My Pet Peeves With Bad Graphic Designers

In a previous post I’d talked about My Pet Peeves With Bad Web Designers, this time I wanted to do the same for Graphic Designers. Through working in the industry there are a few things that drive me up the wall that are often very simple to fix or change but some designers just don’t do it!  Here are my top 4:

1) I designed the file so I own the file and you don’t. Similar to the number one point on my post about Bad Web Designers, it really blows me away how many designers will not give out the files they create to their clients.  We all hope our clients come back to us for changes, when they need more brochures or business cards, but sometimes people want a different designer.  It may have nothing to do with the designer, maybe they’ve just built a better relationship with a new designer or who knows, maybe one moved in next door and you’re doing trade.  Regardless, I feel if I design something for a client, be that a business card or a very time intensive illustration, they’ve paid for the design, they own the design, period.

2) Using really cool and unique fonts and then not saving the file in such a way that others can open it. I can’t tell you how many times I get files from clients or contact from graphic designers that they want to use and when I open the file I can’t use it because it’s asking for a font that I’ve never even heard of before. This one is REALLY simple to rectify (and one of the first things I learned when designing!) when you send your computer art to someone else you ALWAYS, even if you’ve just used Arial as the font, save the font as “outlines”. What this does is it makes the font a bunch of shapes instead of letters in a particular font.  Not only does this mean that anyone can open it regardless of what fonts they don’t have but it can also help save your content from being copy and pasted without your permission as people will not be able to highlight and “borrow” the text for anything.

3) Designing logos, illustrations and other images as a pixel image instead of vector. I’ve touched on this in a couple posts in the past, most recently Importance of Vector Version of Logos and Graphics. One thing that happens to me all the time when I’m working with a client’s logo that I did not design is I get it in a png or jpg format instead of a vector based format like an eps or an Adobe Illustrator file.  The big problems with this are that I cannot increase the size of the image (no banners for you!), I can’t recolour the image if I needed to (even simply making something black instead of coloured) and I more likely than not can’t use the logo on top of any other image because it usually means it has a solid colour background. This is another common side effect of point #1, designers not wanting to give out their files, but it’s INCREDIBLY frustrating! There have been so many times I’ve had to convert a logo to a vector image wasting time and costing my clients money – I don’t mind doing it of course, I often like the challenge, but I think designers should get it right the first time!

4) Making logos, images or illustrations and not noting what fonts were used. This is one of the downsides of following my advice in point #2, but it doesn’t have to be! There has also been a few times where I’ve worked with another designer who has been good about converting their text to outlines but then they neglect to record somewhere what fonts they’ve used. So if I’m working on something last minute and realized there’s a big typo I’m hooped.  There are some great tools out there that have saved me a few times, like the “What the Font” website that looks at an image containing text and does it’s best to tell you the font that was used, but they don’t always work. When designing a logo for example it’s good practice on the vector version of the file to have colour boxes with the colours used, I also will label them with the cmyk colour mix I’ve used or the “Pantone” colour code, as well as stating the font that was used.  Not only does doing this allow someone to make adjustments to the text but it can also be a great way to integrate a logo with content by using the same font so they look nice together.

I could go on with even more pet peeves, but those are the top ones. Again I just stress when you’re hiring a designer, for web or graphic, do your homework. Talk to them about what sort of work they do, insist on samples/examples of previous work and you can even go as far as to talk to some of their previous clients to ask them how their experience was. Your graphic designer will be working with the face of your company so you’d better have a great relationship!

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This entry was posted by Anna Kouwenberg on Thursday, September 20th, 2012 at 3:59 pm and is filed under Branding. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.