It’s okay for designers to break the rules — but some rules were made to be kept. Avoiding these common mistakes will keep a good design from going bad.
Photo Faux Pas
Smoothing out flaws and removing unwanted elements is fine but too much tweaking can turn a model into ET. Common errors include mismatched body parts when legs or arms are slimmed down — or even disembodied limbs left behind when a person is removed from the picture. Avoid using blurred, poorly lit or low resolution photographs in your work; sometimes there’s no way to make a bad picture look good and you need to find another image.
Clip Art Clutter
One or two well-chosen pieces of clip art add visual interest to a design and help to get your message across. Some designers seem to believe that if two pieces of clip art are good, then two dozen will be fantastic. The result is inevitably a crowded mish-mash of different images and styles that confuses the viewer. Keep it simple.
Putting every sentence in a different font makes your text look fragmented and incoherent. Two contrasting fonts — three at the most — will keep your reader engaged. If you want to emphasise a section, use bold or italics rather than switching fonts.
Graphics packages come with lots of exciting effects and sometimes it’s tempting to go overboard. As with many other things, though, less is more. One or two effects can enhance your design; too many can look cheesy. Avoid effects that have become overused, such as lens flare.
Borders and frames help emphasise text and other elements but don’t overuse them. If you border everything, the viewer won’t know where to look. The borders themselves should be subtle, not overpowering; avoid busy graphical borders.