Graphic design is often a series of trial and error with finding your own style, your strengths, and areas where you can improve. If you’re always looking for ways to make your graphical style better, then you’re on the right track. There are mistakes, however, and you will find that many actually come from resting on your laurels, and losing your momentum as a creator. Here are three that you should avoid.
- “Flat” images. If you talk to an artist, or maybe even draw yourself, you know that there are different types of portraits and paintings. Some are studies into anatomy, and others are depictions of a scene or setting. What’s common with some of the greatest among them is the idea of “action,” that something is happening, or has happened, and that there is a reason to feel immersed in an image. In graphic design, this isn’t always applicable, but it often is for background images, hero images, headers, logos, and more. You want to create an image that really leaps out and seems like it’s “going somewhere,” because a flat image for you is going to be a flat image for your viewer.
- Not adventurous enough. If you’re playing it safe, you’re likely to be doing the same thing that anyone else could, and likely is, doing. Nobody wants to be the one that creates graphics that get a definitive “no” from clients or visitors, but you also don’t want to get an “eh” because your graphics look very similar to just about every other offering on the market. While this one really depends on how much personal creative control you have over a project, you really should try to experiment as much as you follow a formula for what you want to make. New color sets, new angles of photography, and new typography choices in images can all set your work apart from the competition. The same rules of composition apply, but they shouldn’t be restricting you to something that will put your audience to sleep.
- Becoming too reliant on your tools. Digital image creation and enhancement suites are a real boon for an industry that has increasingly tighter deadlines and sharper demands from workers at nearly every level of skill, but they also present the danger of becoming far too reliant on what they can do. If you’re lacking the innate sense of which colors complement one another, how to frame an image, and where to insert elements, all due to a reliance on digital tools, it could reduce your ability to grow as a creator. These tools are valuable, but they’re no replacement for skill, experience, and creativity.
These problems can almost always be avoided by taking time, whenever you can, to learn more about your trade from professionals, tutorials, and discussions with your peers. You never know when you’ll learn a solution to a problem you didn’t realize you had.