The top 5 design crimes brands are making

With my day to day work involving creating and making over brands, along with actively exploring many more, I can tell you that as good as intentions might be, some brands are just not putting their best foot forward through their visual design. At all. 

Their branding may be dated, overly complicated, fail to evoke any emotion or simply just odd! Whatever the issue, one thing is for certain: strong design makes for strong brands. 

So, let's explore the top 5 design crimes I see being made by brands both large and small. 

1. Crappy images

Clipart, cartoons, over-reliance on stock imagery, dull/poor quality photos - are these things helping your brand look and feel compelling and of high quality? Invest in professional photos or learn how to take great shots yourself!

2. Tricky business name

If you find yourself needing to spell it out to people or explain it - you’re not off to a great start! Think simple and memorable (and easy to spell!)

3. A complicated logo

Hard to read on a small screen? Includes numerous fonts and/or colours? Let’s think simple, clean and timeless. The best brands are those like Cartier, Polo Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton - they’ve stood the test of time, are instantly recognised, easy to read, and unique enough to remember.

4. Design inconsistency

Being inconsistent with your branding - whether image styles, fonts or colours - weakens your brand and makes it appear disorganised and amateur. 

5. Design by committee

Have you ever been set on something… until you asked your family or friends about what they think and suddenly felt confused and uncertain? By getting lots of opinions, chances are you’ll try to please different people and end up with a watered down outcome that misses your goals. AND chances are the people who gave you their thoughts aren’t your target audience anyway.

It always concerns me when I see people posting their shortlisted designs in forums for people to give their comments. There’s rarely a consensus, leaving the person whose design it is LESS sure than before! Go with your GUT and work with a professional whose previous designs you LOVE. They will work with your goals and target audience in mind to create a brand that is uniquely YOU.

Four ways to avoid these crimes in the first place:

  1. Create a brand mood board to get you clear on your unique brand aesthetic
  2. Define your target audience - what’s going to appeal to them?
  3. Create your branding guidelines, including logo, supporting brand marks, fonts and colours (this is where you’re best to work with a design professional)
  4. Commit to using consistent imagery across all of your touch-points (i.e. website, social media, collateral).

Realised you need to update your brand? Chat to me and let's see what you need. 

    Emily OsmondComment