Graphic design is becoming a more competitive trade every day. Knowing the ins and out of the software, along with any tips or tricks you can pick up is vital when you go to print a finished project. Some designers have been doing the same processes for years. The problem with this is that they can pick up some bad habits: Here are the five graphic design mistakes you don’t want to make.

1. Web Graphics on Printed Material

Creating physical prints of your designs can be a great way to market an event, business, product, etc. Artists can also benefit from selling physical prints of their unique work. But with this can bring a load of headaches. Pixelated graphics and hard to read font can be the bane of any graphic designer’s existence. Blowing up small images to transfer it to print will make everything look inconsistent and sloppy. When designing, be sure to pick images that match the size you want and are in the right format for printing. PNG’s and vectors come out as the best quality over other formats such as JPG’s.

2. No Bleed on Images

Another graphic design mistake is not allowing a bleed. A bleed gives images enough “give” on the canvas. When printing, you don’t want your design cutting off at the end of the page. You also don’t want to allow too much, if any white space around the borders. Without it, you give the printer no leeway on the final product. You want to allow about 3mm of bleed around the perimeter of the design. A great method to use is to save layered files of the design so that if things need to be extended or cropped, you can do so on the back layer. This can cut back a lot of the time spent constantly moving things around to appease the canvas.

3. Using Obscure Fonts

Veteran graphic designers usually know what fonts work on their designs. Easy to read and the right style for the piece are the first two factors that come to mind. Sometimes one can go overboard with a cool font that comes out as barely English in print. Additionally, the font can suffer or even slow down production in a team setting. Collaborating on a design can be a headache when the original document doesn’t secure and embed the words and font style. Sharing files among your peers can result in offset paragraphs, default fonts, and jumbled up content when a designer doesn’t take the proper steps to embed their content on the page. This is a minor graphic design mistake that can end up costing you a lot of production time.

4. Using Spot Coloring on Print Ready Artwork

Artists out there can create the most unique and special artwork through graphic design. What they may fall short on is spot coloring their art.  A lot of print is sent through on 4 color presses called CMYK with occasional 5th color for luminous or metallic color, or spot UV varnish. While spot coloring works great for classic branding colors, it can sometimes come up short when less versatile hardware uses RGB type printing (instead of the former); leaving your design lackluster in comparison to what you viewed on-screen. Going the extra mile on coloring artwork will make your print stand out among the rest.

5. Allowing Clients to Take the Reigns from You

This can be one of the most damaging graphic design mistakes. Yes, the customer is always right. But when there is a job assigned to you, it’s because you are the expert on that job! Trust yourself and your ability, take your client’s request to the workspace and get it done right.  Sometimes it can be hard for someone to visualize the end product without being a part of the process. Give them options and be flexible while still holding to your standards. If you know your talent and your services are up to par, you won’t be discouraged by the constant notes and runarounds a client can put you through. Remember: it’s all part of the process.


These are the five graphic design mistakes you don’t want to make. There are so many tactics to creating a design; make sure you’re using the right ones! Keep your prints clear and well-executed. Allow enough bleed on the design. Don’t cut corners on coloring. But most of all, believe in the quality of your hard work!

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