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Check if You Make These Cardinal Web and Graphic Design Mistakes

03 July 2024

Published: July 2nd 2024

Reading time: 10 mins

Webdesign Thinking

Good design is really something for effective communication and user experience. However, even experienced designers can fall into common traps that undermine their work. 

Avoiding these mistakes can make the difference between a good design and a great one. 

Let’s explore some of the most frequent design errors and how to steer clear of them.

Main Design Mistakes: Checklist

1. Overcrowded Layouts

An overcrowded layout happens when too many elements are crammed into a single space. This creates confusion and makes it hard for users to focus. It often results from trying to include everything at once without prioritizing. Avoid this mistake by using white space effectively and ensuring each element has a purpose. Keep the design clean and uncluttered to enhance readability and user engagement. Remember, less is often more in design. Clear, simple layouts are more appealing and easier to navigate. 

Take a look at Liquid Web’s Cloud VPS hosting page. This page incorporates section separation with ample whitespace, a visual hierarchy with bullet points to emphasize key information, and content emphasis with space around call-to-action buttons to prevent overcrowding.

A well-organized layout not only looks professional but also improves user interaction and overall experience.

2. Poor Typography Choices

Typography plays a key role in design. Poor font choices can make text hard to read and detract from the overall look. Using too many different fonts or ones that clash can confuse viewers. Stick to two or three complementary fonts to maintain consistency. Choose fonts that match the tone of the message. Ensure readability by considering font size, spacing, and color contrast. Good typography enhances the user experience and makes content more engaging. Always test typography on different devices to ensure it is legible and appealing across all platforms, avoiding any potential readability issues.

3. Ignoring User Experience

Focusing solely on aesthetics without considering user experience is a major mistake. A design might look good but can be frustrating to navigate. This often happens when designers neglect usability testing. Ensure designs are intuitive and user-friendly by conducting tests and surveys with real users. Pay attention to feedback and make necessary adjustments. Prioritize functionality over appearance to create a design that not only looks good but also works well. Usability should always be at the forefront, as a beautiful design that is hard to use will ultimately fail to meet the needs of its audience. High-quality UX design services understand that user experience is just as important, if not more so, than visual aesthetics.

4. Lack of Consistency

Inconsistent design elements create a disjointed and unprofessional appearance. This can happen when different styles, colors, or fonts are used without a clear system. Maintain consistency by establishing and following a design guide. Use the same color schemes, fonts, and element styles across all materials. Consistency builds brand identity and makes the user experience seamless and cohesive. A consistent design helps users navigate and understand the content more easily. Ensuring that every design piece adheres to a unified style creates a stronger, more memorable brand presence.

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5. Ignoring Mobile Optimization

With increasing mobile device usage, ignoring mobile optimization is a critical error. A design that looks great on a desktop might not translate well to smaller screens. This mistake often occurs when designers don't test their work on various devices. Ensure designs are responsive and adaptable to different screen sizes. Use flexible grids and scalable images. Mobile-friendly designs improve accessibility and user satisfaction. Always consider the mobile user’s experience from the start of the design process, ensuring that every element functions smoothly and looks good on all screen sizes.

6. Overuse of Stock Photos

Stock photos can be a quick solution but relying too much on them can make a design look generic. Overused or cliché images reduce originality and impact. Avoid this mistake by selecting unique, high-quality photos that align with the brand’s message. Consider using custom images or illustrations. You could also consider using a video every now and then to keep things interesting. If you’re unsure of what the video should consist of, try an AI video description generator - such tools create detailed, SEO-friendly descriptions with just the titles and keywords input from users! 

Authentic visuals enhance the design’s appeal and better connect with the audience. Personalized images make the design more relatable and engaging. Invest time in finding or creating visuals that truly represent the brand’s identity, avoiding the pitfalls of overused and uninspired stock photography.

“At CS-Cart, we aim for authenticity, but we also see the value of stock photos, especially when speed is essential. For quick landing pages meant for testing or generating leads, using stock photos helps us move fast. They allow us to set up and test new ideas quickly, ensuring we can respond rapidly to market demands without waiting for custom visuals.” - Aleksandr Gerasimovich, CS-Cart Chief Designer

7. Neglecting Accessibility

Designs that don't consider accessibility can exclude users with disabilities. This often happens due to a lack of awareness or testing. Ensure designs are accessible by following guidelines like WCAG. Use high-contrast colors, readable fonts, and descriptive alt texts for images. Make sure interactive elements are navigable via keyboard. Inclusive design benefits everyone and expands your audience reach. Regularly test designs with accessibility tools to identify and fix potential issues. Prioritizing accessibility not only complies with standards but also demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and user-friendliness.

8. Misaligned Elements

Misaligned elements create a chaotic and unprofessional look. This mistake can happen when elements are placed haphazardly without following a grid. Ensure alignment by using a grid system to organize content. Align text, images, and other elements to create a clean and orderly design. Proper alignment improves visual flow and makes the design more aesthetically pleasing. Consistent alignment across all design elements ensures a cohesive and polished appearance. Regularly check and adjust alignment throughout the design process to maintain a professional and well-organized layout.

