We are going to see family friends today so I dug this gem from the archives and updated it!

So we covered one of my favorite subjects in school the other day: page layout. Rather layout sins- there were 13, but I narrowed them down to 10 (mainly because 13 wouldn’t fit on a graphic and because I think these 10 affect bloggers more).

Contains affiliate links. Even if you're not a designer, you may be a blogger, writer or just happen to have to design something so here are 10 simple design/layout sins to avoid.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click and/or make a purchase from a certain link, I may make money off it! Thanks for supporting brands that support A Pint-Sized Life!

Here are the sins:

1. No white space
White Space is not Your Enemy (this book is the best for wannabe page designers, graphic designers and web designers!) Seriously, white space allows the eye of the reader to rest between text, graphics, pictures etc. Just space your page elements wisely. P.S.  white space doesn’t have to be white.

Related:  6 things to spring clean and update on your blog

2. Centering everything
Centered body text says one thing about your design: amateur. I made this mistake loooooads of times when I started designing and when I started blogging. Tip: Align any body text to the left.

3. Too many colors
Especially when designing your media kit, stick to 1-2 colors at most (your brand colors work best). Using too many colors makes your layout busy and distracting.

4. Busy backgrounds
Speaking of busy, stay away from backgrounds with patterns or images that distract from your main text. When in doubt, just keep everything simple.

5. Trapped white space
Yes, white space is good and all, but trapped white space is like a giant hole in your page layout. It’s like you have a great design going then BOOM- a giant blob of white. All white space should be to the outside of your design.

Related:  The story of my ring

6. Dis-proportionate photos
Have you ever stretched a photo to fit a specific spot in your design? Yeah me too- just don’t do it. It makes the photo looked warped and the subject wacky. If you increase the width of a photo by a certain number, be sure to increase the height by the same amount!

7. Too much text emphasis
Emphasis like underlining, multiple exclamation points and all caps. AND DON’T USE THEM ALL TOGETHER!!!!! You’re not in middle school anymore (unless you are, and if you are stop doing this. immediately, Please.)

8. Lots of different fonts
Using 1-2 is usually best. pick a decorative one then use a simplier one for the main text. Once again too many different fonts make your layout look busy and overwhelming.

Related:  Happy New Blog!

9. Cheated margins
Having a little space around photos, text and graphics is needed. White space is not your enemy!

10. Tacky text
Meaning using highlighted text, a lot of text in a themed font, bullets that aren’t simple, too much reversed text (text that is light and on a darker background), and of course using a script font as your main body text. Just stick to simple texts.

Have you committed any layout sins?

In case you need to design something in a hurry, remember to avoid these 10 layout sins
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P.S. sign up for my resource library and go to monthly downloads to see some of these layout sins (hopefully) avoided!

Author: Alix Maza

Alix is a college student, Step Up Magazine contributor, wannabe author, blogger and a super girly-girl who loves dogs and is entirely too dependent on coffee.

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  • Oh gosh this post is so on point! It’s strange after a couple of months or years, the things you begin to notice when you’ve become a seasoned blogger. Though content is key, layouts and ascetics are equally as important in getting your message across. Thank you for sharing your points 🙂

    With Love, Fatema | creativeinthearts.blogspot.co.uk

    • So true! It’s the first thing people notice.

  • Sarah Jean

    These are great tips! And many of which I had to learn the hard way. haha

    • I did too! Easier to remember them that way haha

  • Brigette Collins

    These are great tips! I am guilty of a few of these, especially when I first started blogging the second go around.

    • Omg some of my old designs make me cringe haha

  • Bonnie Marrow

    My first blog had a patterned background and people hated it! Great tips!

    • When I was younger I had pattern backgrounds everywhere!

  • Brittany Wise

    These are wonderful tips! I am NOT a designer, so any guidance is always appreciated! 🙂

    • Haha I’m slowly learning! Feel free to ask for help.

  • Candy Kage

    Of course I have and so has everyone. Great and useful tips.

