What was your greatest graphic design mistake? Nearly every graphic designer has made a mistake at some point – a typo, perhaps, or forgetting to delete a template layer before printing. To err is human, after all. I’d like to know what your greatest graphic design mistake was.
First, I’ll share mine. It was with a small local paper I co-owned, and we were putting together our very first issue. We had a head start, and we weren’t sure which date we would be publishing so I placed four question marks in the corners of the pages. As time went by and the paper filled, I became so accustomed to seeing those question marks that I didn’t register them - even when it was time to proof for print. Thus, you can imagine my horror when we picked up the papers from the printers two days later - all 24 pages on all 10,000 issues with question marks where the dates should have been!
Shocked and embarrassed, I worked with the printing company for a discount on the order and got a comp rush applied to a reprint - this time with the correct dates. Fortunately, my mistake only cost us a few hundred dollars, but it could have been much worse.
Making mistakes is part of the process, whatever the process is: graphic design, business, life. It’s not so terrible that you make mistakes, but that you learn from them. Never again will I forget the dates; in fact, never again will I use filler text that doesn’t at least make sense if not removed. Trust me.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Push the creativity envelope. If you want to make a name for yourself, fear of mistakes shouldn’t set you back. And when you make them - and you will make them - learn from them. Take time to analyze what went wrong, and how you could have better prepared to avoid it. This is how you grow as a designer, as a person.
Now, it’s your turn. What was your greatest graphic design mistake? Did you design a logo that looked like the wrong end of a pig? Did you send a direct-mail piece that offered a $100 item for free? Did you print a poster with the wrong directions?
Share your mistakes in the comments, and let’s all have a good laugh - not at you, but with you, because we’ve all made similar mistakes. And, indeed, it is possible to learn from others’ mistakes.
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