9. Poor Color Choices

Color can make or break a design. Poor choices can lead to a visually jarring experience. This mistake often occurs when colors clash or lack harmony. Choose a color palette that reflects the brand’s identity and evokes the right emotions. Use color theory principles to create a balanced and cohesive look. Ensure sufficient contrast between text and background for readability. Test colors on different devices to ensure consistency. A well-chosen color palette enhances the design’s visual appeal and effectively communicates the intended message, creating a stronger connection with the audience.

10. Overcomplicating the Design

Overcomplicated designs can overwhelm users and obscure the main message. This happens when too many elements, effects, or details are added unnecessarily. Simplify by focusing on the essentials. Remove any elements that don't serve a purpose. Use clean lines, ample white space, and straightforward layouts. Simplicity enhances clarity and effectiveness. A simple, well-organized design is more inviting and easier to navigate. Regularly review the design to identify and eliminate unnecessary complexities, ensuring the final product is both visually appealing and user-friendly.

11. Ignoring Brand Guidelines

Ignoring established brand guidelines can lead to an inconsistent and confusing message. This mistake often happens when designers don't adhere to color schemes, fonts, or logos defined by the brand. Stick to the brand’s style guide to ensure all design elements align with the brand’s identity. Consistent branding strengthens recognition and trust. Regularly refer to the brand guidelines throughout the design process. Ensure all team members are familiar with these guidelines to maintain a cohesive and unified brand presence across all materials.

12. Bad Use of Negative Space

Negative space, or white space, is crucial for creating balance and focus. Poor use of negative space can make a design feel cluttered or sparse. This mistake happens when there is either too much or too little space around elements. Use negative space strategically to highlight key areas and improve readability. Balanced negative space makes designs more appealing and effective. Regularly evaluate the use of negative space to ensure it enhances rather than detracts from the overall design. Properly utilized negative space guides the viewer’s attention and creates a more pleasant visual experience.

13. Inadequate Visual Hierarchy

A clear visual hierarchy guides users through the content logically. Inadequate hierarchy can confuse users and dilute the message. This often happens when important elements don't stand out. Establish a hierarchy by varying sizes, colors, and positions. Highlight key information and create a natural flow. A strong visual hierarchy ensures users easily understand and engage with the content. Regularly test the design’s hierarchy with real users to confirm its effectiveness. Adjust elements as needed to maintain a clear and intuitive flow of information, enhancing the overall user experience.

14. Failing to Get Feedback

Designing in isolation without seeking feedback can lead to blind spots and missed opportunities. This mistake occurs when designers don't involve others in the review process. Regularly seek feedback from colleagues, clients, and users. Use their insights to refine and improve the design. Constructive feedback helps identify issues and enhances the final product. Create a feedback loop that encourages regular input and review. Be open to criticism and willing to make changes based on feedback. This collaborative approach leads to a more polished and effective design, ensuring it meets the needs of the target audience.

Key Takeaways

  • Overcrowded layouts confuse users and reduce engagement; use white space effectively.

  • Poor typography choices can hinder readability; stick to two or three complementary fonts.

  • Ignoring user experience leads to frustration; prioritize usability testing and feedback.

  • Lack of consistency in design elements creates a disjointed look; follow a design guide.

  • Ignoring mobile optimization affects accessibility; ensure designs are responsive.

  • Overuse of stock photos makes designs look generic; use unique, high-quality visuals.

  • Neglecting accessibility excludes users; follow WCAG guidelines for inclusive design.

  • Misaligned elements result in a chaotic appearance; use a grid system for alignment.

  • Poor color choices disrupt visual harmony; select a balanced and cohesive color palette.

  • Failing to get feedback limits improvement; seek regular input from colleagues and users.


Avoiding these common design mistakes can significantly enhance the effectiveness and professionalism of your work. By focusing on user experience, consistency, and accessibility, you can create designs that are not only visually appealing but also highly functional. Now it’s your turn to implement these insights and elevate your design projects. Good luck!


  • What is the importance of white space in design?White space prevents overcrowding and enhances readability by providing balance and focus.

  • How many fonts should I use in a design?Stick to two or three complementary fonts to maintain consistency and readability.

  • Why is user experience important in design?A good user experience ensures that designs are intuitive, functional, and meet users' needs.

  • What is a design guide?A design guide is a document that outlines the rules for fonts, colors, and styles to ensure consistency.

  • Why is mobile optimization crucial?Mobile optimization ensures that designs are accessible and functional on all device sizes, improving user satisfaction.

  • How can I make my designs more accessible?Follow WCAG guidelines, use high-contrast colors, readable fonts, and ensure keyboard navigation.

  • What is the impact of using too many stock photos?Overuse of stock photos can make designs look generic and uninspired, reducing originality.

  • How does a grid system help in design?A grid system ensures proper alignment and organization, creating a clean and professional appearance.

  • Why is color choice important in design?Good color choices enhance visual harmony and effectively communicate the brand's message.

  • How can feedback improve my design?Feedback provides valuable insights that help identify issues and refine the design for better results.


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