Did you know that bad graphic design could cost your business significantly? Trust, reputation, and dollars – the essential things to build your business – are at stake if you have bad graphic design. Whether it’s on your website, merchandise, print marketing materials, social media channels, or products – bad design can ruin your chances of bringing in customers.

Most online entrepreneurs start off with bad graphic design. We all have to start somewhere. But just as you invest in your website or your training in your niche, you need to invest in better graphic design to continue to scale your business and monetize your content.

What are the most significant ways bad graphic design can jeopardize your success? Here’s our list of the top five.

1. Destroys Your First Impression

Whether they realize it or not, that first look matters. A potential customer will take one glance at your website or print materials and decide whether you are credible or not. They will make split-second judgments about how professional you are, how trustworthy you are, how qualified you are, and how well you fit their needs. Unfortunately, this first glance rarely includes your smiling face or firm handshake. Most people will go to websites or social media platforms to investigate a business or company before ever making contact. So what does your first impression tell potential customers? Will they know within 3 seconds whether they want to hire you or not? Will they instantly connect with your brand identity and decide they like your company more than your competition? If you’re not sure, it’s time to take a deeper look at your graphic design. This post will include a list of the most offputting design errors down below, so you can see what you’re doing wrong.

It’s very common for beginner entrepreneurs and business startups to try doing their own graphic design. It seems easier to do everything yourself or keep it in-house. Whether through YouTube tutorials or your friend’s son who has a knack for computers, these methods do not achieve a professional-quality result. If your graphic design looks amateur, potential customers will think your business is amateur.

Don’t let bad design ruin your reputation! That first impression is worth its weight in gold because it can make all the difference between whether a high-paying client chooses you or someone else. People absolutely judge a book by its cover, so let your cover tell the whole story!

2. It’s Impossible to Establish Your Identity

What do you want your first impression to communicate? Your graphics, colors, fonts, and logo help potential customers capture your brand identity with one glance. They will know who you are, what sets you apart, and what you offer. However, with bad design, it can be challenging to communicate your identity without spelling it out. Bad graphic design works against you.

Some graphics might confuse a customer because your aesthetic is basic/neutral and doesn’t communicate anything about who you are. On the other hand, your graphics might communicate something opposite your identity. As a result, potential customers may leave your website thinking you’re something you aren’t. In this way, bad graphic design is dangerous. There are plenty of things online to distract people from your website – so don’t let it be your graphics!

3. Misrepresents You

Bad graphic design can give people entirely the wrong impression about who you are and what you do. Your goal with a logo, website header, brochure, or webpage design is to tell people what to expect from you. If your graphics give them the wrong impression, it can lead to problematic customer interactions if they’re expecting something different from what you do best.

If an educator has comic sans as the font on their website, people might assume they are a teacher for elementary grades rather than adults because of the juvenile tone of the font. Whether a yoga teacher uses neon colors or pastels will cause their customers to question what kind of teacher they are and whether they emphasize relaxation or cardio. If you own a construction company and your logo includes a skyscraper, people who need help with minor home construction might never call. These graphic design elements can help or hurt you, and it’s your job to find an expert that will help you find the difference.

4. Disproves your Credibility

There are many elements that entrepreneurs utilize to prove their credibility. They may include their educational background, job history, or credentials in their bio. They might list trusted websites their work or product has been featured on. They may include testimonials or reviews. And the goal is that their website aesthetic and design presence agrees with each of these.

However, amateur-looking graphics can make even the most convinced customer doubt your expertise. Like one bad review can make people doubt dozens of good reviews, bad design can make people wonder if you’re actually as professional or qualified as you say. This will lead to customer interactions where you’re left having to prove yourself repeatedly. You don’t want that!

Instead, good graphic design can work together with all these elements to make you stand out as the expert in your niche. People will enter into each interaction, convinced you are the best person to go to and clamoring for your time because they’re sure there’s a line. If they’re confident that you’re the best, or your products are the best, they will tell their friends. And in an age of social media where a post like that can go viral overnight, I’ve seen entire product lines sold out from one convincing “word-of-mouth” testimonial. So good graphic design can contribute to convincing people you’re the best, which can give you more success than you realized.

5. Communicates Unprofessionalism

Professionalism matters. It’s all about how people perceive you. They want to know they can trust you, that you’re dependable, and you will deliver what they paid for. Even if your business practices are up to par, your graphics might cause them to doubt. Though this applies to every industry, it’s especially true for copywriters, coaches, bloggers, marketers, or anyone within the digital content space. Even though you don’t need to be good at graphic design to excel in writing or coaching, people will still view your graphics as an example of the quality of your services.

People online don’t necessarily understand that your graphics require skills you may not personally possess. Instead, they see the look of your website or business card, and they make assumptions about the quality of your work. Your aesthetic should ease these fears because it’s top-quality and professional, just like you!

Why Your Graphics are Offputting

Bad Colors

An out-of-date color palette or bad color combination can give people a bad taste in their mouth, even if they can’t put a finger on why. Bad colors give a terrible impression.