  • MJ Puertas

    These are great and helpful tips! I remember when I first started out, I was afraid of white space, but now I embrace it .

    • I did too! I thought white space was boring.

  • Neely

    I agree too many colors can be so distracting

  • jennadesigns

    White space is huge – embrace it people!

  • i do #2 centering everything on my wedding website but it’s not a blog.

    i don’t completely understand what you mean by “cheated margins” – can someone show me an example where someone committed this sin?

  • These are SPOT ON! It’s so easy to have too little or too much of any given element but when you get the balance just right it really works!

    • Finding the right balance is so key.

  • Great tips! I’ll have to remember these!

    | Diary of a Southern Millennial

    • Pin the graphic for further reference!

  • All so so true! I always have to tone myself down cos I can get…excited. haha! But yup, white space is a GOOD thing sometimes!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Haha that’s easy to do! I always enter multiple exclamation points and I go back and edit.

  • Great tips. I like that they’re all very simple and easy to fix. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people break these and their sites become tacky, cluttered, and over all just overwhelming. But of course, it’s all a learning curve and luckily there are tips out there like these that can help everyone get on the right track (:

  • Claire Melzer

    I’m redesigning my blog now so thanks for the tips! I don’t know much about design and need all the help I can get!

    • Feel free to contact me with any questions!

  • i actually think i need to work on centering everything, for some reason i feel like i learned to center things in school and tend to still do it a lot!

    • I did too, and I thought it looked so professional haha.

  • I love this! I am planning to re-vamp my blog design this year and all definitely remember to focus on these things!

    • Yay! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

  • I’ve learned most of this myself, I feel like a cool girl now! Haha. Also I had a little help in school 😉

  • Great post! Luckily I learned the white space trick early on. I think its very important to have white space in order to make your blog look professional.

  • MonChicStyle

    This is so helpful thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Really really really agree!

  • Patricia Conte

    Great tips! I’m soooo guilty of overusing centered text 😳

  • Great tips and agreed for all of them. What really drives me mad is the script or scrolly font. It just gives me an instant headache if I have to squint to try and read what you’re writing.

    • Omg I always think “is this legible?” when I choose fonts.

  • Good tips! Dark bakcgrounds drive me crazy. Also lot of capitol letters, it is so hard to read!

    • Capitol letters always make me feel like I’m being shouted at haha

  • Lynn

    This is great! I really like your images. Do you use Photoshop to make them? I like your colors, too. Mine are pink, but I haven’t figured out how to use the same color pink in Canva yet. Thanks for the great read!

    Lynn N.


    Pinterest/Twitter: @emmaandrose

    Instagram: @emmaandroseblog

    • I use Canva! To get the exact color, find the color code (mine is this: #f995b0) make a new document add an element or text then change the color. There should be a place to plug in your color code where the color wheel is.

      Hope that helps!

  • Emily Bendler

    These are great tips. I hate dark backgrounds.

  • Really great tips! I guess we all make mistakes at the beginning, but this blogging community is so generous with hips and posts like yours! It’s great to be a part of it! Thank you!

  • Cassidy Slockett

    Thanks for sharing this. I actually need to work on fixing my sidebar right now to make it more clean and organized like yours is. Any tips?

    • Really, the ones I shared here! Feel free to contact me with any more questions you have.

  • malak1357

    Thank you for these tips! I didn’t realise I was making some of them

  • I think I am doing pretty good. At least I hope I am LOL

  • I learned about this in undergrad and it was super helpful.

  • I’m giving my blog an entire makeover so this is extremely helpful right now! Thanks for the great advice!

    • No prob! Feel free to ask me any more questions.

  • shootingstarsmag

    Thanks for sharing! I’m sure I’ve done some of these …I’m hoping to move my blog to WordPress soon and make it look nicer though.

    Did you change your blog URL? I couldn’t find you for the longest time!


    • I did! I had this whole mess of switching hosts, domain providers and all that jazz haha. Sorry to trouble you!

