An excellent graphic designer plays a crucial role in businesses. But as with many aspects of life, fakery is everywhere. Great graphic design can come at a cost, and with the proliferation of tutorials and user-friendly design software, the industry isn’t spared from bogus designers. This can make it even harder to find quality graphic design.

Many business owners don’t know where and how to find a graphic designer — adding to the challenge is learning how to spot a fake one. Penji has a team of vetted graphic design professionals that can help you with all your design needs. You’re assured that the work you’ll get is from real, experienced, and talented designers.

Why Legitimacy is Important in Graphic Designing

How to spot a fake designer is every entrepreneurs’ dilemma. Graphic design is a complex job that requires more than just a talent for using the right colors. It entails understanding the need for a cohesive brand identity, designing for the target audience, paying attention to the minutest details, and many others.

It’s not unusual to see someone who claims to be a graphic designer after spending three months using photo-editing software. The best graphic designers have gone through intensive training and experience. Although not everyone has the same level of expertise and talent, the quality of work will always show through.

Unfortunately, not every one of us can tell the difference between a genuine designer from an impostor. Looking at their portfolio, here are ways to help you find an authentic and reliable graphic designer:

They Don’t Use the Right Fonts

The fonts Papyrus and Comic Sans are two of the most hated types in the graphic design world. If you see these fonts used on a potential graphic designer’s portfolio, run as far away as you can. However, typography isn’t just about choosing the right font. Each font type shows a specific expression; a true graphic designer knows how to use them right.

They Don’t Use the Right Colors

Different colors conjure different emotions. A true designer will avoid using green and red because it may become associated with Christmas. But it can also be that a genuine designer will know how to come up with a green and red logo without invoking the Christmas spirit.

They Use Unaltered Stock Photos


The right designer can turn a boring stock photo into something unique and usable. With a little tweak here and there, stock photos can be valuable assets if the graphic designer is knowledgeable. On the other hand, a fake designer will often use the most common stock photos unaltered. Images such as a handshake, a call center lady, and the stressed guy in a business suit are all red flags.

Copies Instead of Getting Inspirations

Whether fashion, interior, or graphic design, artists all take inspiration from something and somewhere. What separates the wheat from the chaff is originality. It’s a standard work habit for a true designer to research before plunging into the design work. They will take care and make an effort to create unique designs.

They’re Not Careful with Layout

The use of white space is integral in every design. When the potential graphic designer shows you work that is cluttered and busy, the chances are that they’re faking it. A good, clean design layout can only come from a designer who understands the beauty of using white space. They won’t try to fill in as many content, images, texts, and special effects on a small ad.

They Don’t Ask Questions

Probably to make them seem knowledgeable, fake graphic designers often don’t ask questions. A genuine designer needs to understand your brand before going into the design table. Thus, they will ask a lot of questions. They aim to create designs that will fit your brand perfectly and not just rely on their “expertise.”

They Aren’t Open to Constructive Criticism

A professional graphic designer understands that criticism, as long as it’s constructive, is part of the job. Moreover, they would want you to give feedback so that they’ll know if they’re on the right track. A charlatan will get offended and wouldn’t accept your suggestions or design ideas that are opposite theirs. A good working relationship between a designer and a business owner is a must as graphic design is a significant part of marketing. If you can’t speak your mind to your designer, you’re wasting your time and effort. 

They Aren’t Punctual

A true graphic designer understands the importance of punctuality and respects your deadlines. They know how to manage their time and will submit work within the timeline you specified. If a designer finds it difficult to meet your deadlines, chances are they’re struggling with their work.

They Don’t Consider User Experience

If your designer is caught up in creating beautiful ads but disregards giving a good user experience, they’re most probably fake. Your graphic design should get the attention of your audience AND provide functionality and usability as well. Your website may look fantastic, but if it isn’t easy to navigate, it won’t be worth a thing.

They’re Unable to Collaborate

Great graphic design is a collaboration between the business owner and the designer. If the designer uses too much “I” instead of “We,” take the hint and ditch them. The issue is to find a solution to a goal, and if they don’t work with you towards reaching that goal, they’re most likely fake.

They Don’t Care About Copy

poor copy examples

Details such as using hard returns on the text, not using paragraph or character styles can be considered negligible. However, strong attention to detail is one characteristic that you should look for in a graphic designer. When a designer doesn’t care about spelling or grammatical errors on the copy, it means they are wont to overlook the finer points.

They Follow Trends and Fads

Following trends isn’t all that bad, but if a designer seems manipulated by it, it may mean that they don’t have ideas of their own. Better yet, find a designer that knows how to follow trends and create their own. They are the legit ones that are worthy of working on your brand. 

Final Thoughts

To spot a fake designer, a quick look at their resume and a short chat can tell you a lot about them. It is already a given that finding the right designer for your brand can be complicated. An unlimited graphic design service, such as Penji, can make life easier for you. You can have all the graphic design you want at a fixed price of as low as $369 per month. Plus, our vetted graphic designers are real, no fakes here.