Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Everything You Need to Know

Creating the perfect ad campaign for your business can be tough, which is why it’s so important to have a great graphic designer in your corner. Of course, we know that sometimes working with a designer can be hard, too! Maybe you don’t quite know what you’re looking for in a design, or you have ideas, but you and your designer are not speaking the same language.

Don’t worry! We can help. Last month we gave a detailed breakdown of the top 10 things that every designer hates—and how to avoid misunderstandings and stress when building your perfect ad, logo, or website!

If you haven’t had the chance to read the full series, don’t worry! We’ve gathered up the whole list right here. Now is a perfect time to get up-to-date on the things your designer hates—plus how to avoid common snafus, and keep your design process running smoothly!

10) Too Much Text

No!                Yes! Images courtesy of (left)  and (right)
                          No!                                                                                       Yes!
Images courtesy of (left) and (right)

Ads with too much text can be stressful to read, hard to design, and not very pretty. Keep it clean and simple, and your designer will be happy—plus, your eye-catching ad will attract new customers who can see how savvy you are!

9) “Borrowed” Images 

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

While it is sometimes ok to borrow an image from another website if proper credit is given (as above), many images are copyrighted, and there are complicated rules for when it can be used and when it can’t. Instead of copying something you like online, work with your designer to create something unique for your business.

8) Read the Rate Card

This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers’ Guide, a publication we design for Quilts, Inc.
This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers’ Guide, a publication we design for Quilts, Inc.

What in the world is a rate card? Basically, it tells you everything you need to know to place an ad in a given publication—and it’s different for every single one! We broke down the basics of where to find the rate card and how to use it to keep your process running smoothly. Check it out!

7) You say, “Let’s use something fun, like Comic Sans!”

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

All we have to say about that is: Noooooooooo! Your designer can certainly, absolutely, unequivocally find you a better font that is classy, smart, and unique to you. Let us! Pretty please?

6) Embed Your Fonts

Do what now? This is basically a term for a simple process by which your fonts are included as part of a document you send your designer—so they can see those fonts, even if they don’t have them on their computer already. Follow the link for helpful tips on what “embedding fonts” even means, why it matters, and how to do it! Easy!

5) Color: “Why won’t it print like it looks on my screen?”

The Pantone Color Guide. The book depicts roughly the difference you can expect between computer images and printed images.
The Pantone Color Guide shows roughly the difference you can expect between computer images and printed images.

Simple! Sort of. Actually it’s a little complicated. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, we explained it all in the original post. Suffice to say, it will look different from screen to page, so make sure to request a color proof, and use the delightful Pantone color guide shown above to help predict how your ad will look printed.

4) Low-Resolution Images

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Resolution is another one that takes some time to fully explain, but the basic principle is this: send your designer the biggest image possible. This will allow it to be printed larger without blurring. If you’re not sure if it’s big enough, ask your designer! Or, check out the longer article to learn how to identify high- or low-resolution images, and make sure the pictures in your ad are crystal clear!

3) Last-Minute Changes

stop-the-press 2

Allow me to repeat myself: Nooooooooo! Alterations that a client thinks are “quick” may or may not be, and your designer may have to work overtime to get that ad to print by the deadline. Missing the deadline can mean big hassle and even extra fees from a printer if the process is delayed! If you schedule plenty of buffer for your design process, you’ll ensure that last-minute changes are never necessary, and keep your designer (and your wallet) happy.

2) “My last designer was terrible! She wouldn’t give me the design files!”

Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because most designers won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of
Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because most designers won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of

In general, the client owns the final ad, but not the working design files or various component parts of the ad. This can vary in different situations—we get more specific about that here. Making sure your agreement is crystal clear at the outset can prevent misunderstandings down the road!

1) You say, “Give me something….different/Unique/Special”

Pardon us while we freak out. Image courtesy of
Pardon us while we freak out. Image courtesy of

This kind of request is a little too vague, and it puts a lot of pressure on a designer to guess what you might love. We always want to give our clients what they want—but first we have to know what that is. Make sure you know what you’re looking for, or be ready to trust your designer to come up with something awesome! Specific thoughts about color and style can point your designer in the right direction, and examples can be helpful, too!


If you want to learn about our collaboration and design skills firsthand, get more information here or call us at 713-627-1177 to set up your free consultation!

Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 4

So far in this series, we’ve covered too much text, reading the rate card, and talked extensively about fonts. The latest designer pet peeve ties in to a similar issue to the one we ran into in post number 5—just because it looks good on your computer screen does not mean that it will look good printed. The number 4 thing designers hate is:

4) Low-Resolution Images

Artfully pixelated image courtesy of
Artfully pixelated image courtesy of

Resolution in digital images is measured in something called “dpi” or “dots per inch.” The standard dpi for something you want printed relatively large is 300 dpi or more. That means there are, quite literally, 300 little dots of color in each inch of the image. On your computer screen, these dots are called “pixels.”

Often, clients will send us an image that they pulled from Google or Facebook, without paying much attention to the image’s size. Then, they’ll ask us to “blow it up” or “make it bigger.” The problem is, while we can stretch something to be much larger on a computer screen, this does not increase the number of pixels in the image—it simply makes the pixels (or dots) larger. This stretched image may look fine on the computer screen, but when it gets printed there’s a good chance that a smallish image will come out grainy and unclear. And no one wants that!

