The One Big Design Mistake made by Non-Designers (and how one can repair it)

Let’s get actual and speak concerning the single greatest design mistake made by non-designers. It’s not what you suppose and many people fall into the lure of doing it. And I’ve three simple methods to repair it. In this put up I share the design mistake made by non-designers and how one can keep away from it.


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I’ve been instructing non-designers how one can do DIY-Design for years now and as a Non-Designer myself, I’m the primary to say that I don’t know every part. That’s why I’m a non-designer, not a designer.

But as a non-designer and a coach, I do know how one can break issues down in order that non-designers can get higher at design. Here’s the issue, although. What we’ve been instructing ourselves about how one can do design as a non-designer might be incorrect.

There’s a easy elementary drawback with how we’re studying and though there’s so much that’s proper.. there’s additionally so much that may go incorrect if we miss this drawback.

Can you Guess what the Single Biggest Design Mistake make by Non-Designers is?

Is it that we don’t pair our fonts like an Agency Creative?


Is it that we don’t know how one can edit our pictures professionally in Photoshop?

Heck no.

Is it that we don’t know how one can use Kerning?

Hell no.

Is our X-height incorrect?

Feck no.

All of this stuff are NOT the issue or design mistake. But they need to provide you with a touch as to what the BIG drawback is. It’s this:

We’re making an attempt to be designers.

And we’re not designers.

You’ll see posts with titles like Why Marketer Need to know these 67 Design Terms or 43 Essential Graphic Design Terms for Non-Designers …. the record goes on. Articles about why non-designers want to know design phrases, how one can design and design tips.

It could make you are feeling a bit like this:

There needs to be a better manner! (Statue by Elena Dejour, Shutterstock)

Do we actually have to know how one can handle hierarchy, x-height, kerning, shade concept, and font pairings?

I don’t suppose so. Knowing all of those designer phrases is overkill. Sure, it may possibly’t damage to know a bit of about why white house is an effective factor or to have a primary understanding of the rule of thirds. But an excessive amount of could be a waste of time. It’s the job of designers to know how one can design.

Our job is to learn to leverage instruments in a brand new approach to be the perfect non-designers we might be. And there are such a lot of nice instruments on the market to assist us.

Now that we’ve established that we aren’t designers (No Shizz Sherlock, I hear you saying) and our design mistake is making an attempt too arduous to be designers, what can we do about it? I’ve four methods to create nice visuals utilizing design instruments, with out understanding 100s of design phrases.

Avoid Making a Design Mistake by Using these Rules:

These four “rules” will enable you to to make use of DIY Design instruments in a greater manner. You would possibly even really feel a way of aid, since you’ll spend much less time making an attempt to be a designer and extra time creating visuals, rapidly and simply.

Here are the four issues you might want to keep in mind. Then preserve studying and I’ll present you the way it works in motion, as we step by way of them with visible examples.

1. Leverage DIY Design Templates

Whatever instrument you’re utilizing – whether or not it’s Canva, Easil, Adobe Spark, Over or any of the superb DIY Design instruments – there are normally templates supplied.

These templates are created by designers who know what they’re doing. They’re designed for you to have the ability to simply edit and customise the design. Here’s what you must do:

Leverage the Templates vs Designing from scratch.

This will prevent time and permit you to deal with what you might want to deal with. Here’s an instance of a design template in Easil, one among my favourite DIY Design instruments:

Happy Hour Template - base template for DIY Design Demo. We’ll use this poster template in Easil to display how one can be an superior non-designer.

Now that we’ve got a design template, let’s check out how one can edit it, whereas we additionally keep away from making the large design mistake.

2. Stick to the Design Elements

There’s a purpose why designers design the templates. It’s so that you simply don’t must. If you begin shifting across the core parts, deleting or including too many options, you run the chance of ruining the construction of the unique design.

In brief, don’t mess with the templates until you actually know what you’re doing. Even shorter, don’t *&%# with the templates.

Here’s how we’ve fully remodeled the poster above with simply two simple modifications – taking it from Happy Hour to Hoppy Hour:

Hoppy Hour Design - base template for DIY Design Demo. Happy Hour turns into Hoppy Hour with simply two fast modifications.

All we modified was one letter within the heading and the switched out the background picture with one click on.

As you possibly can see, this didn’t mess with the core design parts such because the border, major font dimension, place of headings, place or size of textual content, or shapes. This brings me to the following tip…

three. Only change 1 or 2 issues.

