The unmistakeable marks of novice designers:
Beware of embellishments. Horizontal rules, graphic bullets, icons,
and other visual markers have occasional uses, but apply them sparingly
(if at all) to avoid a patchy, confusing layout.
The tools of graphic emphasis should be used only in small doses
for maximum impact. Overuse leads to a "clown's pants"
effect where everything is garish and nothing is emphasized.
Overly bold typography
try to make everything look 'cool.' If everything shouts, then nothing
is important. If too many fonts are used, the piece will not project
with a clear voice. Avoid hokey, hard-to-read typefaces or pre-made
type effects available in the layout programs such as drop shadow,
Remember to squint to look for adaquate contrast. If the type appears
on a busy background, no one will be able to read it. If the color
is too light or too distracting, we'll move on.
Overcrowding: no room to breathe
paper - and web space - is expensive. Yes, you don't have enough
room. But try to avoid the temptation to fill every inch of the
page. There's a saying in the East: a bowl cannot exist without
the space inside. Your words and pictures depend on a certain amount
of space around them to allow the message to stand out.
think "clown." Is that the impression you want to create?
Devise a color scheme of a few well-chosen colors and stick to it.
try a bit of everything, to make the design look more "interesting."
It doesn't work. Pick a few simple elements and use a grid to support
the alignment and repetition that make good design stand out!
next: 10 minute critique and thumbnail