3 Common DIY Graphic Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Use the Grid and Alignment.

Something I see a lot of people do when they have no design training or basic knowledge, it simply placing all the elements on the page based on eye alone. They are simply guessing and putting things where they think they look good. They play around with the layout all by eye and don’t use anything to guide the placement of elements.

Back when I was in high school, I remember working on the documentation for a project I was working on and wanting it to look nice, I tried to emulate the layouts I saw in magazines. I didn’t understand why they worked or how the designer came up with the layout. All I knew was that it looked good and made the content look organised and easy to read and follow.

So when I first learnt about the grid, I was a little mind blown. It was one of those ‘oh it all makes sense now’ kind of moments.

The idea of the grid is that before even starting to lay images and text on a page, you first lay out your grid. And then everything needs to align with that.

Now it doesn’t need to be a full-on grid, like the maths paper. But rather columns and rows. How many lines you put in your grid, will depend on how much content you are trying to organise and how you want to ‘cut up’ the information into chunks. The basic structure should be columns (with gutters for spacing) and your baseline (for text and horizontal alignment).

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