Common Design Mistakes Business People Make

Understanding the role of design can help you avoid some of the most common design mistakes business people make. Design is more than just making something look pretty. The aim of design is to communicate a message clearly and succinctly.

With the tools available in today’s workplace, anyone can be a designer. However, just as handing someone a camera does not mean they will take great photos, having design tools at hand doesn’t necessarily equate to good design. Design mistakes are a dime a dozen. Here are some of the most common ones we see.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

Lack of white space

It’s called white space although it doesn’t have to be white. It’s the empty or negative space on the page. Design flaw number one is to fill the page causing visual overload and turning the viewer off. Using white space helps draw the eye to what you want people to see. Do not be afraid of using white space. Sometimes less is more. In fact, most times less is more.

Branding guidelines

Going off script when it comes to company branding is another mistake we often encounter. Consistency helps build a strong brand by providing recognition and reputation. When you don’t follow the company branding guidelines you are effectively diluting your brand.


So many to choose from, so little space! A big mistake is using many different fonts. Keep it simple and choose just one. Two if you really want to push the boat out. If using two, use one for headings and the other for body text. Back to the preceding point, check your company’s branding guidelines and use the font(s) listed.

Another common problem with font is size. You need to know which is the best size to use when and where. This will differ across the various platforms and applications.


Common mistakes include too much text chunked together and centering text rather than aligning it left or right. Keep text easy to read by breaking it up with sub headings, paragraphs and bullet points. Centred text can work well in a heading but it’s hard to read when used for paragraphs.


Choosing colours is right up there with choosing fonts when it comes to design errors. Appalling colour clashes, unreadable flashing neon and too many colours are just some of the many blunders made.

To keep your work uncluttered and easy to comprehend, apply colour judiciously. Choose a minimum of colours and work with your company branding.

Also, pay attention to contrast. You want people to be able to read your message easily and dark on light works best, particularly if you are designing for Accessibility.

Visual priority

Giving priority to less important elements is another frequent gaffe. A heading is larger than body text because it has priority. It’s where you want to draw attention first. Think about the elements you want the viewer to focus on and make them stand out on your page.

Have you ever fallen into any of these traps? After reading this, we’re sure you’ll never make these common design mistakes again.

If you’d like some help with design, get in touch with the team at Ideaseed. We are a full-service design agency and we can make you look amazing across all applications and platforms.