Illegibility, Illegality, and Digital Gunk
Graphic design has two purposes: to communicate a message and pair it with imagery that compels an audience to listen. Unfortunately, illegible text and poorly treated imagery can sabotage this simple modus operandi as quickly as taking a paint roller to your entire marketing package. Take heed of these common graphic design mistakes to ensure that your print and web design bellows the correct information loud and clear.
Text Doesn’t Stand Out
Lost in the thrill of creating something beautiful, designers may choose a text color or font that pleases the artist but fails to attract anyone else’s attention. To guarantee your copy is easy for customers to read and jumps off the page, establish a strong contrast in both color and lightness between the background and the text. For paragraph copy, select a simple, legible font that complements the larger display font used for the header.
Resolution is Too Low
Rule of thumb: 72 dpi for the web and 300 dpi for print jobs. Occasionally, a designer will start small only to discover that their client would like the project enlarged for a different purpose. The designer will then be forced to completely revise the image in order to avoid pixilation. Bypass this situation entirely by starting large and working your way down, both in image size and resolution. When designing a logo or a simple graphic that will undoubtedly be resized for a multitude of purposes, use vector images to maximize versatility.
Often, amateur graphic designers & do-it-yourselfer’s seek out photographs on the web, perhaps even on Google Images. This practice probably won’t get you into trouble if you’re designing an advertisement for your son’s scout bake sale, but if you’re a business hoping to circulate an image far and wide, you need to use sanctioned stock photography. Web sites such as morgueFile, shutterstock, and Getty Images provide access to licensed imagery, sometimes for free (simply use “free” as a search term). All pertinent information regarding the image’s legality and how it may be used will be listed next to the photograph. Carefully read this fine print to determine for certain if the image you’ve chosen is appropriate for your intended use.