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Seven Sins of Graphic Design

This is not a call out post - we're not here to critique people's personal aesthetic choices (if comic sans is your favorite font well... you do you, friend) but there are certain all-too-easy-to-commit errors that many (even experienced designers) make. Here are a few to look out for when you start your next project.

1. Not Proofreading
Built-in grammar and spelling checkers are not enough. Read and re-read anything being sent to print, especially if printing multitudes. Ask a friend or colleague to go over it as well. If it's a long or especially important document, consider hiring an outside source.

2. Using low-quality images
For best results, images intended for printing should have a resolution of 300dpi. A lower quality image might look fine on a screen but look blurry or pixelated when printed.

3. Poor file naming
Give your files clear, concise names with dates. As an example, "" is easier to locate and use than just ""

4. Ignoring kerning
By default, most typefaces have a default amount of space between letters - unfortunately, this can result in certain letters appearing quite far from the letter next to it. Selectively adjusting the space between letters (called "kerning") can take a good design and make it great.

5. Using the wrong color mode
CMYK is the color mode for printing, RGB is for web/digital design - pick the right color mode for your final product.

6. Hyphenated text
When typing a document, your design program may default to splitting words using a hyphen if a word doesn't fit on a line. For most documents (excluding perhaps books), this is an unnecessary break you can resolve by putting a "soft return" (press the Shift key simultaneously with the Enter key) just before the hyphenated word.

7. Not including bleed
If your print goes to the edge of the page, include at least a .125" bleed around the file so it can be printed on a larger size paper and cut to size to ensure the color reaches the edge.


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