22 Common Graphic Design Mistakes to Avoid

Team Pepper
Posted on 21/03/229 min read
22 Common Graphic Design Mistakes to Avoid
Graphic design runs parallel to content to determine campaign success. Avoid these graphic design mistakes at all costs.

Table of Contents

  • How Graphic Design Mistakes Are Bad for Your Campaign
  • Can You Guess the Graphic Design Mistakes From These Examples?
  • Key Takeaways 
  • Conclusion 
  • FAQs

A picture is worth a thousand words if presented correctly. Wrongly depicted visuals can be extremely detrimental to your efforts. Whether you are exercising your graphics on website layouts, social media posts, or creating a cohesive marketing campaign, there are certain rules to follow.

Graphic design rules, when followed corrected, enhance the visibility of your brand, build loyalty, and develop goodwill. On the other hand, graphic design mistakes lower your brand power, reach, loyalty, and effectiveness.

In this blog, we examine some of the worst graphic design mistakes that can ruin your brand. Sound knowledge of these mistakes helps you stay on top of the visual marketing game.


How Graphic Design Mistakes Are Bad for Your Campaign

Graphic design is one of the pillars of a marketing campaign. Poorly done or badly implemented graphic design can send your marketing into a nosedive, harming your brand identity. Creating graphics that are not in sync with your brand story is one of the worst graphic design mistakes you can make. When you make this mistake, your brand will not occupy a unique position in the prospect’s mind. You lose out on “positioning.” 

22 Graphic Design Mistakes You Should Never Commit 

Read on to know about the 22 graphic design mistakes to avoid.

1. Lack of consistency

Your graphic design should give the feel of oneness. Use the same visual elements throughout the design. For example, a “Contact Us” button that is blue and rounded at the top of the web page needs to be the same at the bottom of the material. You can’t have a red button at the bottom of the material. However, don’t overdo consistency.

2. Not designing for the medium 

Is your design appearing in print, on the web, or on TV? The medium is crucial to selecting the style of your design. For instance, the RGB color model works well for the web, and CMYK for print. Different design styles work well for different mediums. Not designing for the medium is a recipe for failure.

3. Plagiarizing other designs

Copying a design leads you to lose credibility as a brand and as an individual. Looking for inspiration is different from copying. Inspired work usually takes the elements of several creations and synchronizes them into a new product. Copied work is instantly identifiable and does not stick well on its own. Never copy another’s design.

4. Not communicating the message clearly

Sometimes graphic designers get so involved in colors and shapes that they forget the message. The primary duty of a graphic designer is to communicate a message effectively. Colors and shapes are just the means, not the end. Remember, the ultimate measure of your success is how well you have communicated the message.

5. Looking for too much symmetry

Symmetry is an essential part of aesthetics. However, when symmetry is overdone, you are left with a lack of flow and direction. Absolute symmetry is boring and does not catch the eye of the audience. Balance and harmony need to be matched with dashes of color and variation.

6. Using pixelated graphics  

Raster images are made of pixels. When enlarged, they become blurred. Vector images, on the other hand, are made of geometric curves and lines. When enlarged, they still appear crisp. A good rule of thumb is to start with a larger design than required. If you scale down images, they will remain crisp. However, this may not be the case when scaling them up. 

7. Improper line spacing 

Leading is the word for line spacing: the space between typed lines. Improper line spacing is one of the worst graphic design mistakes. Too much space between lines makes the text feel disconnected. On the other hand, too little space between lines qualifies as crowding. For the right effect, choose optimal line spacing.

8. Choosing wrong font combinations

Font combinations are based on the purpose of the graphic. Do you want the graphic to have an impact? Do you want to come across as artsy? Does a comic font serve the purpose best?

Whatever your needs, they are served by combining fonts that go well together. Sometimes the purpose of the design is best served by using the same font throughout. Sometimes you may need to use a combination of fonts that match in style and effect.

9. Using illegible text 

A charming aesthetic is one goal of design. The second is effective communication. Text that is part of a design should never be hard to read. It should be well-placed and well-contrasted. In short, reading your message should be easy on the eyes and mind of the prospect.

Do you see how some articles are just a wall of text? A wall of text is usually defined as a big chunk of information that is unreadable, inedible, and indigestible. To appeal to the reader, articles should be written in small, easily digestible portions. Never write paragraphs that are more than ten lines long!

10. Not following visual hierarchy


Visual hierarchy is an essential part of any design. The place and importance of each element are defined through a visual hierarchy. Usually, the more important elements are larger than the less important ones. Implementing visual hierarchy is essential to proper communication of the marketing message.

11. Failing to scale 

Remember not to distort the design by inappropriate stretching. When done right, a combination of large and small scales is a powerful weapon in a graphic designer’s arsenal. Scaling the design correctly can create an awesome, dramatic effect.

12. Absence of contrast 

An inadequate contrast is the death of many graphic designs. Not contrasting properly can create an ineffective design. Choose your colors right. Then contrast between light and dark elements within the design helps create a striking effect.

13. Not aligning elements 

Certain purposes call for centered elements. Others call for right- or left-justified elements. Not paying attention to justification can create an asynchronous design. Arbitrary element placement makes the design look messy and disorganized. One way to arrange your visual elements is through the use of grids.

14. Absence of negative space 

When graphics do not use negative space, they lose their power and charm. When negative space (also known as white space) is absent in visual design, it looks unprofessional, even amateurish. A sterling example of the use of white space is the Google Search page. The mind is directly channeled to the search box at the center of the page, with no distracting elements.

15. Using ineffective color combinations

Some colors go well together. Others don’t. It is simple mathematics. Projects can suffer when the graphic design is not based on an aesthetic color palette. Proper color combinations should contrast well. They should interest the user. Also, they should make the content more readable. One great tool to choose color online is Paletton.

16. Using improper kerning

Bad kerning is bad letter spacing, which can make your project look unprofessional. For seasoned graphic designers, kerning isn’t an afterthought: it’s essential to the design. Your letters should be spaced such that the whole text looks organized and clean, and is easy to read.

17. Using too many fonts 

Matching fonts are part of the game. But you need to keep it simple. Too many fonts are like the adage, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Sometimes a message calls for the use of just one font; and at other times, you may need to use more than one. Ideally, you should never use more than three.

18. Letting words overpower visuals 

It is true what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes graphic design is about communication with feelings rather than logic. Visuals often tell the story better than words. Your prospect typically doesn’t want to be told the whole story. Here’s where “show, don’t tell” comes into play. Graphic design is typically about painting a picture in the prospect’s mind, and that is why you should use more visuals rather than words.

19. Using stock images 

In thorough, professional graphic design, you should avoid the use of stock images. Stock images are affordable but usually make a project look cheap and unprofessional. They are usually generic and representational in nature, which may dilute the essence of your story. Low-resolution stock images, in particular, are not the best options when creating a professional graphic design.

20. Failing to proofread

Well-spelled text that is also well-punctuated scores points for professionalism. Clients expect marketing material to adhere to the rules of English. If you don’t proofread your materials and distribute them with glaring errors, your clients will not take you seriously. To make sure your efforts aren’t flushed down the drain, make sure you put them before an expert pair of eyes, such as those of a professional editor.

21. Using the wrong image format 

You can choose to save your image as JPEG, PNG, GIF, PDF, PSD, or AI. The format you choose to save your file in should depend on your end purpose.

JPEG: these are great for files with gradients. They allow for compression and, thus, smaller file sizes.

PNG: these files don’t lose quality during editing; they are lossless. They are usually larger than JPEG and support transparency.

GIF: This format is useful if you have a bit of animation involved.

PDF: PDFs are great for viewing, printing, and sending. 

PSD: This is an Adobe Photoshop file.

AI: is an Adobe Illustrator file.

22. Creating a monotone design 

If your design isn’t versatile, it is lost. The best designs are versatile and evergreen. They are also multipurpose. For example, a logo should look good on a visiting card, on flyers, and also on your website. This is essential for brand consistency, and it also maximizes the value of the work you have put into your graphics. 

Can You Guess the Graphic Design Mistakes From These Examples?

We have a little task for you. In the examples below, spot the graphic design errors. You can make a note of them, so as to not commit the same mistakes in your work. 

1. Example 1 


2. Example 2 


3. Example 3 


Key Takeaways

  • Pictorial design should be a keen balance of pictures with text.
  • Avoiding graphic design mistakes is essential for professional campaigns.
  • Keeping a list of graphic design mistakes in the conscious mind is important for ensuring a professional touch.
  • Sound use of graphic design can mean the difference between a winning campaign and an also-ran.
  • Graphic design is a pillar of effective marketing.
  • Graphic design is not just an art, but also a science.


Graphic design is the science of making pictures sync with words for maximum effect. Every piece of graphic design has a purpose. Keeping the purpose in mind, avoid the possible graphic design mistakes to create a winning marketing campaign.

Remember, graphic design involves continuous learning. The more you are open to learning, the greater heights you will scale. The ceiling here keeps rising. Avoid the worst graphic design mistakes by going through this blog again. Then arm yourself to win in the world of online and offline marketing.


1. Why do they say a picture is worth a thousand words?

Pictures depict a message of wholeness. A single word says much less unless paired with an appropriate visual. Just as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, a picture speaks as much as a thousand words do. This is why it is said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

 2. Is it right to say, “Content is king”?

In the online world, content is king. Even offline, sometimes you need the right words to convey the message being depicted by the visual. Often, all that is needed is the right words. However, even stellar content needs to be presented properly so that it is digestible. You need to use the right line and letter spacing, and the other elements of design like negative space, effectively.

3. Who can learn graphic design?

Just like anyone can learn to write or speak, anyone can learn graphic design. However, not everyone writes and speaks equally effectively. After a six-month tenure of graphic design learning, person A might be a fantastic designer, while person B might be mediocre. Talent matters here.

 4. What is the purpose of graphic design? 

The purpose of graphic design is to convey a message effectively. The message might be a sales pitch, a brand-building exercise, an effort at engagement, or ad copy to gain conversions. Graphic design needs to be tailored to fulfill its purpose. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to be followed. Every message is unique and needs custom font combinations, negative space, visual hierarchy, and colors.

5. How long will it take for me to master graphic design?

Everyone is different. A visual genius could master graphic design in months. An ordinarily gifted person could take two years. Another person might not be able to master graphic design even after years. It depends on how many hours you put in and how consistent you are in your study.

6. Where can I learn graphic design?

There are public and private institutes that teach graphic design. For those who are challenged in terms of time and money, there are online courses that are extremely affordable and can be learned at your own time. Check out the courses at Udemy, Udacity, and Coursera, among others.

7. How do I avoid graphic design mistakes?

To avoid graphic design mistakes, you need a ready reckoner, such as this blog, at hand. Over time, you will inherently know when you are on the right track. After referring to a guide for mistakes, you will make fewer mistakes, and soon, you might do graphic design without any error whatsoever.

8. What are some tools for graphic design?

There are numerous free and paid tools for graphic design. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe  Illustrator, and the CorelDRAW Graphics suite are some options for those willing to spend a few bucks. In addition, there are many free online tools for various functions, such as image compression, resizing, and more, for newbies wanting to avoid graphic design mistakes. One such tool is Canva.