Learn the Most Common Design Mistakes by Non Designers

Today, I want to talk to you about the most common design mistakes made by non-designers. I’m going to tell you 15 of them. One, avoid using words instead of visuals. One of the most common mistakes is that amateurs and non-designers use too many words, too much text in their design. This might be their slide, it might be their
infographic, presentation and so on. So what you instead want to do is to stick
with visual cues and just the essential elements. So reduce the amount of content and supplement that with visual cues. That way, the user can focus on what you are trying to communicate to them. Number 2 is poor readability. Now with poor readability, one of the other
mistakes is too much text. Too many lines of text and also the user is
basically filling out their page. If you look here at the bottom example, 50
to 60 characters per line is what you want to shoot for, think of it as approximately
2 or 3 tweets put together. And keep your paragraphs very short. Number 3 is mismatching fonts. Now I’m gonna be talking a lot about fonts,
font pairing. I’m actually gonna be doing specific videos
on those but one of the problems is that, there are too many fonts used and, in this
case, there are three different fonts that are applied and they really don’t coordinate
with each other. Actually makes the design look busier and
doesn’t look very professional. What you want to do instead: One is to stick with 2 or 3 fonts maximum. If you need to do a variation, do a variation of the font. Maybe in Italic or Bold and that allows you
to Use different weights, allows you to actually achieve balance and yet variation in your design Number 4 is not choosing the right colors. Colors are a very big deal in design, be it
through the selection of colors or the combinations. In this case, if you look at the example,
somebody gave: it seems like a child used 3 or 4 different colored crayons and just basically had at it
and that’s what it looks like. And that’s the problem with non-designers and amateurs is that they have a lot of fonts, they have a lot of colors and their disposal
and they feel like they can just mix and match everything. There are actually a few basic principles
to follow in terms of colors. What you really want to do is to use colors that actually aid and improve the readability of the content and to grab the user’s eye and
don’t actually inundate you with it. And also you want to have the right amount of contrast through the colors that you use. So the example below you have 3 different
colors and also if you look at it, there’s the orange, the gray with the white, so you actually have a nice balance together. Number 5 is lack of negative space. So in terms of negative space, I want you
to think about your Let’s say your living room. You have your TV and then you have your couch, you might have a coffee table. You have this empty space. You don’t have every object filling everything. And so the same principle should be applied to your designs. And in the example above, what the individual has done is to just completely occupy that area with something. Free space, negative space is actually a great thing in design. So in the example below, what you see is free space, negative space and the concentration is on the middle. One of the great examples is Google’s home page. It’s about the search and so the component that’s there is the search bar and so you don’t have to look around for it. Number 6 is placing elements arbitrarily. Now, not aligning elements is a big deal as
well in design. So, if you look at the two examples: the one above, there’s really no purpose and direction Things are just spaced apart. In the example below, you have the content that is left justified and so there’s a certain order and a balance. That’s what you want to shoot for. Failing to create contrast. So that’s another element that you want
to concentrate on. It’s a mistake made often by non-designers. You have a light text, your foreground over
your background. And if you look at the example below, what’s happening is you have a dark text or a white background. And so you’ve actually achieved a good balance of contrast. So you want to basically use colors that are contrasting shades and levels of saturation. So in this case, if you look at it, you have
a light gray, you have a navy blue and it actually goes along with the brighter orange. Number 8 is not scaling elements properly. And in this case, one of the mistakes that I see made often by non-designers and amateurs is that they keep everything the same size. They actually don’t take advantage of the tools at their disposal to scale things. And when you scale things, you want to actually emphasize. Larger elements are the emphasis or the focal points. So if you look at the word “dramatic” and the word “effect,” primarily the word dramatic is the first thing that you see. Through scaling, you can actually achieve a certain focal point to catch your audience’s attention Number 9 is hard to read text. So this actually goes with the example that I mentioned before. Another mistake is the contrast. Again, you have text, that’s kind of blue,
the image behind it, and it’s very hard to read the text. And so that’s definitely a no-no, and one more common mistake that I see made often But if you look at the two examples and compare them, the one below, we actually have a nice contrast. We have light text, white over a darker image and so it’s very easy to actually read and focus on the text that’s been shown to you. Just a few more to go. Number 10 is inappropriate font combinations. So if you look at the example here, you have a rustic image and at the forefront, you have a font and the colors look like they should be on the box of a Barbie doll. And they don’t really correlate with the
image behind them. Now, look at this one. In the example here, the image is actually driving the usage of the font. So the fonts and the image behind it, they’re in perfect harmony. This is what you always want to shoot for. Think about when you’re selecting fonts, think about the environment and what you’re trying to achieve, The message and also the surrounding area that it’s going to be on. Number 11 is inadequate space between lines. So this one again, you have the problem with leading. The words “problem with” are stuck together and then you have the word “leading” farther down. It’s okay to have line breaks but the line breaks should have a purpose. For example, In the case you have a short paragraph and a header. So there’s a little bit of separation between them and that’s an okay thing to do. Using raster images is number 12 and again this is a common one. So images in general are bit maps. And what that means is that there’s pixelation in them. If you take images and if you scale them up, they will become pixelated such as the example here. And it’s okay to scale them down but never
scale them up. That’s a big tip I can provide to non-designers. And also you want to stick to using vector shapes and text. So one of the good things is, these days visual tools such as PowerPoint, Prezi, even our tool Visme, all the text, the shapes are actually vectorized. So you can stretch them and size them as big as you want and as small as you want and you will never lose the resolution. So you want to use them as much as possible and then when you do actually bring in images try to avoid sizing them down. Now, number 13 is striving for complete symmetry. Here’s the thing: When you’re creating content for digital and for print for someone, you don’t have to always have perfect symmetry. You’re not creating a car that needs to be aerodynamic or a plane. This is digital content and/or design. And it that’s case, you want to go after harmony. You want to create balance. If you can achieve balance without making
things symmetrical, it’s perfectly okay. Number 14 is failing to communicate effectively. So, here’s the thing: You’re creating content
for your audience, that’s the whole purpose of it. So, you want to always make sure that the content you’re creating, you don’t overdo it and also, that you get the message across. And the example here, this is actually a mistake that I believe designers and non-designers make. I’m guilty of it myself. What we do is we use too many objects and shapes, and you’re basically trying to over-emphasize things. However, what you really want to do is to minimize, use the minimal principle. In this case, you have text and you have supporting, supplementing icons. And so together, they have a nice balance. There’s white space and everything just kind of fits and is in harmony. Last but not least is not being consistent. So consistency is key. This is about contrast, use of colors and it all comes down as well to use of fonts. And the example here: You’re looking at
fonts and text. So you got good color and the use of the font. The text on the left is smeared. On the right
side, the color doesn’t achieve balance with the rest. What you instead want to do is pick a font, pick a color palette and stay consistent. and to create a sense of unity and cohesiveness in your design. So, in the example below, you can see that the colors, the orientation, the use of the fonts – everything is balanced. And so, it’s actually taking heed of a number of the mistakes that I mentioned and it’s reversing those and so you achieve
this nice, clean design below it. So those are the 15 design mistakes I want
to talk to you about. There actually is more of them. We have a nice blog post that talks about
19, so there’s 4 more that I did not cover here. I’m going to put the link below. Go ahead and take a look at it. And again, I promise you, if you put a few
of these into work (and it doesn’t matter what type of content you want to create. Perhaps it’s a presentation, it might be
a word document, maybe it’s for print or maybe it’s for web). Regardless, if you put
these principles into work, they’re very easy to follow. I promise you, the quality of your design will improve and again, at the end of the day, you want to practice. Thank you. See you guys next time.


