5 Design Don'ts

A couple weeks ago I talked about some important elements of design. It’s just as important to be aware of some things NOT to do as well. Obviously, people have different opinions about what you should and shouldn’t do design-wise (and some things change depending on the situation), but here are five things you shouldn’t do in design.




Center body text: Centered body text is difficult to read. Centering short amounts of text (like a callout or quote) may work in some situations but a paragraph should almost never be centered.

Forget to proofread: This is a biggie. Many designers aren’t talented when it comes to grammar and spelling. In fact, I’ve met designers who don’t think it’s their job to do this, but it’s always a good idea.

Running a spellcheck is not difficult. Assuming that someone else will catch the error isn’t safe, even in a corporate setting.

Use poor typography: Make sure your text is legible and choose your fonts carefully. Avoid using Comic Sans and Papyrus at ALL COSTS.


Take images without permission: Taking images from the Internet is not ok. That is someone’s property and they could take legal action if they find out you are using their image without permission/compensation. Even if they don’t, it’s just rude. Additionally, images from the Internet are low resolution and wouldn’t look good in print anyways.

Ask for permission, look on stock photo sites, or hire a photographer to get the photos you need. Custom may cost more but it’s worth it.


Choose color carelessly: Color psychology is important to consider in any kind of design. What colors you choose help determine the mood of what you’re designing and can support your brand.

Also, be careful about how you use color and text. White text on a yellow background is difficult to read, as is red text on a black background. Make sure you choose the colors + fonts + font weight properly so whatever you’re designing can be easily read.

Learning what to do and what not to do takes practice. Everyone has their own opinion about what looks good and what doesn’t in design. What is your biggest design pet peeve?