What Your Designer Can't Do

There are a couple of graphic design requests I’ve repeatedly encountered over the years. I hate saying no, and some of them are pretty amusing, but there are some things that I have to flat-out refuse and find a better solution. Here are some of the things your designer can help you with, and some she can’t:

I won’t use photos from Google search. This rule is sometimes confusing and frustrating for clients to understand, but it’s also really important. Using an image from the Internet you don’t own or have rights to is illegal and could result in your website being shut down, on top of costly legal fees. I can, however, look at photos you’ve searched on Google and use them as inspiration. Finding a similar picture sometimes takes time, but there are many really great stock photography sites out there and we usually end up with a better photo than the original. Stock photography will usually cost a little bit of money, but in the end it’s worth it because you’ll avoid copyright issues down the road.

I won’t Photoshop your ex-husband or wife out of a photo. Okay, I would maybe do this, depending on the complexity, but there’s probably a better alternative. This goes for other higher level Photoshop work as well. This type of work is very time consuming and requires skills that your basic graphic designer may not have. I will crop your photo, fix the coloring, or even suggest a good photographer who can take a new photo for you . We’ve all seen bad Photoshop work before, and it’s one of the most unfortunate design mistakes, because even someone who knows nothing about Photoshop can usually spot it.

I can’t take text and just “make it italics” or “make it skinnier.” If a font doesn’t have a thinner weight or italicized version, it would be extremely ill-advised to try and force it. The font designer most likely spent a lot of time expertly creating the typeface, and to stretch or otherwise manipulate the font changes not only the letters themselves but also the spacing and overall flow of the text. I can find you a similar font. Using resources like WhatTheFont, designers can easily find another font that has similar qualities to the original font. You will have a lot more versatility with the text if you refrain from altering the design of the letters themselves.

There are obviously exceptions to all rules, but for the most part these are things that I try to steer my clients away from. They’re usually happier in the end using the alternative solutions I’ve provided.