Common Mistakes in Visual Design

I was searching and reading some common mistakes in visual design and I found some very interesting common that were made by designer.

Multiple typefaces

Don’t use more than three fonts on a layout. One or two typefaces should be enough. The logo doesn’t count as a typeface, but continuity may be achieved by making the typefaces relate to the logo face.


Use emphasis carefully. Making everything a different font or a different style is confusing and counter-productive. Don’t try to use too many font tricks in the same page at once.

Double Spacing

Double spaces after a period are considered taboo by typesetters and can create distracting focal points in your layout.

Don’t Underline or use ALL CAPS

Underlining was something that was done in the era of typewriters because bold fonts were not available. Use bold or italics instead. Obviously online, underlining is acceptable, but only to indicate links. Italics are not very readable online so try to avoid them.

Curly Quotes

Good typographer use quotation marks which are curled. “‘ and ”. Avoid using inch and foot marks. Most publishing programs will automatically substitute typographer’s marks for quotes but be careful. Also, online, it’s acceptable to use inch marks instead of curly quotes because they are not as easily reproducible across platforms.

  • Single left-Alt-0145
  • Single right-Alt-0146
  • Double left-Alt-0147
  • Double right-Alt-0148

Commas & Periods within quotes

Commas and periods go inside quotes. All other punctuation marks (question, exclamation) go outside of the quotes unless they are part of the quoted materials.

Feet and Inch Marks

Conversely, don’t use curly quotes to typeset inch and feet marks.

  • Feet-Alt-0162
  • Inches Alt-0178


There are three different types of dashes. A hyphen or minus sign used for breaking words apart to prevent odd spacing from occurring on a page ‘-‘. The en dash ”’ called so because it is generally the width of a letter n and should be used to substitute the word ‘to’ as in from 9’12 p.m. and the em dash ‘ which is the longer of the dashes and can be used to break sentences apart in the same manner as a semicolon.

  • Em Dash-Alt-0151
  • En Dash-Alt-0150


Ladders are multiple hyphenation appearing on consecutive lines. Try not to have more than 2 consecutive hyphens or it becomes a focal point in your copy.


If you choose to justify your type, watch out for big gaps of spaces appearing vertically in your type known as rivers of white space. These are very common in newspapers where the line width is very tight.

Special Characters

You are also expected to use these special characters when possible. Some of these special chacacters are hard to get at especially on a PC. Here’s some of the most common for your reference.

  • Copyright-Alt-0169
  • Registered Trademark-Alt-0174
  • TM-Alt-0153
  • Ellipsis-Alt-0133



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