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Avoid These 10 Design Disasters When Creating Your Company’s Marketing Materials

Have you ever noticed how many articles there are about creating your own marketing materials? These articles concentrate on the “must do” things and offer tips as clever as “Know your audience”, “Say it with images” or “Write clearly and clearly”. Now I’m not saying any of that is bad advice. But you should also know what not to do. That’s what this article is about. Or more specifically, it’s about what most DIYers are tempted to do, but shouldn’t.

Nothing screams “design newbie” like the following 10 mistakes:

1. Do not enlarge your logo so that it is the main focus of the page. Yes, your logo features your company name. But it is not the main point. People are interested in what you are selling, not who you are. In fact, the smaller your logo, the more established your company will appear. Plus, if they’re interested in what you’re selling or promoting, they’ll dig deep to find out where to get it.

2. Do not place your logo in the text of your piece. Of course, it’s fine to use your company name in the text of any of your marketing materials, but inserting your actual logo into a headline or body copy is design suicide.

3. Don’t use all the sources at your disposal. Choose one or two sources for all your materials to build your brand. Your font choices should be consistent with your image and your industry. Cursive and creative fonts are often hard to read, know your audience’s ability to read such things and they still need to stand out.

4. Don’t use color indiscriminately. More color doesn’t necessarily make something more attractive. Often it just makes it loud and annoying. When someone yells at you, do you want to listen or run away? Most, if not all, of your text should be the same color, preferably black for readability or red for a call to action. For a unique look, try two-tone photos or print in two colors. If you plan to use all color in a piece, make sure you actually use that color instead of just putting it in your logo, for example, and nowhere else; that’s just a waste of color and you’re paying more for it. On the other hand, try not to use too many colors in the text; Sometimes I’ve seen 5-7 colors in text on a business card and it makes nothing stand out and it’s hard to follow.

5. Don’t be redundant. Don’t repeat your industry or product name in your company name and tagline and title. Potential customers know your industry. Restoring it implies no.

6. Do not choose low quality or low resolution photos. A photo may look great in an album, but unless it has balanced lighting and good composition, it’s not worth printing. Photos must be at least 300 DPI. And yes, people can tell the difference.

7. Don’t fill in every inch of blank space on the page. White space, or negative space, focuses on what’s important and gives your eyes a break. You may have a lot to say, but cramming it all in creates chaos and minimizes impact. Your piece will end up visually overwhelming. Think less, not more. Also, you should now have a website that people can go to for more detailed information.

8. Don’t focus on the details of your product or service; instead, focus on how it benefits your audience. Unless your product is extremely technical, make your offer relevant to your audience by emphasizing its benefits, not its features. Otherwise, it’s like going to a party and talking about yourself all night. That’s not exactly the best way to win friends or win customers. Your headline and message should hit the “hot buttons” of your target market and what’s in it for them?

9. Don’t do exactly what your competitors do. When you are positioning your product, it is good to know your competition. But don’t copy them. Find out what your customers want and are attracted to. Stand out without standing out. If you can take your logo and put it on your competitor’s ad and it’s applied and vice versa, then you’re not getting creative or unique enough with your message and you just look like everyone else. Also, who knows if they get a good response on their ads? They may not be.

10. Don’t change design styles with every piece of marketing you create. Strive for a consistent look, keeping the same fonts and logo placement. If you use photos in one ad, don’t use illustrations in another. If you put your logo in the middle of one brochure, don’t put it in the top right corner of another. You get the gist.

Finally, be clear, clean, compelling and consistent. You’ll end up looking and selling like a pro. K! Sawa Marketing can help you cost-effectively design, create, and print all of your marketing materials, brochures, websites, and more! Just ask.

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