  • This is so helpful! Definitely easy to neglect some of the best practices when you are cranking out work under deadlines.

    • OMG don’t get me started on deadlines.

  • Taylor Smith

    YES! These are awesome. I did so many when I first started blogger. YUCK!

    • Haha some of my early designs are totally cringe-worthy also!

  • Taylor Smith

    Blogging* lol SOS

  • “White space is your friend” is what a wise and more seasoned blogger once told me….so true and important. Great tips!

  • This is so on point! I love a ton of white space lol and too much clutter and color always drives me away.

  • I remember when I started blogging back in ’09 all of the current no-nos were popular on the big blogs 😀 It’s so funny how design trends change, just like fashion, over time!

  • These are such great tips! A good website is a must for bloggers these days! xx


  • All great tips! I totally agree about the photos. I go back to older blog posts where I didn’t have good quality photos, and they’re either super small or disproportionate and I cringe!

  • Carrie Hurst

    These are great tips! I am a fan of white space :).

    • I am too! It looks so professional.

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    These are all great tips! It’s crazy to see how much my blogging has changed over the past year!

  • Anna Hubbard

    These are all wonderful tips, Alix! I saw a Pinterest graphic the other day with like 7 different fonts and it was so chaotic and hard to look at!

    • So many fonts and colors give me a headache haha.

  • Good tips! When in doubt, keep it super simple

  • Paige Rankin

    I love this. I need a good reminder on white space from time to time.

    xoxo, Paige

  • Yesss to all of these! I loved my graphic design class, it taught me so much!


  • all of these are so on point! White space is your friend!

  • These are so on point!!! Thanks for sharing girl

  • YES GIRL!!! This is spot on!!!

  • Tami

    These are so true! Especially busy backgrounds!

  • I need to remember this if I switch things up!

  • I agree with all of these!

  • Momma

    I am definitely guilt of number 7 LOL

    • Haha I always think of that one when I type.

  • Sara Nichols

    This is helpful as a new blogger!

  • Patricia Conte

    Good tips, especially for moi!! Thanks so much for your insight!

  • GREAT tips! The tacky lettering and disproportionate photos is definitely a turn off that drives me crazy. And I feel like EVERYONE does the centered text, which isn’t just visually unappealing, but HORRIBLE for SEO!

    • I didn’t realize that it was horrible for SEO too! I just don’t like it haha.

  • Daynna Hartjes

    So many of these are so relevant. I have no idea why so many people do the centred body text thing, it makes me insane and I’ll usually click away when I see it!

    • It is pretty annoying if it’s everywhere.

  • Great tips. I especially agree on white space – we don’t embrace it enough!

    • It’s so simple, yet so underutilized!

  • Ash Neverson

    Love these tips! I know I need to do a lot to improve my layouts.

    • Once you get started it comes so easily.

  • Lindsey Ann

    These are such great tips!!! The photo size ones always kills me!

    • Me too! Especially if the photo is of a person… so bad!

  • Thanks!

  • mckenna bleu

    Love these tips! They are all spot on. Especially the too much text emphasis.

    • Agreed! I was totally guilty of that in high school haha

  • Pam Dollesin

    Great points! I’m definitely saving this as my guideline and thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for reading! Hope it helps.

  • Shannon Paige

    This is great! Are you going to school for web or graphic design?!! I have taken a few graphic design courses and have now decided to continue with it because I really love it. I am definitely guilty of the photos one and the centering the text…. will have to remember that!


    • I’m majoring in PR/Advertising, but I think i’ll lean more to ad design.

  • Brittany Daoud

    #2 is my downfall! I tend to center everything with my OCD lol xo, Brittany | http://www.theblistblog.com

    • Lol I used to do that all the time also.

  • If there’s one thing I hate…centered text and crazy fonts!
    I used to do centered text, but now I leave it for the very end of my post, like you do!
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

  • I was so glad when I learned the “no more than two fonts” rule-it seriously makes everything just look much more stream-lined and aesthetically pleasing.

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style