Creativity has been defined as “the ability to make new things or think of new ideas”. However, from experience, we must know that making new things is always an error-strewn, mistake-riddled process most of the time!
It is basically allowing your thoughts to venture and being ready to accept the consequences of your actions whether positive or negative.

Creativity is trying something new always.

It thus is paramount to be well-informed about design if you’re a blogger, a designer, a developer or a business owner. Visual mistakes have the potential to make you appear unprofessional, unattractive and untrustworthy to your audience.

Today I rounded up 15 of my top design mistakes that everyone should be aware of.
Although I’ve committed most of these crimes myself, I have learned from them and hopefully they can help you too…

Top 15 design mistakes to avoid

Mistake #1: Wrong Typography

There are lots of places to download fonts, both free and otherwise but be aware of the potential pitfalls in terms of legalities and usage rights, especially when using a ‘free’ font, which may leave you having to restart your work with a new font. If you’re doing professional work,  paying for professional fonts isn’t such a bad idea.

Oh, and Comic Sans is never ever a good idea. Trust me!

Mistake #2: Too many typefaces

Using too many typefaces in a logo, website, etc. can make a design appear cluttered, non-cohesive, confusing and unprofessional. Play it safe and try to stick to two different fonts (three, maximum) and use the different font weights to differentiate and highlight areas.

Mistake #3: Lack of hierarchy

Hierarchy determines which items you see first in an image. You should pay attention to hierarchy and use it to your advantage by varying the size and weights of their fonts (titles and headers should always be more prominent than body text), using color wisely (pops of color draw attention to text and images that should stand out), and paying attention to shapes (which give a design movement and lead your eyes around the design).

The use of several wildly different fonts, colors, and shapes have the potential to mess with hierarchy, resulting in an image that is visually displeasing and complicated.

Mistake #4: No Contrast

Contrast also helps with hierarchy. A lack of contrast can alter legibility and make an image appear washed out and undefined. A mix of both light and dark colors creates balance.

Mistake #5: Dizzy color pairings

When objects with similar color values are placed near one another, it can sometimes have a dizzying, vibrating effect. Use contrast and be cautious of color pairings, especially when you are layering colors on top of each other.

Mistake #6: Lack of negative space

The negative space around an object is often just as important as the object itself; it provides a cushion and a place for your eye to rest. Avoid cramming objects and text into a design and be aware of the entire composition, not just the main components.

Mistake #7: Centered paragraph text

Large amounts of text should never be center aligned. It alters legibility, making text harder and more frustrating to read.

Mistake #8: Failing to align objects

Haphazardly placing objects on a page without rhyme or reason is never a good idea; it has the potential to make a design seem random and unintentional. Use a grid system and align objects to create order.

Mistake #9: Using too many stock images

Try to avoid always using stock images as a central focus for your work because if you think it’s a good photograph then it’s more than likely others will too. It would be a shame if you produced a beautiful design only to find someone is using the same image in another design, making yours seem less original.

Mistake #10: Not saving files correctly

Print work is generally set up as CMYK and at 300dpi, whereas work for the web should be RGB (resolution will depend on your client’s needs regarding mobile, Retina etc). Remember to consider bleed, trim and safety areas. Before sending to print, think about your file formats, outlining fonts and colour profiles.

Mistake #11: Failing to proof-read

Using the spellchecker is great for finding misspelled words within your work but it won’t catch correctly spelt words in the wrong context. For example, one of the most common mistakes is to confuse “your” and “you’re”, but spellcheck won’t be able to help you with that. This is just one reason why you must always proof read every piece of your work over and over again.

Mistake #12: Not considering context

Whether you’re designing an icon, a logo or any other design element, you always need to make sure it’s transferrable across a range of different mediums. Thus, you have to make sure that the colours, size and overall design will work on printed materials such as posters and T-shirts, as well as across various tech mediums such as PCs, mobile devices and more.

Mistake #13: Not understanding what the client wants

Get as much detail about what the clients wants and needs, as early on as possible
Without a clear idea of what the client wants you can end up making matters complicated for yourself. A lot of time can be wasted procrastinating, or working up design ideas that may not be relevant to the client’s needs.

Mistake #14: Following design trends

Choosing to design based on current trends is likely to leave your design looking dated and out-of-touch as soon as the trend dies out, not to mention making you look slightly amateur. Rather than choose the popular flavour of the month, think about what’s more likely to have longevity for your design.

Mistake #15: Copying other people’s designs

Originality is key as a designer, and plagiarism will not go unnoticed. Gathering influences and inspiration is fine but straight copying other people’s work is not.

Be original!

How do top students study?

Answer by Rob McQueen:

I've been at MIT for the past four years in course 6 (Computer Science), and I'm currently studying for my last final exam (!!!). Here are some things that work for me:

  • Teach it first: To understand new systems / concepts, stand up in front of a chalkboard and act as if you're teaching it to a class. When you get to a point you don't know how to explain, talk it out. Literally, stand up and talk to yourself; it works.
  • Diagram / Symbol: Once you understand something, create a visual diagram / symbol. Draw it on a piece of paper. Close your eyes and think about it in your head. Once you have the diagram / symbol, it will be very easy to remember how it works later on.
  • Believe everything is easy and simple: You might not understand certain systems at first look, but if you approach it with a simple mind, you will do better. You won't think too much about the details and you will better understand the high-level picture.
  • Sleep on it: Read a paper before you go to sleep and think about it as you doze off. When you wake up, it will be at least 50% easier to understand.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep: It makes it incredibly easier to understand new systems when you are thinking clearly. If you're studying and things just aren't making sense, take a nap for 20 minutes. It may be just enough to get the lightbulb in your head to flicker.
  • Discuss it with friends: Discussions help you gain new perspectives on how others think of systems. It might introduce variables you never thought about.

How do top students study?