10 Typography mistakes that make your graphic design look unprofessional

When designing graphics for social media, your text is essential to your design’s overall look. This can make or break the design. Make sure to avoid these 10 typography mistakes that make your graphic design look unprofessional.

If you want to reach more audiences with your social media posts, your text should be readable, professional, and should do its job — to communicate to your audience. 

I have listed down 10 Typography Mistakes newbie designers make and what you should do instead. 

Typography Mistake #1: Too Many Fonts

You can use tons of fonts for your design, but it doesn’t mean that you have to use them all. Using too many fonts all at once will make your design look unprofessional and amateur. 

Typography Mistake #1: Too Many Fonts

Instead: 

Stick to 2-3 fonts max. Assign a different font for the header and another one for the body. Make sure that script fonts (aka cursive) fonts are used minimally in your design. You can use cursive fonts for a quote or special text, but never use it in your design body. 

Typography Mistake #2: Bad Kerning

Kerning refers to space in between two letters to achieve visually pleasing typography. Your audience may not know what kerning is, but they can tell if something is off with the design. 

Typography Mistake #2: Bad Kerning

Instead:

Do not let your software or program kern the pairs for you. Adjust it manually if needed. You can use kerning to adjust cursive fonts but never use loose kerning on cursive fonts as the letters are particularly made to be connected to one another.

Typography Mistake #3: Wrong Scaling

I hate lousy scaling. This is when you try to stretch an image or a text. It expands on the wrong proportions, and the design will look bad. There’s a joke that says, every time you stretch a font, a designer cries.

Typography Mistake #3: Wrong Scaling

Instead: 

Change the font size if you want it bigger. If you’re going to stretch it because it’s easier for you, use the Shift Key while stretching. Using the shift key will make sure that your text or image will not skew on the wrong proportions. 

Typography Mistake #4: No Contrast

The primary purpose of your graphic design is to communicate to your audience or your client’s audience. If your design has a bad contrast, you will lose the purpose of visual communication. Another thing that would make your design not readable is if you use tiny fonts.

Typography Mistake #4: No Contrast

Instead: 

Keep a high contrast between the text and background. Do not make a high contrast background or shapes overlap your text. Consider the devices your audience use. If you have more audiences who use mobile phones, it is best to make the body text slightly larger.

Typography Mistake #5: Mismatched Fonts

Part of good typography is making sure that the fonts harmonize. Matching fonts is an art. Do not just put fonts there because you like the font or for aesthetic reasons. Remember, your purpose to deliver your message to your audience.

Typography Mistake #5: Mismatched Fonts

Instead:

Practice pairing fonts. You can also try using Duo Fonts because these fonts are made to look good together.

Beautiful Google Fonts that go together are: 

When using Canva, one of the best font pairs are: 

  • Playfair Display & Montserrat
  • Arima Madurai & Aileron Thin
  • Chloe & Source Sans Pro
  • Oswald & Quicksand

Typography Mistake #6: Using All Caps on a Script Font

Cursive fonts are cursive for a reason. They’re supposed to connect to one another, just like when you are writing in cursive form. I bet you don’t write your name on all caps cursive, do you? 

Typography Mistake #6: Using All Caps on a Script Font

Instead: 

You can use uppercase for the first letters, particularly for nouns, but use lowercase for the rest. They connect with each other, and it creates harmony in your design. Using all lowercase isn’t so bad either. But remember what I mentioned in number 2? Do not use spaces in between cursive fonts.  

Just don’t use all caps on Script Fonts, okay? It’s a crime. Lol!

Typography Mistake #7: Not Following Type Hierarchy

Type Hierarchy is organizing your text in order of importance. It helps the eyes of your audience. This is where you divide your text by heading, subheading, and body, fllowing visual hierarchy.

Typography Mistake #7: Not Following Type Hierarchy

Instead:

Use different font sizes for your text to visualize the hierarchy. This will make it easier for your readers to understand the content’s importance.

Typography Mistake #8: Filling up the Negative Space

Negative space helps your audience focus on the subject or text. A mistake most common with newbies is filling up the entire document or artboard with whatever comes to mind. 

Typography Mistake #8: Filling up the Negative Space

Instead:

Give your readers eye a chance to rest and allow those eyes to focus on whatever you want to inform them. 

Typography Mistake #9: Using Common Fonts

There are fonts that designers don’t really use at all. Using them constitutes a crime against good graphics. Some examples of fonts that you should never use in your designs are: 

  • Arial
  • Courier new
  • Bradley Hand ITC
  • Comic Sans MS
  • Jokerman
  • Papyrus
  • Times New Roman 
  • Viner Hand
  • Courier NEw
  • Kristen ITC
Typography Mistake #9: Using Common Fonts

Instead: 

Avoid using overused fonts to make sure your design is unique. Also, when you pick a font, make sure that it fits the context. Should it be handwritten, cute, feminine, professional, or bold? 

Typography Mistake #10: Using Styles All at Once

Another typography mistake beginner designers make is using all type faces at once. Even when you want to emphasize some texts on your design. While you have the freedom to use font styles, you don’t have to use them all. Even when you want to emphasize some parts of your text. It’s annoying to the eyes and confusing to the audience. 

Typography Mistake #10: Using Styles All at Once

Instead:

You can add one extra font style in a paragraph, and that’s it. You also have to control yourself. Only use them when necessary.

When you start learning graphic design by yourself, make sure to avoid these 10 typography mistakes. Trust me, these can make your design look professional and clients will trust you more.


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