15 Mistakes Designers Make
July 25, 2008 4:23 AM   Subscribe

15 awful mistakes made by designers in the music and apparel industries - such as not charging enough, ignoring typography, and unprofessional behaviour.
posted by divabat (24 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, sorry, parts 2 and 3 aren't out yet. They're being edited, but should come soon.
posted by divabat at 4:26 AM on July 25, 2008

I'm no designer but if:

Bad-mouthing clients in public forums

isn't on your "not-do" list, then you've no business being in any business. Is this something designers do a lot?
posted by pompomtom at 4:39 AM on July 25, 2008

I'm glad to see that we'll soon be seeing trendy clothing priced at more reasonable, which is to say higher, prices.
posted by DU at 4:47 AM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I am a firm believer that the designer doesn’t NEED to be the color separator as well.

This is where they lost me. Well, that and the hairy trendwhore circles graphic at the top.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:54 AM on July 25, 2008

5 common mistakes that designers without sufficient experiences make in many industries.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 5:34 AM on July 25, 2008

Not to mention the countless fonts, colors, indentations, and boxes in the article. And they're reminding us not to ignore typography? Isn't typography, like, the most important skill for a designer to master?
posted by scose at 5:36 AM on July 25, 2008

Mistake 16: Light gray 8 point text on a white background is fucking illegible.

Seriously, when the hell will people in the web design field figure out that contrast is important? At least this site has the main text in black, I've seen blogs where only the comments were black - rendering the main text practically invisible.

and for the love of all that is holy MAKE THE LOGO FONT BIGGER.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:09 AM on July 25, 2008

"Poor grammar, Caps Lock, and internet slang turns me off."

Shouldn't that be "turn" him off? Egad.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:11 AM on July 25, 2008

The biggest mistake designers make is electing to enter an already saturated field. The fact that there are too many designers is further exacerbated by the availability of modern software that makes anyone with a computer think they're a decent graphic artist and therefore reluctant to hire a truly competent person. I used to be a graphic designer for a mutual fund company and later freelance. In the former, I was always nervous because I knew I was utterly disposable. In the latter, I was always nervous because I was competing with hundreds of other people just as desperate for clients as I was. Then I diversified my skills and got out of straight design, and my quality of life has never been better.

If you're a designer and truly satisfied, that's awesome because the opportunity or satisfaction is huge. But the industry's evolved to the point that for most people, the satisfaction will fade when they're wide awake at two in the morning wondering if they'll be laid off or how in the hell they can get more clients.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:18 AM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

"Don't use gifs to display styled text."
posted by ryanrs at 6:43 AM on July 25, 2008

re: "Don't use gifs to display styled text."

Why not? (Honestly.)
posted by bz at 7:51 AM on July 25, 2008

Experienced designers are upset when they’re trying to earn a living doing what they love while “kids in their mom’s basement” are doing it for free and taking their clients.

This is called paying your fucking dues and anyone in either the music, apparel, film, tv, radio or publishing industry who hasn't done a ton of work for free probably got in via nepotism. This isn't banking, you have to prove yourself before anyone will pay you and the way you do that is by being willing to live in your mom's basement and get paid with free tickets to the bands' shows while you make a name for yourself. Sheesh.
posted by spicynuts at 8:46 AM on July 25, 2008

Why not?

1. Crap font rendering. The client OS can do tricks that Photoshop can't—like subpixel anti-aliasing.

2. Breaks text scaling. Not a big deal if it's just headings, although the page proportions get jacked up.

3. Breaks find and copy. I'm not going to quote your article if you make me retype the passage. Not quote, no link.

I find the crap anti-aliasing really stands out. It's distracting and ugly. I would think designers would be picky about that sort of thing.
posted by ryanrs at 9:34 AM on July 25, 2008

Well, for someone with designing aspirations, the linked-to article was a good checklist. The multiple authors provide a good balance.

But for the same aspiring someone, the Metafilter comments are sort of discouraging and persnickety.
posted by redsparkler at 11:43 AM on July 25, 2008

I mean, persnickety is good, from a design standpoint of course, but the persniketude outweighs the positive information from the article.
posted by redsparkler at 11:49 AM on July 25, 2008

Actually, it's "pernickety." No s.
posted by Eideteker at 12:52 PM on July 25, 2008

I am a firm believer that the designer doesn’t NEED to be the color separator as well.

Why the hell not? I used to run a screen printing shop and I never understood why these designers were incapable of putting each color on it's own layer in Photoshop. It's not exactly rocket science. These were always the same people who got all huffy when some of their tiny, unprintable detail got lost because their crappy flattened JPEG didn't have enough information in it to make the transition to a screen successfully.

One time I got a file for a shirt that was immaculately color seperated. The designer had put in registration marks, labeled each layer, put in Pantone #'s, and even trapped and choked everything for me (translation: he left room for the colors to overlap so that registration could be off a little on press and the design still worked). Basically he was one of the few graphic designers existing in the world who actually knew how screen printing worked.

This happened so infrequently (never) that I hand wrote him a thank you note and then passed on his info to other clients who were looking for a designer. I don't know why designers think they are one of the few professional artists who can just be completely oblivious about their mediums.
posted by bradbane at 1:01 PM on July 25, 2008 [4 favorites]

Rule 1: Fuck you and your precious, expensive drawings. Also:

"...a t-shirt design that takes them 12 hours to complete." I have never seen a tee shirt with a design that had 12 hours of work in it.

Rule 2: Draw your typography, stupid.

Rule etc.: Common business sense.

Silly designers.
posted by cmoj at 2:09 PM on July 25, 2008

I don't know why designers think they are one of the few professional artists who can just be completely oblivious about their mediums.

(hysterical designer voice) It looks fine on my computer, WHY CAN'T YOU JUST DO THAT?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:51 PM on July 25, 2008

Don't bad-mouth current clients.

Former clients who have dicked me out of time & money will be bad-mouthed at every available opportunity.
posted by squalor at 3:18 PM on July 25, 2008

That makes you look bad, squalor.
posted by ryanrs at 10:32 PM on July 25, 2008

cmoj- Really? You've NEVER seen a shirt design that looked like it took twelve hours? What about this? Or this? Or this?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:01 AM on July 27, 2008

The first took an hour. Less if he starts on a wacom tablet. The second is a simple sketch which look tablet-y. It might've taken even less time. The third has a formula for this kind of graphic. It took somewhat longer, but not 12 hours.

I haven't done many shirts, but a finished comic book page doesn't take that long from blank page to printable file, and the original is larger than a tee-shirt. So I'm speaking about how long it would've taken me.

Do designers not use intuition in any way? Are those marks individually planned, vectored, transformed, copied, and pasted to achieve an effect that can be gotten with a sharpie?
posted by cmoj at 10:09 AM on July 27, 2008

Part 2 is up.
posted by divabat at 11:05 PM on August 2, 2008

« Older fotoopa and his Amazing Flying Insects   |   Different, that's how. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments