“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, “Make it look good!” That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
– Steve Jobs
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During your career as a creative professional you will definitely encounter projects that are impossible to finish, but you will be forced to find a way. You will also encounter projects that may seem a stroll in the park, but they end up being the devil itself.
Working hard, focusing on your task could lead to stress, and stress leads you to confusion, and failure. We are here to give you a heads up on what not to do in the business. These are the 6 most common mistakes graphic designers make during their career.
1. You accepted when you should have refused
We have all faced this issues. It was a big job, paid incredibly well, and the hours didn’t seem to be bothersome, but in the end, it was the devil itself, and we should have stayed away from it. You should learn to say no, diplomatically, of course, so you don’t close doors – perhaps in the future you will have some work from those unclosed doors.
2. You didn’t sign a contract
This is the first rule – always sign a contract with your client. You don’t know how he will backstab you. I remember my first unsigned contract. I’ve worked almost 10 hours a day, for about 3 weeks, for a website. I finished it, and I sent all the work to my client with a simple question at the end of the e-mail “ And now, when will you be able to send the money?”.
You already guessed the outcome – he never replied. I was so furious, I swore to track him down and beat him to the pulp, but alas, am weak and frail. I just feel more comfortable holding a grudge on Gregory for the rest of my life.
3. Learn to accept criticism
Remember that your clients don’t have the same taste in design as you do. They will probably adore what you’ve done for them, but, on the other hand, they will probably hate your design and ask you to redo it. What’s the best way to react to this? Well, first off, you should be at your utmost diplomatic state.
Ask them nicely what seems to be the problem, and tell them to meet you halfway. Don’t compromise on creating a horrible design just because your client think it’s better, explain to them that based on your experience, his/hers users base will not like it so much.
4. Don’t take too many projects at the same time
You know what sucks? Having a ton of work to do, having deadlines creeping up on you, and realizing that you are not even remotely near the end. I also did this in my junior years. I took so many projects, I thought that I was going to live like a king for the rest of the year, but fate somehow destroyed all my dreams.
No, I’m trying to find excuses now, it wasn’t fate, it was me all along. I destroyed all those projects because I took so many of them. I should’ve stuck with 2 or 3, and then take on more.
5. Don’t use only stock images
I know they are free for personal and commercial use, I know they are so easy to get, but you need to use images that are appropriate for your project, which fit the context. You can’t just put a picture of a monkey riding an elephant just because you think it’s funny. That’s design 101. “Getty Images, Corbis, and Sipa Press are the three largest traditional stock photography agencies in terms of revenue.
All three companies offer photographs, with the majority having been shot by professional photographers. There are many alternative photo agencies that specialize in particular fields of stock photography. Stock photography is also available through microstock photography services, through which photographs sell more cheaply but in greater volume.”
“Getty Images, Corbis, and Sipa Press are the three largest traditional stock photography agencies in terms of revenue. All three companies offer photographs, with the majority having been shot by professional photographers. There are many alternative photo agencies that specialize in certain fields of stock photography. Stock photography is also available through microstock photography services, through which photographs sell more cheaply but in greater volume.”
6. Not having a backup
I can’t stress this enough. Back everything up daily, no, not daily, every 5 hours or so. You can’t be sure when your PC will give you a blue screen, or self-destruct. It happened to me. Not the self destruct part, but the BSOD ( blue screen of death). In my young days, there was no such thing as cloud storage, and I was backing up my HDD on DVDS, once every month or so. Ow, the pain that I had to endure, ow the sadness that kept me at night trying to get start over from scratch.
Go and set yourself up for a cloud storage service – Google Drive, Dropbox to name just a few; “Cloud storage is a model of data storage where the digital data is stored in logical pools, the physical storage spans multiple servers (and often locations), and the physical environment is typically owned and managed by a hosting company. These cloud storage providers are responsible for keeping the data available and accessible, and the physical environment protected and running.
People and organizations buy or lease storage capacity from the providers to store end user, organization, or application data. Cloud storage services may be accessed through a co-located cloud compute service, a web service application programming interface (API) or by applications that utilize the API, such as cloud desktop storage, a cloud storage gateway or Web-based content management systems.”
This was our short list of 6 most common mistakes graphic designers make. Hope you learned something from my experience, and you won’t repeat my mistakes. If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so by posting in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!