We know that everyone makes mistakes. It’s simple human nature. We also know that people — creative types, especially — don’t like to admit when they’ve made a misstep, but at Tradexcel Graphics, we look at design mistakes as a chance to learn and grow.

1. Designers don’t understand what the client wants.

A solid understand of what the client wants is crucial to success. Too often, designers waste time procrastinating, or they develop ideas with their own personal aesthetics in mind. Take the time to read the client brief in detail. Read it again. Print it out, read it a third time. Jot notes in the margin, and brainstorm. Before you start the actual design process, get back in touch with the client, and say, “These are my ideas. What do you think?” You’ll save yourself time, and deliver a quality product.

2. Designers choose the wrong typography.

The expense of paying for professional fonts is worth it, trust us. The Internet is awash with free font download websites, but there is some question of legality here.

Just as important as ensuring that your font usage is on the up and up legally is how your typography looks on the page or the screen. We’ve all seen examples of this. Magazine designers lay out typography without considering contextual ramifications; graphic designers choose brushed or curly font in an attempt to add a bit of whimsy, but the result is childish-looking. The goal is to make your ad stand out, but in a good way; don’t be remembered for your rather unfortunate use of Comic Sans.

3. Designers use too many stock images.

When you can’t afford to hire a photographer, purchasing stock imagery from sites like 123RF or Shutterstock can be very helpful, but be careful: The digital art world is saturated with stock photos, and the overuse of certain overly familiar images can damper the originality of your work.

Stock images should be used to enhance your designs, not as their central focus.

4. Designers follow trends too closely.

The poet Ezra Pound said, “Make it new.” This applies to design just as well as it does to poetry. Yeah, trends and trends for a reason, and they’re a great place to source inspiration, but if you only abide current trends of clipping path, your work will soon appear outdated. Take 2014′s trends — pixel play, kpop, monograms — and make them your own; who knows, you might just set a brand new craze in motion.

What design mistakes have you made, and then learned from?