware that you are stealing someone else’s brand. 

Learn how to spot a plagiarised design in this article.

TIP: Ask your designer to highlight what distinguishes you from your competitors. 

If you focus on a specific area, you will have a different target market. Perhaps you are inspired by a unique culture, or you sell a product that differs from your competitors. What works for someone else is unlikely to work for you.

4. Clutterring the design 

In contrast to missing basic information, there are only a limited number of things you should communicate in your design. 

Because they believe that every element must be included, inept designers are unable to filter the core message and end up cluttering the design.

Consider Target’s expert logo design. They could have easily incorporated home furnishings, groceries, and clothing into their logo design, but they chose one of the most recognizable symbols in North America – a bulls-eye.

More than 96 per cent of American shoppers understand what the bold, red bulls-eye represents, according to a 2003 Target survey.

Target is basically telling you that they have exactly what you need – so certain, in fact, that they are willing to bet the small circle in the centre of a target that you will find something you need.

TIP: Less is more. A good designer should be able to create a design or logo that is simple and understandable without the need for you to explain it to others. A true professional can simplify the design to a level that anyone can understand.

Clean, uncluttered design samples by Deer Designer

5. Ineffective branding

This is always a difficult subject to discuss because if you knew your design was bad, you wouldn’t be blind to it, would you? Logos and graphic design are extremely personal to a business owner, so I’ll tread carefully…

Even if you’ve followed all of the recommended tips above, if your design isn’t gaining traction, your brand may be outdated, bad, or unappealing to your target audience. Perhaps you hired an inexperienced designer in disguise!

Within seven seconds of being seen, your company is judged. Don’t let bad design cost you potential clients.

TIP: Have a professional on-demand designer evaluate your brand. I used to advise clients to have someone they know and trust review their designs, but they often only say what the client wants to hear.

A professional designer is trained to analyze your current brand and ask questions about your inspiration and core messaging. They will then create better designs that add value to the company and your clients.

Professionalism is in the details

No one is born with the ability to design. It is a skill that must be learned and refined over time. That’s why it’s critical to find a designer who welcomes feedback. You want a design team that will grow with you.

If you know what looks good for the five elements I mentioned earlier, you can now see the small details in the design that others may overlook. 

You can direct your professional design team to create the best artwork for you if you have a keen eye for detail.