4 Deadly Sins of a Graphic Designer
The longer you work as a graphic designer, the more you tend to overlook the basics of graphic designing. All the theories you learn in school during your amateur year can easily slip off your mind as you spend more time doing what you do best – graphic design. And sometimes, all it takes is a good leader to knock us back into track again. But what happens when you don’t have that sort of good leader to remind you?
Put up a poster! That’s what I do. I list down the basics of graphic design on the wall right behind my computer. Every time I finish designing something, I look at the list of pointers and make sure I don’t make any of the mistakes before submitting my artwork to the client. It’s a way to make sure that the work I churn out is professional and of standard. Here are the 4 deadly sins a graphic designer should never ever commit.
Distortion – Just because you need to fit a horizontal image into a square box, it doesn’t mean you can distort the image beyond recognition. It’s not professional to make someone’s face fatter or thinner just so you can fit the image into the frame. Use this opportunity to frame an image nicely with creative art directions. Never distort it!
Pixelation – Don’t underestimate the importance of dpi. As a graphic designer, you should always know which dpi is perfect for which medium. For web purposes, it is always a standard of 72dpi. Anything less would cause pixelation. Same goes with printing. Find out the size required and work accordingly. If you ever need to force a low-res image into a huge artwork, do it professionally. Add in treatment to ensure that the visual does not look unprofessional.
Multiple Fonts – Fonts is not mere words; it’s a styling that reflects tone and manner, personality, mood and volumes. A good visual usually uses only 2 font types (headline & body copy). Using too many font types on a piece of artwork is not advisable as it would send confusing messages to the audience. Not only that, it will make your artwork look messy and un-organised. So choose your fonts carefully. And stick to just two or the most three to bring out your message successfully.
Mirror Reflection – When an image can’t seem to fit into a frame, we tend to mirror reflect the image to make it fit better. Or look better. Well, you can do that to an object or the skies or plants. But you have to be very sensitive to the image and take note that the audience should not know that you have flipped it over. Especially when it comes to faces. For example, my colleague once told the graphic designer to flip the photo of our CEO cause it would look better that way. When I looked at the photo I knew immediately that it was flipped because his signature mole on the right of his face is now on his left. Big mistake; mistakes we should never commit as graphic designers.
Just remember to keep a lookout for all these while you are working on your projects. Also, remember the basics of graphic designing. We tend to overlook when we have worked in the industry for a long period of time. Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves so that we would always be up to par with our standards when delivering services to our clients. Even as freelancers, we are professionals. And we have to prove it to our clients through our professional services to them.
Originally written by Gina Yap Lai Yoong © 2010