  • Cristian Tentella

    Extremely good video, keep up the great work!

  • Md Hasem Ali


  • Merve

    Thank you.

  • AnyBody Can Draw Easily

    great content and flow

  • danullb

    i literally liked all of his x examples better than his checks. they looked better.

  • Govindaraj A

    Thankyou so much friend
    Use full one

  • Bryan Zulueta

    What font is “TOO WORDY?”

  • Mujibur R.

    1 mistake you have at 1point (only watch so far). Designer do not want many text in design. It always requirements form clients end, so designer have to do so. Mistake 2, if you talking about Graphic Design it is more important to carry proper massage for targeted consumer/user base. In Graphic Design information carry for mass people is much more important than aesthetics, so it is called Graphic Art not Fine Art. 3. Visual Artist and Graphic Designer is two different profession. Also Designer means wide range of subject. You even make mistake in your title. First try to understand difference between designers.

  • Praveen Mirajkar

    very good ..thank u

  • Braulio Almeida

    The Most Common Cheap Ass Mistakes by Designers: ukulele music in EVERY FUCKING OPENING

  • Niaz Graphic Art

    Very Helpful tutorial. Thanks.

  • leanSHELF - Tech, Startups, Business

    How did you made this type video with background?

  • Johannes Grelle

    actually i think many of the x examples are better designs than the ✓ ones. They are more interesting

  • HDKatarina

    Great tips but audio not so much.

  • mateusz branczewski

    It's great and all, but you failed miserably in illustrating antipatterns – they still look pretty great 🙂

  • Prashant Goutam


  • Михаил Качалов

    Learn the most video mistakes by designers :

    – terrible audio quality

    Continue pls

  • Mark Mercier


  • MrtevOposum

    Which font would you pick for upper image at 6.06?:)


    Thank you so much. I will try to avoid those mistakes in my design.

