Graphic Design Do's and Don'ts

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

We all love saving money by doing it ourselves, but sometimes that DIY marketing is doing more harm than good. During this pandemic it's critical that we are at the top of our game breaking through the clutter and competition on social media.

Today, I'm running through the top mistakes I see small businesses make and give examples of how you can improve your social media marketing.

Are you a Clutter Creator or a Design Master?

Let's find out.

1. Clutter Creators: load graphics with too many words. Design Masters: edit themselves.

Sometimes we have a lot to say and a small amount of space to fit it in. Naturally, we load up our graphics with everything we want to say because "it's all important." What happens? You lose people, your ad never gets read and you just lost the sale. Solution: Edit yourself and capture their attention with one main idea. If you need more space or details, have a "Call to Action" and provide the rest of the information in the caption. If you have multiple menu specials or product items, make multiple posts. Your ad should be a teaser not a dissertation.

2. Clutter Creators: use three or more fonts. Design Masters: use brand fonts.

Fonts are a critical element to design and your brand. You get extra points if you have and use your branded font(s). However, it's pretty common for businesses to not know their fonts. Solution: You can typically find your fonts by looking at your logo. Quick tip: you should have no more than 3 fonts (one for large headers, subtitles and body). Remember, fonts represent the personality of your business so make sure your font styles match your brand's image. Font styles can range from traditional and modern to classy and sassy.

3. Clutter Creators: steal graphics from Google. Design Masters: look for inspiration.

It's ok to look for inspiration by browsing the internet. I certainly look through multiple sources when I have a creative block. I'll use inspirational pieces to create mood boards, analyze styles and play with color themes. All of that is perfectly ok, but please don't steal. Someone put in a lot of time, research and effort to make their designs. There are tools you can use to create your graphics or I can create custom templates for you.

4. Clutter Creators: take subpar pictures. Design Masters: experiment and learn about photography.

Taking great pictures takes time and practice. There are tons of articles, courses and YouTube channels dedicated to this topic alone. Solution: 1) Lighting: Avoid harsh lighting and strong shadows. Try natural lighting from a window or setup a light box. 2) Angles: Angles make photos interesting and fun. If you're always taking pictures top down, try something new and see if you like it. 3) Scene: Make sure everything you see in the picture tells a story. Take a little extra time to set the scene for your product. If it's food, add a napkin, utensils, raw ingredients or the chef's hands. Tell the story.

5. Clutter Creators: use lots random colors.

Design Masters: stay true to brand colors.

Using your brand's colors has advantages for establishing your business. Consistent use of your colors makes a lasting imprint. Think of major brands and how they consistently use their brand color. What if Coca-Cola stopped using red and starting using green? It's a strange feeling because we have been branded with the color red for Coca-Cola. Same goes for your brand. If you're using multiple colors that are off-brand, you're sending confusing messages and not establishing your brand.

6. Clutter Creators: constantly repost from others. Design Masters: create original content.

The best way to show you are an expert in your field is to create original content. If you're doing a lot of reposting and copy/pasting, you're not adding value and you risk becoming irrelevant. It's ok to repost from other sources occasionally, but don't make your sources the majority of your content. You need to be the source.

Tell me. How did you do? Are you a Clutter Creator or a Design Master?

Being your brand's authority takes hard work and dedication. This is something we all work on daily to grow and stay relevant. Know there are plenty of resources at your disposal to hone your skills, and of course, I'm always here to help.

Just remember, tomorrow is another day to do better than the day before.

#staycreative #pushforward