If you’re using stock photography in your ad, it’s often better to let your designer source the images for you. We’ll know what to look for to make sure the image will come out nice and clear in printing. Then you also avoid issues of “borrowed” images that we covered in Things Designers Hate Number 9.

If you are searching for images for yourself, keep an eye on the number of pixels in the image. Google image search shows the size of images in number of total pixels. If an image is 300×300 pixels, then that image will be 1×1” at 300 dpi when printed. If you enlarge that image to greater than 1×1” when printing it, it will come out blurry.

This sad puppy is 1600x900 pixels. That means the image can be printed as large as 5.3x3 inches without any degradation of the image quality. He’s sad because you tried to print him 10x6. Image courtesy of
As you can see circled in red on the right, this sad puppy is 1600×900 pixels. That means the image can be printed as large as 5.3×3 inches without any degradation of the image quality. He’s sad because you tried to print him 10×6. Image courtesy of

You can use this information as a rule of thumb when searching for images online. Say you want to use an image that will eventually be printed in a magazine on a standard 8.5×11” page. You would need the image to be at least 2550×3300 pixels to get a resolution of 300dpi.

Finally, clients will sometimes copy all of the images they want to use, paste them into a Word document, and send that document to us. Please, for the love of that adorable puppy up there, do not do this! Pasting images into a Word document can lead to re-sizing in order to fit the image on the page, and can cause compatibility issues between computers with different generations of Microsoft Office, or between Macs and PCs. Always save your images separately and attach them directly to the email. They can be saved as a JPEG, PDF, TIF, or PNG file, but they must be saved at high resolution, at the size you want it printed or larger. That way it will arrive in your designer’s inbox the same way you sent it: nice and big!

Related Articles

Advertising Testimonials

If you have great feedback from a happy customer or client, you can use their testimony to boost your business. Adding a testimonial to your brochure, website or advertising can add validity and selling power to your service or product. Testimonials build trust, help buyers overcome skepticism, and give your sales unbiased recommendation.

What Makes a Good Testimonial?

If you have ever had a customer tell you how much they value your service or product, then ask them for a testimonial. Don’t over edit the message, but don’t be afraid to change the grammar and how it’s said. Use testimonials that fit, don’t ever fake it. Don’t be afraid to encourage specifics from your client. For instance, if your client saw wonderful improvement by using your product or receiving your services, then ask what specifically caused the improvement. Let the users be the “stars” and not the service or product itself. Try to avoid using word like “best” and “easy” as they don’t really add validity. Be sure to ask your customer if you can use their feedback for a testimony.

How to Use a Good Testimonial

If you have a testimonial from some one notable or even a celebrity, don’t be afraid to use that as your entire advertisement. If you have endorsements from unknown people then don’t make it the main focus. If you have many testimonials, try dedicating a page on your website. If you only have one or two, use them in flyers, postcards and ads. You can use call-out-boxes or before and after pictures. There are many ways to handle a good testimonial. The best endorsement is word-of-mouth. If you have a customer telling others how wonderful you are, what could be better than that?

Give us your feedback on how you have used testimonials from customers.


Keep It Clean!



This chick at The Cheeps (me) noticed in my daily commute the various company trucks, vans and cars that have plastered their logo plus phone number on the sides of their vehicles. Here in Houston, Texas, there are many companies who advertise this way. The companies varied from Fed Ex, Joe the Plumber, Carpet Cleaning, Custom T-shirts, etc. Many were complete vehicle wrapped ads while several were magnet-style signs, and while others were painted on. I critiqued them on their visibility and whether or not it would actually lead me to find them. (Yes this is what graphic designers do while in heavy traffic). Some vehicles were clean, but several were not. One in particular was a full-blown advertisement on the vehicle, which is called a wrap vehicle. The cost of these are not cheap, somewhere between the price of $900- $4,000. This one in particular was colorful and wrapped from the front to the back and even over the roof. It had a QR code on it, but I couldn’t scan that while driving–even during the traffic jam slowness. It was bold and colorful but I did not see a phone number, an address or company name. It had a very small website address which I remembered though it was not easy to. As it turns out the web address was to the vehicle wrap company, not to the product that was plastered all over the vehicle. Another car had a simple magnet that couldn’t have been more than 24×24 inches that was clear on what the service was, and who to call, and what their website was… All understood while zipping by at 50 mph! They got a great critique from me. The cost for one of these signs is not much more than $50. Whichever type of vehicle advertisement you decide on make sure your vehicle is always clean, make sure your sign is easy to understand, and represents your company in the best way possible.

Today is Techies Day!

Tech·ie also tek·kie  (teh-ki) n. Informal

One who studies or is highly interested or proficient in a technical field, especially electronics.

This day is for all technicians, not just computer techies. There are technical jobs that demand highly skilled people and today is the day we appreciate them! Give all techies a high-five and thank them for helping you with your PC, appliance or other technical thing-a-ma-jig. Photo credit goes to