4 Biggest Mistakes New Designers Make And How To Avoid Them


To say that designing is a vast field would be an understatement to the craft. We understand the creative effort and time that it takes to create the perfect design. And for that reason, we value new designers.

However, as a new designer, you’re also faced with quite a few challenges. These include learning about new rules, navigating through recent trends, and looking out for projects. And among all of this, it can become quite easy for newbies to make mistakes.

So how do you avoid these mistakes? More importantly, how do you resolve them?

Don’t worry! In this article, we’ll be discussing the 4 biggest mistakes new designers make and how to avoid them. Let’s start, shall we?


Mistake # 1: Trying to get the perfect portfolio

We are always trying to show the best version of ourselves no matter what. And while that is one of the basic human instincts, it can become a mistake for your design career. It’s because this pushes us to showcase the best thing we have rather than the previous building blocks that led to perfection. 

This is a practice that most designers follow when they are building their portfolios. They are busier in building a perfect portfolio and tend to lose the opportunity to apply for a long time because they missed the deadline. 


So how can you avoid it?

The best way to go about it is to share your portfolio while simultaneously working to improve it. This way, prospective clients reviewing your portfolio can see how far you have come. This could include your design improvements, understanding of design rules, use of colors, and typography. They can see the variety of projects you have worked on and how well you are with certain design aspects. 

Trust me, this would earn more trust than a perfect portfolio.

Also, you should keep your portfolio ready because you never know when an opportunity knocks on your door. For example, someone asks for your portfolio urgently, and you do not have anything assembled, it will be impossible to align a perfect portfolio at the time. So make sure that you keep updating it as you go along.


The Best Solution!

Keep a portfolio ready at all times, which you keep on updating and working on while applying for several opportunities. 

Once your name is out there, you can begin to improve simultaneously and even become an example for others to get inspired by.


Mistake #2: Agreeing to lower rates or not getting paid at all

If you are a new designer, you will undoubtedly be very familiar with this.

Not getting paid adequately or at all is a problem that is not just faced by new designers but is also faced by designers who have a significant level of experience. That’s because a lot of designers don’t indulge in market research. In simpler terms, often, they don’t realize that they are not getting paid fairly.

Moreover, as a new designer, you might also feel hesitant when asking for payment. But here’s our advice; don’t feel hesitant. It is your right and something you should ask immediately when the work is done.

This happens because new designers also fall victim to what we call the portfolio building syndrome.

Don’t worry, it’s not an actual thing. Simply the idea that to build your portfolio, it’s okay to work for lower rates. However, the issue is that this sets a bad precedence and is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a designer.


In a situation like this, the easiest solution to this problem is…

That you ask for partial payment before you start on the work. Or use platforms like Upwork and Fiverr with payment protection policies.

The other way is to send an invoice as soon as your work is done. However, remember to follow up if you’re not paid within the due date in the latter.  


Mistake #3: Hesitant of working with boring companies

No one among us wants to get stuck somewhere where we don’t like. But unless we are ready to take some risks and chances, how will we ever know what is best for us?

Hesitation to work with boring companies is another mistake that new designers in the field are quick to make. 

All of us need to remember that all the opportunities are useful. Sure, the company might look boring as per your creative judgment. However, there’s always something new that you can learn. In fact, you can also contribute to adding a creative touch to their work.


Remember, doing anything like this is a mistake!

Primarily because the opportunity that you might be getting can be the start of your career. Designing is a competitive niche, and we all know that. So don’t chase after the best creative environment, but ooze out your own creativity in the environment you work in.

Secondly, no company is boring. Their work approach can look mundane to you or different than the company you look up to. However, there’s always room for learning and improving your skill.

And lastly, it could also help expand your networking circle. As a designer, it’s crucial that you socialize with people in the field.


So, this is what you should do instead.

So it is better that you do not turn down the opportunity that comes your way. The ‘boring company’ might help you figure out your real talent and interest, helping you secure even better opportunities than your peers. 


Mistake # 4: Getting stuck in a know it all syndrome

Being confident is good, but being overconfident can be bad for you, especially if you know it all syndrome.

Remember, to reach the top of the ladder, you have to start from the first step, and that’s okay. Don’t become a know it all and turn down opportunities.

Yes, you may have studied design for several years, practiced it, and even have a higher degree in it, but it does not make you perfect and a know-it person. 

Designing is an organic field and has constant new trends and changes. From typography trends to newer elements kicking in, the field keeps evolving.

Remember, the know it all syndrome can even halt your career advancement.

If you remain stuck in this, you might find yourself turning down perfectly great opportunities. Eventually, it can even cost you good clients and amazing work scope.

So don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Instead, learn from those mistakes and evolve your design sense.


Bonus Advice

The best way to avoid all these mistakes is by focusing on your designs and working to improve them. Now, there are several ways that you can do that. You can take online courses or certifications from experts. Or you can work with industry experts to learn from their work process and creative abilities.

But one of the best ways to stay relevant as a designer and improve is by getting reviews on your work. Ask your peers, colleagues, friends, or even clients to review your work so you can see the exact mistakes and overcome them.

The idea is that when you receive overall feedback, it’s likely that you wouldn’t be able to identify the exact issue. So what you can do is start using GoVisually to review your design work. You can invite as many reviewers as you want and they can mark exact changes.

The best part? Only you need an account, the reviewers don’t.


Key Takeaway

At the end of the day, designing can be competitive. So what will give you competitive edge is your creative insictinct. That’s why, you shoudl focus on nourishing that.

And remember, it is normal to make mistakes, but it is even better to accept and learn from them to become a better designer.

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan is a storyteller, brand strategist, and growth manager at GoVisually. She loves creating value-driven content for creative professionals.
Subscribe to Newsletter

You may also be interested in...

Packaging & Labelling

Top 5 Sustainable Packaging Trends to Watch Out in 2024

Did you know? The Buying Green Report 2023 shows that 59% of consumers prioritize recyclability and sustainability when buying products. In fact, as per a …

Read More →
Packaging & Labelling

Latest FDA Food Guidelines Updates & News 2024

Heading into 2024, the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) remains vigilant in ensuring the safety and quality of our food supplies. This year, …

Read More →
Weekly posts

Top 13 Features to Get Creative Approval Fast for Consumer Products

Endless debates. Countless revisions. Struggling to get buy-in has delayed product launches for months. By then, you’re praying to beat competitors. The costs? Missed sales, …

Read More →

Review & Approve Designs, Videos & PDFs 3x faster

Speed up your creative reviews & approvals with Govisually.

Get started with a Free Trial.