Do you feel frustrated when you’re trying to create a graphic for your social media posts and the end result is letting you down?

From setting up the design to adding the finishes touches, there are design demons that can kill a potentially great design in its tracks.

Let’s explore some of the common mistakes that will kill your design.


Overdesigning

Overdesigning can cause confusion. Ultimately, it leads to people not taking action.

Why? Overdesigning makes your audience’s brain work too hard to gather the information. As a result, they will just skip over the information, obtaining nothing.

Creating something stylish and unique is important but that should not be prioritized over the usability of the design. You are not creating a design to show off your design skills, rather to help your audience interact with your content.

Remember to keep it simple. Adding too many decorations, effects, or filters can cause distraction from the key message you are trying to communicate. I’m not saying you can’t have decorative items in your designs, but they should be added with intention; for example, they add meaning to your message.

Lack of clear purpose

Often business owners try to say too much. The problem is it is overwhelming for the person who encounters it. So, don’t try to say everything at once.

Instead, have a clear purpose of what you (and your audience) want to get out of the piece and ensure that remains the focus of the messaging and design. Focus on one key message and direct everything to that. It should be reflected in everything from the headline, body text, and call to action to the content of the images.

Otherwise, you risk confusion and inaction.

Too much clutter

Trying to include too many elements in your design is another common mistake. Cramming too much text, images, and other elements into a small space doesn’t look good and isn’t effective.

Instead, select the most important images and elements you want to include. You might need to summarise the text into key points rather than writing in long paragraphs.

Designing for the wrong medium

Not designing for a specific format is a recipe for failure. The medium you choose to print or publish your design impacts a lot on the way in which you go about creating your design. Will it be published in a magazine, a social media graphic, or on a website? This is important to know as it affects how much space you have, the format it will be printed in, and the colour codes you need.

For example, if you know it’s going to be printed onto a small size, think about whether the elements are going to fit neatly on the page and will not be too small when scaled down to size.

Furthermore, depending on whether you need to print your design or use it digitally, you need to use the appropriate colour mode.

Inconsistency

Ensure there is consistency across the single piece of design. This means using the same visual elements throughout your design.

Choose a certain aesthetic for your design and follow it. Identify the core elements that identify your brand and stick to them, including your brand colours, fonts, and image style.

If you’re not confident whether your brand colours reflect your personality, take my free quiz – you’ll discover the colours that best represent your brand’s unique personality, which colours to use and which to avoid.

What does consistency look like? Let’s consider some examples. Cadbury always uses the same purple alongside their iconic logo. Coca Cola always include their iconic red alongside images of people enjoying themselves. This reflects their core brand message of sharing happiness and refreshment.


In conclusion, it’s all too easy to fall into these design traps. But remember why you are creating this design in the first place. Whether it’s to attract customers, engage your audience, or something else, it’s directed at someone. So always keep that person (or people) in mind when creating it. How can you make it easier, quicker, or more enjoyable to engage with?

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