header pattern
Home > Blog > Seven print lessons to learn from these common design disasters

Seven print lessons to learn from these common design disasters

Sometimes, no matter how many times you proof-read and cast a second, third, even fourth pair of eyes over a print design, the odd comma or extra line space will slip through. These mistakes are costly, but happen so infrequently we know it’s not your fault. However, some design errors are so blatant it’s remarkable that they ever slipped through the net. These are print design lessons learned the hard way. Learn your print production management lesson from these design disasters: always, always double-check…


Check the placeholder text

When putting together a text-based design template, it is standard to use the ‘lorem ipsum…’ text as placeholder text, to show how the design will look when finished. Somebody clearly forgot to tell the person making this sign for Preston Heritage Trail that the fake Latin text means nothing whatsoever. We particularly like the care that has been taken on the gilt lettering.


Make sure your sentences are readable

Apart from the questionable content of this poorly designed postcard, the words simply don’t make sense. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that has been incorrectly assembled: the words make a sentence, but you have to put them together yourself.


Be careful of your logo

Even seemingly simple and innocent logos can turn into something altogether NSFW (Not Safe For Work). This particular logo for the Office of Government Commerce was developed at a cost of £14,000. When it was unveiled at the launch, someone pointed out that it looked very different indeed when turned on its side – which it had been for most of the organisation’s promotional merchandise, including twenty-foot banners.


Look at designs as a whole

While the content of a page may not be related to other articles or photos, it is best to make sure that the headlines and pictures don’t tell a different story. We expect that the person responsible for this Daily Telegraph front page didn’t work there much longer after such a gaffe. In a similar move, an unfortunate band name that appears to relate to a headline on the front page of this paper means something very different indeed.


Check advert content

Remember the rule we just mentioned? That applies to considering advertisement content in relation to other content. It can go horribly wrong, risking huge offense to both the people involved in your publication and those reading it.


Use print-specific content

It can be tempting to save money by replicating your online content for print publication, but be sure to double-check for online-specific words. Having a ‘click here’ button in a printed document just looks unprofessional and sends out the wrong message to potential customers.


Think about advertisement placement

If you are designing an advertisement to go on a billboard or as part of a large display in a retail or exhibition environment, make sure you know the context in which it will be placed. Turkish Airlines didn’t think theirs through, while this underground rail advert for funeral services just seems plain cruel.

Any print management expert will know the importance of quality control, so make sure you have covered your back by checking everything several times – and get a colleague to do it as well. For more advice about clever print management to avoid design disasters such as these, talk to PMG today.

pattern up green pattern down