After my post listing
, I had a lot of interaction from you guys (thanks!). Because of that response, I thought I would share a few common design mistakes, and how you can easily avoid them.
01. No Hierarchy
One of the most common mistakes I see in blog design is a lack of hierarchy. I like to have one main title (under 10 words), and sometimes throw in a descriptor. If your post graphic has more than just the title, try to avoid using similar typefaces, colors, or font size. Vary it up a bit! This makes it easy for the reader to quickly understand what your blog post is about, without stressing out trying to interpret your message.
Create a style guide utilizing one header font, and a subhead font.
02. Distorting Text
This is a BIG no-no in design! Distorting text is similar to Word Art, where you can stretch the type and warp it to how you see fit. If you are just breaking into design, you might be having fun with the endless Photoshop + Illustrator effects. If you aren’t a seasoned designer, I would advise you to keep it simple starting out and avoid distorting text.
Try creating a dynamic design through use of color, photography or illustrations instead!
03. Lack of White Space
White space is the breathing room for your text + layout, or the negative space. It takes the form of margins, space between design elements, or other unmarked space. A lack of white space in your design leads to clutter and confusion. Our eyes need a break from visuals, and white space actually allows your design to stand out more, than if there were minimal white space. This takes a bit of practice finding the right balance.
Leave a bit of space from the edges!
04. Lack of Alignment
Harmony in design most often occurs when we follow some form of a grid. If you pay attention to magazine layouts, web designs, or any other publication you will begin to pick up on a common grid. Our eyes like objects aligned together. Do you find yourself away from the computer, annoyed that tiles aren’t lined up correctly on the floor, or another unaligned object? That is definitely me. I recommend making your blog post graphic the same width as your body copy in your blog. This rule of course can be broken, but if you are just starting out I recommend sticking with a grid.
Make sure all of your blog posts are the same width, aligned with your text.
Clutter is one of the most common design mistakes. Editing + refining your designs is a continuous process, and takes a bit of time to get the hang of. The phrase “less is more” definitely applies to blog design. If you pin your blog images to Pinterest (which… most likely you do), then you want to follow this rule. Clutter leads to confusion for your readers. You want people to easily digest at a quick glance what your blog post is about. Simplify your design to attract readers!
Minimize your color palette, fonts, and graphic elements. Reduce the clutter to its simplest form.
06. Too Many Photoshop Effects
Drop shadows, warped text, overkill photoshop filters, and gradients. These tools have their place when used appropriately, but I would avoid them if you can.
Just say no! Steer clear of these design no-no’s.
You knew I would throw this one in there, didn’t you? I always stand by consistency in your design — whether through your business, branding or blog. A big mistake that I have noticed is when bloggers constantly change their blog post design. I totally understand wanting to utilize your creativity, however you aren’t doing your blog any favors by switching it up. A consistent blog design allows your readers to easily recognize your post when it pops up in their feed. Greet your readers with a familiar face, not a constantly changing image.
Once again, set up a style guide for your blog! You have some creative freedom within your guide, but make sure to stick to the same fonts, colors and look + feel.
08. Unoriginal Design
okay. I have seen many people copy other blogger’s designs, as well as my own, and it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. When I see other bloggers with a similar post graphic design as another blogger I follow, I notice and simultaneously lose respect for that blogger. Have fun with designing your blog graphics, and don’t steal someone else’s hard-work. Not only is that unethical, it most likely doesn’t fit with your blog.
Be unique! Create your own design for your blog, and avoid copying.
09. Clashing Colors
When some colors are displayed close to each other, they can vibrate. The vibrate color clash makes your graphic difficult to read + look at, and can cause readers to divert their attention.
Avoid two vibrant colors in close proximity to each other. Stick with a more friendly and inviting color palette.
10. Lack of Contrast
Along with the clashing colors, a lack of contrast in your design can lead to illegibility. Contrast is when the design elements differ greatly from one another — black and white being the prime example. Low-contrast can be a great design solution for subtle background images or elements, however for your main headline or text it leads to a lack of readability.
Use enough contrast in your headline + subhead text.
What about you? What are a few of the common design mistakes you have endured, or seen floating around other blogs? Please share!
PS: I am so excited for tomorrow's first ever Lunch+Learn! If you are interested in learning how to illustrate icons for your blog, you can join me tomorrow, Thursday, May 7th, at noon CST for a free
webinar! Simply sign up for the newsletter below to receive a reminder tonight + register for the event.