You can fully remodel a design by altering only one or two parts. We did this within the instance above. See how totally different they’re, contrasted in GIF format:

Hoppy Hour to Garden Show - how to edit a DIY Design template. The One Big Design Mistake made by Non-Designers (and how to fix it) Small modifications can remodel your design.

By altering simply 1 or two issues, our design remodeled into a totally totally different poster. Here are just a few suggestions for altering only one or two parts;

Change the textual content OR the picture OR the background OR the font OR the colours. But don’t change them unexpectedly. Just select 1 or 2 of this stuff to modify up. Start with only one change, then add one other one. Usually two modifications will likely be sufficient, maybe three at a push. If you begin altering three or extra parts, do it step by step. And remember that you’re coming into into “designer territory” once you do that. You would possibly begin messing it up. It’s finest to stay with 1 or 2 issues should you can.Avoid “moving elements” – this could be a design mistake should you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead, change a component with the same aspect. In the instance above, I switched a background picture with some element + some white house, and changed it with one other picture containing element + parts of white house.

Here’s one other instance of the identical poster edited once more:

Garden Show Poster - Non-designer tutorial

This time I made the next modifications:

switched the background picture with one other picture that incorporates some element + some white house. modified out the textual content and headings, holding the identical fonts. this time, I used Easil’s Color Palette Tool to tug in some pink shades from the background picture. I used these colours for the heading and textual content.

four. Switch out Same for Same

Did you discover that I modified another sneaky factor above? I made a 4th sneaky change, nevertheless it suits with this subsequent piece of recommendation – Switch the Same for Same. Can you see what the small change was?

Hoppy Hour/Garden Show Design GIF - The One Big Design Mistake made by Non-Designers (and how to fix it) Changing the wheat to a flower – identical for identical.

I modified the icon on the high of the poster – switching it from a wheat icon to a flower icon. It’s higher suited to the brand new poster. But discover how I didn’t change the place or dimension of it? I switched it out to a different related icon – identical for identical.

It’s an ideal rule of thumb to make use of. If you need to change one thing out, attempt to make it identical for identical. Changing a font? Replace a daring font with a daring font and a handwriting font with a handwriting font. And so on…

Again, don’t mess with the templates. Instead, change them up, in easy methods.

If you begin taking part in with borders, and new fonts, and colours and shifting textual content and including totally different sorts of background pictures, you’ll find yourself with an entire design mess, like this:

Example of poor design using a DIY Design template This is a canine’s breakfast. I’ve seen my canine eat breakfast, and it’s not fairly.

Avoiding altering #AllTheIssues without delay like I did with the picture above. It’s an enormous (and customary) design mistake for non-designers to do that. And it hardly ever ends effectively.

To wrap it up, let’s simply say that with just a few easy guidelines you possibly can change into a non-designer ninja – somebody who is aware of how one can leverage DIY Design templates and make them look superior.

That’s how one can then take a easy Happy Hour Poster Template and remodel it like this:

Design transformation GIF - Happy Hour to garden Show. The One Big Design Mistake made by Non-Designers (and how to fix it) From Happy Hour to Garden Show – no design expertise vital.

Shhh. If you look carefully you’ll see a 4th instance within the GIF above. I made a decision to dwell dangerously and alter the phrase “Garden” to a handwriting font. It’s one other instance of how one can change issues up. But tread fastidiously once you do that, and take it one change at a time.

Ready to keep away from the Big Design Mistake?

Now you will have all you want to have the ability to design like a savvy non-designer and keep away from the large design mistake that wastes your time and power. Instead, use the templates you will have out there to you and make simply 1 or 2 modifications to create a customized, professionally designed picture.

And keep in mind, don’t mess with the templates, belief the designer and observe the information on this put up to create skilled designs with none design expertise.

Over to You

Have you (like me) been responsible of constructing the large design mistake and spending an excessive amount of time making an attempt to be a designer?

Will the following pointers enable you to to leverage templates extra? Let me know within the feedback under.

The One Big Design Mistake made by Non-Designers (and how to fix it) Statue by Elena Dejour, Shutterstock
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Donna is the founding father of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a “Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019”. She helps manufacturers leverage the facility of visible storytelling and content material technique of their enterprise. Donna’s content material has been featured in publications similar to Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and he or she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visible content material for the advertising and marketing and tourism industries internationally.