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Terrible Design Habits to Break in 2016

Peter M April 10, 2024 · 5 min read

It’s almost 2016, hard to believe isn’t it? With a new year fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to take stock of the way you do things. No matter what stage you’re at, it’s always wise to note any bad design habits you might’ve picked up along the way. If you want next year to be the year of your big breakthrough, here’s a list of common design habits you should probably stay away from.

1. Using the same old resources.

Every designer has their go-to list of assets that they revisit every time a new brief rolls along. Each project, they’ll trawl through the ol’ list of font favorites or bookmarked image sites almost out of habit. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s easy to stagnate. Sometimes, it helps to start with a completely blank canvas. Sure, Helvetica’s a good-looking, versatile typeface. But there are thousands of newer, more unique choices out there too. And each day, hundreds of designers churn out fresh, beautiful photos, graphics and themes. Why not make use of them?

2. Falling for habit.

Just because something’s been around for a while, that doesn’t mean it’s great. Every chance you get, it’s not a bad idea to revisit your tried and true methods to see if there’s a better way of doing them. Learn new keyboard shortcuts, download new apps, and update your workflow.

3. Not backing up your work.

If you’re not pressing Command + S after every significant edit, you’re doing it wrong. Get into a habit of regularly saving your work as you go. And not only that, back up all your files (including admin stuff like your finances) in a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive whenever necessary. You’ll thank us when things go haywire.

4. Not updating your site.

Think about the last time you looked for a plumber or a dentist online. You might not have even noticed it, but you probably avoided the results that looked shabby or out of date. So if you’re a designer, why should it be any different for your own online presence? Use the start of the year to check in to your digital branding and see if it’s up to scratch. And don’t be anti-social, either. Make sure every segment of your online activity (Twitter, Facebook, Vine, etc) is as fresh and timely as it should be.

5. Ignoring the business side of things.

If you’re sticking your head in the sand when it comes to your design business’s finance, you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice. With the advent of quick, easy online tools for invoicing and accounting, there’s no excuse not to be on top of your game.

6. Avoiding self-promotion.

There’s no need to be shy anymore. In 2016, you should feel free to talk yourself up and sell your ideas and wares to clients and the world. If calling it self-promotion feels too sleazy, just think of it as offering help. There are plenty of clients out there that could benefit from your skills. Wouldn’t it be unfair if they missed out on your awesomeness?

7. Getting stale.

Design is a fast-moving industry. Every day there are millions of new projects, clients, conferences and challenges out there waiting for you. It’s easy to stick with what feels comfortable and not get out of your zone. But keeping abreast of what’s hot and what’s not is a must if you want to evolve. Subscribe to blogs, network on LinkedIn, browse the latest trade magazines, collaborate with other designers, and just get out there. No man (or woman) is an island. Like that plant on your desk, good design dies if left in the dark.

8. Going for good enough.

When you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, it’s tempting to turn in projects you’re 95% happy with. Resist the urge. The best work (or happy accidents as they’re sometimes called) often happens in that last 5% of tinkering time. Earn a reputation as someone who goes the extra-mile, design wise. Craft your type. Sweat the details. And go for way more than good enough, it’s worth it.

There you have it, our list of 8 habits it’ll be worth your while to break the back of in 2016 and beyond. Best of luck! As always Creative Market is at your side offering the resources you need, when you need them. Let us know in the comments about any bad design habits you’d like to break, or good ones you’re trying to learn.

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About the Author
Peter M
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