13 Habits of Bad Graphic Designers

Featured Image Source: Vecteezy/twilightmoon
Aristotle, the great philosopher, once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.”

Graphic designers cannot attain excellence unless they develop good designing habits. Unfortunately, there are many designers out there who do not follow good designing habits and end up creating problems for their professional growth. This post highlights 13 bad habits of graphic designers. Read on and make sure you do not practice any of the following habits:

1. Reacting on Criticism:

reacting on criticism

Good designers never react to criticism, be it constructive or otherwise. Bad designers take criticism personally and may even get downright rude with the client.

2. Unaware of Industry Updates:

unaware of industry updates

Bad graphic designers hardly know about the designing world let alone the people who make up the industry or the newest software updates and trends. If a designer is lacking in essential industry knowledge, s/he cannot be described as an innovative designer.

3. Not Sketching Designs:

Not Sketching Designs

Professional disaster. Every graphic designer must know how to sketch at least a rough draft of the project and have a proper design process they follow.

4. Procrastinating:


Procrastination is a bad habit and those who stick to this habit often come up with substandard work and are unable to meet deadlines.

5. Disorganized:


Losing important details, forgetting dates, mixing up project details etc. won’t make you look good as a designer.

6. Lacking Creativity:

Lacking Creativity

Not bringing new ideas to the table, not learning new tricks or trying out new schemes because it requires extra effort. Using common derivative concepts is a sure sign of lack of sheer creativity. No one wants to hire such a designer!

7. Careless Attitude:

Careless Attitude

Lazy graphic designers don’t care about a client’s deadlines or their project completion. They delay deadlines, give substandard work and absolutely don’t care about clients.

8. Submitting Low Quality Images:

Submitting Low Quality Images

Sending clients low resolution images which are difficult to scale and impossible to enlarge. Submitting images in both vector and raster format is the right thing to do. You never know when the client might need to print the design on a different medium altogether.

9. Being Smug:

Being Smug

One of the characteristics of bad graphic designers is that they are smug and overconfident about their work. They consider themselves the best and even charge an exorbitant price for their substandard, derivative designs.

10. Copying Work:

Copying Work

Wannabe designers are the most active at copying concepts. They lack a creative drive which is why they prefer to copy other designer’s, claiming it as inspired art, instead of creating their own.

11. Not Using Correct Software:

Not Using Correct Software

Bad graphic designers fail to understand the significance of using specific software for various services. For instance, they will create a logo design in Adobe Photoshop and send the client raster files.

12. Lack of Color Understanding:

Lack of Color Understanding

Designers must have a strong understanding of colors, contrasts and combinations that can appeal to the viewers. They must also know that web design templates are preferred in RGB while Pantone color standard is the best for logo design.

13. Being Unprofessional:

Being Unprofessional

When dealing with clients, being professional is necessary. This includes using a formal language rather than using slang. Designers who practice an informal code of conduct harm their reputation and gain popularity as being unprofessional.

Unintentional mistakes are forgivable, but continually practicing these poor habits makes you a bad designer and bad graphic designers are NOT allowed anywhere in the professional world!

Vectors Source: iStock

Market research nerd with a penchant for graphic design and branding. A digital marketer by profession; a creature of the web by compulsion.

10 thoughts on “13 Habits of Bad Graphic Designers

    1. Good call Maria! You are absolutely right. This is also something many designers forget. White space, simplicity and creating a logo that looks good both in color and in black & white is something that more newbie designers need to understand.

      Thank you for your feedback 🙂

  1. I’m glad that I came across this article, but up until now, I didn’t realize that I am guilty of the firs three bad habits.

  2. I’m a student at Santa Fe University and earning my degree in graphic design, so I can tell you first hand that many of the students don’t know how/want to sketch anything out. They just want to learn only skills used on the computer. I disagree, I think sketching out (even if you’re not an amazing sketch artists) helps to visualize and also inspires.

    1. @Sarah I absolutely agree with you! Sketching out your ideas on paper is a big help. I personally find it much easier to create and re-create my concepts on paper as it allows my imagination to flow.

  3. @Sarah Many students don’t know how/want to sketch anything out because they aren’t real designers. Graphic design is a field that’s oversaturated with people who lack raw talent. In most cases, they enter the field because it seems like a corporate career that’s “fun.” The REAL designers (about 15% of the industry) are the ones who grew up as artists & became designers because the one thing that they could see themselves doing, was graphic designe and/or illustration

    1. Oh? Are those the ‘only’ people who are ‘real’ designers? Good thing we have the arbiter of all things design here to bless us with his holy judgement.

  4. Graphic design is for the most part, NOT creative. You are hemmed in by committees, deadlines, limitations of branding etc.. Ugh. No creative scope at all.

  5. I’m having a laugh at the elitist attitude being perpetuated in this comment thread. I have always been a developer first, designer second. I am not a naturally artistic person. Through lots of practice, and lots of COPYING and building a better mouse-trap I can comfortably churn out better work than a good number of naturals.

    My experience as a developer, working with outside designers who are natural artists, is that they often fail to see the big picture of a project and prioritize aesthetics over user experience all day long. Your hero Steve Jobs was relentless when it came to stealing ideas and building on them (though adamant about not having his own work copied…maybe it’s just a hypocritical trait common among natural artists.)

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