The Newbie Design Mistakes You Have to Stay Away From

December 14th, 2011 Posted in Inspiration, project management, Various


Did you ever think through how seemingly “small” mistakes and moments of bad judgement can ruin your reputation and steal clients away from you? Especially if you’re new as a freelancer/designer, there are many things you need to think through. Today we have put together a list of some of the things we think you should be especially aware of. We hope this can be a helpful tool for you.

Image by ZsuZsanna Kilian


Good luck!

Don’t take on too many projects at once

If you want to make sure every client get the focus and quality they deserve, make sure you’re not doing too much at the same time. This will only get you in trouble and you will lose in the long run.


Not being available

Make sure your clients can reach you most of the time. If you spend a day in a meeting, make sure to activate your voicemail and leave an away message on your email. If something really important comes up, clients aren’t always as patient as you’d like them to be.


Not listening

Make sure to follow as many of your clients wishes as you can. And never forget to repeat and assure that you haven’t misunderstood anything. If you’re not listening, you’ll get unhappy clients that wont come back. After all your clients are the ones paying your bills!


Pricing problems

Image by Flavio Takemoto

There are many potential problems related to the pricing of your products/services. You have to decide with your client if you will charge by the hour or if you’re giving a set price in advance. All professionals do this as a natural part of the early stages of work. If you’re not spending enough time on this you could again get unhappy clients that wont pay the bills.


No contract

On all bigger projects you will need a contract/signed agreement. This should include what is included, what will cost extra, the agreed price, expected finishing date, how the product(s) will be delivered, when bills are to be paid and what that will happen if any of the parts break their part of the deal. Without a contract there are tons of problems that could arise.


Being insecure

Now for some more “personal” mistakes. Being insecure is something that quickly can be a deal-breaker. To avoid this you’ll need to read up on your client and the project (if possible). Make sure that you know what you can do and that you are confident with your own skills and products. If necessary, use your CV and portfolio to lean on.


Being too confident

Finding the right balance is important. Make sure you’re never too confident. You have a job to do, you’re not the only expert in the field. By being friendly, humble and professional will bring you more projects than just bragging about your own skills at all times.


Copying other designers

Make sure you see the difference between being inspired by a trend and being a copycat. Sometimes it’s a fine line, and once you cross it you will not be seen as professional or unique.


Using default settings at all times

Make sure you know your software properly. If you want to be seen as a professional and unique designer, you can’t keep using standard brushes, layer styles and clip art in your work. Many new designers do this for a while before they realize how destructive it can be for their reputation.


Not saving properly

A typical newbie mistake is often related to saving. All software can crash every now and then, and the power could go out for an hour. Make sure you have routines for saving properly when you’re working. And remember that saving properly means to also save different layers, fonts and other resources used in that specific project. This can save you many hours and a lot of money if done correctly.



Image by Svilen Milev


You have to have a good backup plan. What if the office gets robbed, there’s a fire or your computer just crashes? Make sure you always have your work backed up outside of the office as well as having a backup on site.



These were some of our most valuable tips for avoiding some of the most common design mistakes. We hope these can help you out, and we would also love to hear your own tips and experiences in the comments.

Thank you and good luck!



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