  • Blane Owen

    Most common mistakes by non-audio engineers, #1 Clipping.

  • Adrian Ochsner

    Not a brilliant designer himself. The samples below should be the good examples? Seriously?

  • Jesus rocks

    im proud when i see this i realise im not a beginner and my head starts to swell

  • music by erii

    Great video. All I did was nod my head because I always keep these in mind when making Powerpoint presentations and it never fails to look good and be effective. There are times that my classmates thought that I used a downloadable template when I actually arranged everything myself.

  • II. Gyula

    0:44 for example gray on white

  • Gohar Ali Gohar

    How do you make your videos.. if you could please tell us about your video making process. It will be great.

  • L3nny 666

    The biggest Design fail here is your beard

  • Richard Kemp

    You are the presentation, your slides are only there to support your presentation.

  • mr john

    You must make some boring stuff if you are sticking to all these rules…

  • Gordon York

    Its leading as in lead pencil. Not leading as in leading a parade. This dates back when they used lead to fix typography for a letterpress.

  • Benjamin Koomson

    Hey great job
    but don't get too close the green screen next time and your lightning to please.
    and i feel there's a screen below you to

  • mrebholz

    Your „ineffective color combination“ works pretty well for the German green party. Wonder why? Probably it represents their inefficiency pretty well, too: wysiwyg so to speak.

  • Teresa Barron

    I bet you never misuse the word leading again… lol

  • Ferhat

    good Tips but sometimes your examples for mistakes look better…good mistakes sometimes good in design

  • 40-Mile Desert Rat

    Concise and on-point. Thanks, I learned something.

  • Odeh Mark Lozano

    Is this real life?

  • David Sulik

    Grey or yellow text on a white background is unreadable.

  • Achilleus Coronel

    Very nice. Perhaps we can use the same elements on both good and bad examples to really show the transformative fix that was applied. Very useful. Thanks!

  • Thomas Kaarup

    someone wants to be a weatherman

  • Sarah sarah

    Made a lot of sense for this non-designer. Thanks

  • mmanimation


  • Asim Chandna

    What a waste of time.

    These are the rules for typography every designer must have follow these rules

  • Fist Finger

    I love the fact that the word "consistent" is spelt in different ways in this video.


  • Russell Allen

    Thank for the great tips! This was very informative, helpful and beautifully presented. Keep up the great work!

  • The One True Zelda Master

    It's sounds like your describing how to make a comic…
    Wait, I think an infographic is just a comic.

  • PG Tips

    Personally I think the modern web design, though it might look visually appealing the general usefulness is usually very crappy. The web is now full of sites that look good but do nothing. It's the novelty of a big full screen photo home page with nothing but a title and maybe a down arrow button. Then there is a two column alternating image on one side and meaningless text on the other, this continues boringly down to the footer which has about 50 pointless meaningless links.

    Then there are the mobile websites which are scaled down even further, yes they are responsive but it came at the cost of being useless.
    I hope trends change and websites start to both look nice and be useful at the same time. Sorry for my rant but the lack of imagination gets to me sometimes.

  • stegoheg

    This is very good information, thanks.

  • codeIMperfect

    Just wanted to tell you that your green screen is easily visible near your hands

  • prod. Volttaone

    mistakes in typography!


    TODAY AM GONNA POINT OUT THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF VIDEO CREATORS – Forgetting to say Hi and welcome viewers :/

  • Stephen Funk

    This is great. Could we get this on a website, info graphic type?

  • Noah Peter

    HELLO, How do you remove ……This is where you can add new products to your store. on Oceanwp theme

  • Shelba Thompson

    Great tips. These are the most common mistakes I am hired to fix!

  • Zeno Lahaye

    Great 101 video, i learned all these things myself. This can be great information for starters in webdesign.

  • Tim T

    Chuckling at the text for "Failing to create contrast". That's pretty meta.

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  • RivieraMan

    Very straight to the point, with supporting graphics and no waffle. Outstanding! Thank you.

  • Al Mo

    it looks like most of courses like this one are down-oriented 🙂 well, which is natural as 99% of population is incapable to recognize abstract things at all; so the market is conquered with…

  • Gopal Gorsia

    Sir which font have you use for your entire presentation?? it's very modern and nice fonts, please share with us

  • John G

    Number 16 mistake – calling a typeface a font!

  • John G

    Also, the linespace between the text is pronounced 'ledding", not "leeding" because it originated with printing presses where they put pieces of lead between the characters.

  • ventende

    Tight leading or line-height is OK if it fills a purpose in a concept. It's not just rules but ways to break'em. Gotta know when and where to apply the different methods.

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  • mani p.mani

    Very nice and valuable tips


    thank you so much

  • Robert B

    I wish clients let me be a designer and not be a pixel pusher.



