6 Design Mistakes That Are Killing Your Ads

BY Benjamin

May 4, 2023

Struggling to grab your audience’s attention and make an impact? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Don’t go looking for hidden answers, sometimes you’re breaking the rules you already know!

Surprisingly, a lot of people get overwhelmed along the way without realizing that the basics are all they need to check. Whether you’re creating a print ad, a social media post, or anything in between, avoiding these design mistakes will get you back on track and get results.

#1 – Wait… You DON’T Use Contrast?!

Without contrast, color is in serious trouble! Are you among those who make the common mistake of neglecting contrast in their designs? Perhaps you’re not aware of its importance or simply don’t know how to use it effectively. In the world of design, contrast is often overlooked, yet it plays a critical role in creating visually compelling and effective designs. Without it, your designs may appear flat, uninteresting, or difficult to read.

Contrast can be achieved through a variety of design elements, including color, typography, shape, and texture. It helps to create hierarchy, highlight important information, and guide the viewer’s eye through the design. By playing with these elements, you can make designs more engaging and easier to comprehend, all while adding a touch of visual flair that’s sure to grab your attention. 

#2 – You Lost Zen In Your Design: Balance!

When it comes to design, finding the right balance is key. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about balance in your designs! When you’re too focused on creating something bold or unique, you could lose sight of balance.

It’s all about strategically arranging your visual elements – whether it’s through colors, shapes, or other design elements – to create a harmonious and visually pleasing composition. Think of it like a tightrope walker – they’re constantly making small adjustments to keep their balance and stay steady. 

In design, balance is what ensures that your visual elements don’t overpower each other or leave your design feeling lopsided. It’s about finding that sweet spot where everything feels just right.

#3 – Your Colors Are Wrestling

 It’s easy to get carried away with too many colors, resulting in a design that looks chaotic, confusing, and just plain awful. Don’t make the mistake of overwhelming your designs with too many colors.

When you go down the overwhelming route, you don’t create something eye-catching or unique anymore — you create a mess instead!

Color is one of the most powerful tools in a designer’s arsenal, and it’s not just about making things look pretty – it’s about bringing your whole project together.

But it’s not just about the practical applications of color – it’s also about creating visual interest. The right use of color can take a design from bland to breathtaking, and add a sense of excitement and energy that draws people in. Hey, it’s not just about pretty palettes – it’s tying everything together!

#4 – There’s Too Much Going On!

Sometimes in design, less is more. Some marketers feel pressure to fill every inch of the design, and end up with design overload. That’s where negative space comes in! It’s the blank canvas that surrounds your main design elements, giving your eyes a much-needed break and creating a sense of balance and harmony.

Let’s face it – clutter is so last season. By incorporating negative space into your design, you can create a sleek and modern look that’s sure to impress, it’s a real secret ingredient!

#5 – Forgot the 30-70?

Here’s the deal: only 30% of your image should contain text, while the rest of the 70% should be filled with stunning visuals or empty space. People tend to forget about this rule and end up with a design that looks cluttered, unbalanced, and just plain messy. 

Don’t try to cram too much information into the main element or neglect the importance of supporting elements altogether. If you want to amp your design to the next level, the 30-70 rule is your secret weapon. 

And let’s be real – in today’s fast-paced world, people don’t have time to read through endless blocks of text.But don’t get us wrong – words still play an important role in design. It’s all about finding the right balance between the two – too much text can overwhelm the viewer, while too few visuals can leave the design feeling bland and uninspiring.


#6 – Hierarchy

In the world of design, hierarchy is king. It’s the secret weapon that can take a good design and turn it into a great one. Yet, it’s often overlooked by designers who underestimate the impact it can have on the final product.

If you forget about hierarchy, you end up with designs that lack clarity, impact, and purpose. You may be focusing too much on individual design elements or neglecting the importance of guiding the viewer’s attention.

How do you do it? It’s all about using different sizes, colors, and placement to create a visual roadmap. By making key elements larger, brighter, or more prominent, you can draw attention to them and make sure they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

creating game logo

Bottom Line

The key to making a real impact with your audience lies in one simple trick – focus on the basics of design and avoid those pesky common mistakes that are dragging you down.

Don’t let yourself get bogged down by the overwhelming task of capturing your audience’s attention. Sometimes, the answer is staring you right in the face! By sticking to the tried and true basics of design, you can effectively communicate your message and get the results you’re after.

But of course, not everyone has time (or talent!) for that, which is why creative agencies are a thing now. Check out how we can elevate your digital design!


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CATEGORY: Graphic Design


Captain of ships and commander to a crew of designers. Benjamin Williams is a creative director with over 20 years of experience working with the world’s largest brands.