Is your site easy on the eyes? Is your logo a no-go? Maybe it’s time to find a graphic designer to help put things right. They’re all over the web and the classifieds, offering styles for every taste and services to fit every wallet.
Freebies, advice, templates, and webhosting sites abound. You took all those art classes back in the day. And now you feel inspired by the DIY genie to grace your website with a logo of your own making. After all, who knows you better than you do? You are your brand.
What have you got to lose—business, image, and professional identity?
Okay, brave one. Graphic design is not for the faint of heart. Even the pros fall prey to the pitfalls of overconfidence and bad layout. Go ahead and take your best shot. Just remember one thing when grappling with graphic design conundrums: give us a little KISS—keep it simple, stupid.
Here’s a list of common graphic design mistakes:
- A hodgepodge of fonts—too many fonts spoil the message. Give us a page that’s easy to read. Pick a font and marry it. For headlines, use italics or bold face and larger type size. Research fonts common to your business sector and don’t venture too far off the grid.
- Not enough white space on the page. Enough said.
- Font size too small—unless your target demographic is 25 years old or younger, give a creative shout out to the visually challenged. That’s around 40% of people over 30. If they can’t read your message, they won’t linger long enough to find out what you’re selling.
- Dark background, light font—hard to read. Black pages with yellow type aggravate eyestrain. Purple background with pink type—really?
- So much info, so little space—use headlines and bullet points to break it up. Write your memoir on your laptop, not on your website. What do you want us to buy—your credentials, product, or service? We don’t need your family history for that.
- A kaleidoscope of colors—an assault to the senses. Choose brand colors that suit your business or the type of service you offer. This is called brand synergy. Color is a power tool in the right hands. Look for guides on the psychological effects of different colors.
- Fuzzy messaging—what do you want to say? Be clear. Have a goal and stick to it. Strong copy that’s meant to sell will take us where you want us to go, like the shopping cart. Check out a direct response copywriting course.
- Don’t get too cute with colors and type unless your target audience is toddlers and their moms. Fancy fonts, curly-cues, and hearts do not project a professional message.
- Logo doesn’t translate to grayscale: you want your logo to look good in color and in black and white. What if someone wants to print a page from your site, and your logo turns to mush? You may need help from a pro.
- Low quality photos & images—now’s the time to invest in visuals that will translate into various media without compromising their quality. Get the best photos in the highest resolution you can afford.
- Organic rather than homogenous—use the same logo design and color scheme when planning your site, business cards, envelopes, stationery, plates, napkins, and coffee mugs. Think: what would Martha Stewart do?
- Wonky Line Spacing—can lead to unintended consequences, occasionally an innocent word turns lewd and obscene because the letters are too close, or the type goes askew. If it’s your logo or ad, it’s not even funny.
- Chaotic mix of graphics, drawings, and photos on one page—we can’t get away from your site fast enough. It’s not art. It’s clutter.
- Too may photos on one page—looks like you threw a stack of photos on the coffee table and forgot to put them back in the box. Don’t be lazy.
- You let your graphic designer or webmaster call the shots? A recipe for disaster. Collaborate, don’t delegate. It’s your business identity, your bottom line that hangs in the balance, which brings to mind:
- Avoid clichés. You have a unique product or service to offer the world—express it through graphic design that intrigues, excites, and energizes. Look for a fresh take, not the same old, same old. Bon mots from Tom Peters: “Remember my mantra… distinct or extinct.”
Keeping these common mistakes in mind, you may want to pay special attention to the planning stages of your brand. If you find yourself falling into one of these patterns, it might be time to bring in the big guns, and hire a professional who will work with you to get the perfect design. After all, what’s more important than your brand, and how people receive it?
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