  • Ayman Hazeem


  • Nicola Monti

    Most of those mistakes are wanted by an asshole client!

  • Paranolverizer

    You are using one image and saying that the background and the color of the font and its style doesn't go well and then using a completely different image and the font that goes with it. Should have instead used the same background image and then changed the font and color or whatever and showed us how the right changes make all the difference. A good set of tips ruined by not showing us improvements on the original bad example.

  • Atta' Ullah

    5:57 I would rather go with the first photo. Font combination in that upper image was more attractive and gave a vintage like look.

  • Евгений s

    Thank you! I found this advice very helpful!!!


    Getting tips from experienced freelancers is also super key to knowing what mistakes to avoid and how they find good jobs. There's a good collection of stories from freelancers on this page: https://www.guavabean.com/guavablog/

  • Yudi Herdiana

    Thanks .. Bravo

  • Jake Soden

    Also you will have to take into account details like where the business is setting up with price when you do the pricing as a result a business has a year and a half to achieve the goal or they go busted this is how I get results the location what the business wants at a decent price also never make a logo below the quality you stated to them. And also send them emails at the start of the design the mid way point for changes and the finalising stage just to make sure they are happy with it and if no more changes to the design then finish and go to the business never send by postal unless your a international designer then yes definitely send all ways send it by 1st class recorded and send them a copy of the tracking information. If anyone has any other information to add to this use the comments section below.

  • Steve Foster

    I'm surprised to hear a design professional mispronouncing leading.

  • Syed Muhammad Sameer

    As a layman I loved the fonts on the rustic image. They were quite eye catching and I can see them being used to show progress from old to new methods.

  • Ben Matsumura

    Yup! Came here to write about his mic! I see someone already wrote it. Stopped watching

  • Younes Chamaine

    hey i have best site for elearning you can start now study to design your web site

    the link : https://stude.co/635837

  • Raed Marji

    – Too wordy
    – 50-60 chars per line
    – stick to 2-3 fonts max
    – Not choosing the right colors
    – Lack of Negative space
    – Place elements arbitrarily
    – Failure to create contrast
    – Not scaling properly
    – Inappropriate font combinations
    – inadequate space between lines
    – Using raster images
    – trying to achieve perfect symmetry
    – Failing to communicate effectively
    – Not being consistent

  • Slim Yelow

    I'll tell you the 10 Most Common Audio mistakes made by this guy.

  • Mostofa Kamal Jewel


  • Corbbin Goldsmith

    A fitness trainer walks into a bar and start talking about design into a can.

    Some people listen.

  • Manish Mishra

    The negative space…ironically, most of the time not clients but the seniors who ruin this aspect in any perfectly used design by commenting "design looks too empty, fill something to make it busy". and when that done, they come up with another point "design looks too cramped let us rethink".

  • Future London Academy

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  • Shamsuddin A.K.M


  • Sobeida Lagrange


  • Artist ARTIST

    I was watching It with pleasure. Clear and simple. Thanks!

  • El Paco Machin

    Thid inspired me to make a video of most common audio mistakes

  • Harvey Yates

    I found it quite useful. Thank you. However, there were some things about the presentation that irritated.

    You call typefaces fonts. This is wrong. It is also confusing. Examples of typefaces are Univers, Baskerville Old Face, Placard, Gill Sans, Arial, Times New Roman. The two main ways of discriminating typefaces is serif and sans serif.

    Fonts are different alphabets within a typeface. For instance, Bold, Italic, Bold Italic, Condensed, Small Caps. These are all the same typeface, but have different characteristics, such as weight.

    It's simple enough.

  • MS TK

    Direct and to the point!

  • Zeetronn _

    Thanos 'impossible' intensifies
    actually amazing tips

  • Bharath Kumar

    🙆🙋Sir any vector graphic if we zoom it will not pixelate inside software but if we export vector graphic as a file .jpeg,PNG, GIF, TIFF no out put shows vector that vector graphic shows pixel so in what format I should export to see vector graphic … without pixalation

  • Danyel Tacker

    LOL – at my job, we actually call it FONTIFICATION because we do have people who try to emphasize 5 words within 15 pages with crazy fonts and colors

  • NDK0

    When a vid from 2017 doesn't age well xD

  • david petersen

    That was good!! Thanks. 🙂

  • Kishor Kumar

    0:13 what is the font name?

  • amitabhjayaswal

    How do vector and raster images / pictures differ?
    What should be my ideal rationale when choosing any one of the two for a particular purpose?

    Please illuminate, or guide to a worthwhile tutorial.

    Thanks in advance!
    Regards and smiles


    It's very important to know all of us.thanks a lot .

  • dileep kumar

    Nice and thanks……..


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