Finding Pain Points in Graphic Design: Part 1

Monday, May 6th, 2024

Finding Pain Points in Graphic Design: Part 1

People are always talking about finding pain points for interactive design (web design, apps), but what about other types of graphic design? Each design type comes with unique challenges and solutions.

Pain Points for Print Ads and Posters

Print ads and posters should be eye-catching. There are a few things to consider here, and many solutions at your disposal.

Unique Challenges

First, you’ve got to make sure your design is in the right format. Printing things in RBG format is not going to work, and it won’t look half as good as it will if you print in CYMK format.

Beyond using the correct color model, you should also ensure your ad is clear, eye-catching, and addresses the viewers’ pain points. The font you use should be readable, and it should be simple/have enough white space that the person walking by will get the information they need.

Solutions to Pain Points

While some pain points in graphic design are a quick fix (like using a typeface that’s easy to read), most are not that straightforward. If you can get your poster or print ad in front of someone who doesn’t know what it’s about and ask them questions, you’ll gain much insight.

Here are some guiding questions:

  • What product/service is this ad selling?
  • Why is it important? Who is the target audience?
  • What is the biggest problem the audience has?
  • What do you think of when you see this ad?
  • What message is this ad sending?
  • What is your next step?

By asking someone who wasn’t involved in creating the ad, you’ll better understand how the person on the street will respond to it.

Pain Points for Illustrations

Illustrations are some of a child’s first introductions to the beauty of art and design. Each book carries magic within its pages, so it’s important to get it right to prevent breaking the illusion of the illustration itself!

Unique Challenges

There are so many options available to illustrators. You need to think about what medium you want to use. Will the illustration be painted? Multimedia? Collage?

The creativity of the medium you use will have a direct impact on the way the story comes across. Think about the difference between a whimsical watercolor illustration and a comic book illustration. The target audience for each may be very different!

You’ve also got to stick to the rules with that form of medium, so be sure to pick something that you are comfortable with, and that suits the overall story or message you are sending.

Another consideration: page formatting. Every page should be properly formatted so that illustrations aren’t cut off during the binding process and there’s enough of a gap between the illustrations and the outer edges of the pages. If you aren’t sure how to do this, it’s imperative to get a skilled book designer on your team.

Solutions to Pain Points

It may not bother everyone, but few things are more distracting to a writer or avid reader than an illustration that works against the story itself. Illustrations, when done well, are wonderful at enhancing the story as it is (in its final form). When done poorly, they can serve to distract from (or even undermine) the overall message that the story is trying to send.

Here are some guiding questions to keep your illustrations on point:

  • Does this illustration tell the story?
  • Does it add to the overall story/message or distract from it?
  • Is there anything inconsistent when it comes to the message vs. the illustrations?
  • Does this illustration evoke the feelings you want it to have?
  • Am I thinking about the formatting of the book?
  • Is this illustration in an appropriate style?
  • Does it stay true to the story arch?

Try this experiment: allow someone to read the story first, then show them the illustrations. Show someone else the illustrations first, and then let them read the story. Finally, show them the story with the illustrations. Ask them the above questions as they go.

Pain Points for T-Shirt Design

The wearability aspect of T-shirt design makes it a lot of fun – but it also means that more things can potentially go wrong!

Unique Challenges

Would you wear an uncomfortable T-shirt? Let’s be honest; not many people show up at red-carpet events in a T-shirt (Ashley Tisdale being the exception, but she regretted that).

You have several things to think about, including how it looks when it’s worn and whether there are any potential issues with it being worn in different ways. Another challenge is finding the best way to transfer the image.

(In the days when it was somewhat acceptable to do iron-on transfers, T-shirts peeled away, eventually looking like the half-melted face of a guy from an adventure movie from the 80s. Nobody wants that!)

Solutions to Pain Points

Again, asking someone for input on your T-shirt design can be huge, especially if you can ask several people about their thoughts.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this T-shirt white or black?
  • Is the T-shirt I chose comfortable?
  • Do I want to offer several color options?
  • Is the sizing accurate (do I have a sizing chart)?
  • What printing method do I want to use (screen, digital direct, etc.)?
  • How does the design look with a coat or sweater over it?
  • Does it showcase the message I want to convey?
  • How will the design look if it fades/wears out?
  • Does the shirt stretch a lot?
  • Does it look stylish?

If the shirt stretches, you’ll need to consider the effect that will have on the design and how to transfer it to the shirt while keeping the design intact. If the shirt is white, people may not want to buy it because they’d worry about staining it. Similarly, if it’s a black T-shirt and you live in a hot climate, people may avoid it because it’ll absorb too much heat.

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About Matcha Design

Matcha Design is a full-service creative B2B agency with decades of experience executing its client’s visions. The award-winning company specializes in web design, logo design, branding, marketing campaign, print, UX/UI, video production, commercial photography, advertising, and more. Matcha Design upholds the highest personal standards for excellence and can see things from a unique perspective due to its multicultural background.  The company consistently delivers custom, high-quality, innovative solutions to its clients using technical savvy and endless creativity. For more information, visit

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