Messy Lines

If your lines are messy or your graphics don’t look clean, it gives an impression of hasty last-minute work or unprofessionalism.

Cluttered Appearance

People get visually overstimulated if your graphics are too cluttered or have too many overlapping elements. This will confuse them about your identity, and they may click off your site because it’s overwhelming.

Doesn’t Match Your Brand

If the words on the page say something different than your graphics communicate, your brand identity will come off as disjointed and disconnected. As a result, people may not understand who you are or what you offer.

Seems Unoriginal

If your graphics seem too basic or look like another popular brand, it will leave a bad taste in their mouths because it looks like you’re copying something that’s already been done. Not only that, but they may confuse the identity of another brand with your brand identity.

How to Avoid All These Mistakes

If you don’t want the bad graphic design to cost your business, it’s best to find an expert to help get it right the first time. This will save you hours of frustration, and the money you spend will be more than repaid as your business grows. Without this, poor color choices, homegrown logos, and amataur layouts will all slowly errode your credibility. Even if customers aren’t thinking it’s a bad design, there is something about it they wont like.

As you work with a professional, it’s essential to communicate your vision clearly. Check out our other posts on this page to learn what you need to know to establish your brand identity. As you communicate with your designer, it’s also important to trust their process. Let them do what they do best so that your website doesn’t fall into the trap of bad graphic design. Here are a few tips to remember as you go through this process:

  • Trust their professional judgment
  • Be clear on what you want
  • Communicate your brand identity plainly
  • Be flexible with exact details
  • Be specific about what you do/don’t like
  • Be open to their feedback and willing to embrace changes
  • Let them do what they do best

Ultimately, working with an expert is a collaborative process. There might be elements on your wishlist that will work against your ultimate goal. A graphic designer will be able to tell you if you’re asking for bad colors or graphics that confuse your brand identity. As you work with an expert, you’ll be able to avoid altogether these top five mistakes that will cost your business. Now, your design can help your business grow like never before!

Since aesthetics mean so much to today’s generation of consumers, even the most low-tech entrepreneur could use a few design tips. We’ve got you covered. As a graphic design company with over 50 years of combined experience designing websites and graphics for entrepreneurs and business owners, we know what it takes to keep up with today’s trends. These are our top ten tips to keep your graphics looking clean and professional in today’s marketplace.

1. Keep It Simple

People often believe that graphics need to be complex to look professional. This simply isn’t true. Keeping your designs minimalistic makes them easier to use in a variety of contexts while maintaining that clean crisp look that draws the eye. Think about the simple shapes, lines, colors, and fonts that your favorite brands use. How can you replicate that simplicity for your brand identity? Stay away from complicated overlays, photographs, and unreadable text or colors that will distract people from who you are and what you offer.

2. Be Consistent with Colors and Fonts

If you could summarize your brand identity in just a few words, what would you say? Is your brand modern, adventurous, rustic, or colorful? Identifying some key adjectives surrounding your identity will help you stay consistent throughout your web presence and print materials. If you run an accounting firm, you probably don’t want to use a childlike crayon font. If you own a sporting goods brand, you want to stay away from scrolling cursive fonts. The same holds true for colors. If you’re marketing to young women, rustic browns probably won’t communicate your identity effectively. Similarly, A baby clothing brand might want to avoid harsh neons. Whatever tone you choose for your branding – be consistent across the board.

3. Don’t Use Too Many Graphics or Icons

When it comes to promoting your company, it’s easy to get overly excited. You could fill a vision board with graphics that fit with your company’s vision. But be careful! If you use too many, people get visually overwhelmed and can’t make sense of what they’re looking at. For a logo, just use one image concept. Don’t try to combine too many or it will no longer make sense. On
your website, keep it simple. You can add some images or graphics that help set the tone, but don’t fill every square inch. People need negative space and simplicity so they keep scrolling and want to learn more.

4. Use Script Fonts Sparingly (and never in all caps)

We like to play around with fancy fonts. It’s just fun. But when you’re establishing a brand identity, you need to prioritize readability. If customers can’t read the words you post, it’s going to be pretty hard to connect with them. One of the most notoriously hard to read font styles is script fonts. These are the fonts that look like handwriting or cursive. They are often thin and have a lot of extra curly wisps at the ends of letters and sentences. Use these fonts very sparingly, if at all. This is not the type of font that you want to use for your main website copy or slogan. And if you use a script font, never use it in all capital letters. These fonts weren’t designed to be in all caps, and it often makes them even harder to read. If you’re using a script font for a main title or heading, make sure you don’t play too much with the letter spacing or distance. This can make it look awkward and minimize the handwriting effect that you were aiming for to begin with.

5. Have Someone Other Than You Critique Your Work

We are our own worst critics, but sometimes we’re also our own worst enablers. We know how much work and passion went into a project, so sometimes it is hard for us to see the flaws that exist. Getting an extra pair of eyes to look at your work and give feedback can help you see your website or brand through a newcomer’s eyes. Maybe the colors you used don’t fit the vibe. Or maybe it’s harder to read the fonts than you realized. Getting an outside opinion can help you cover all your bases so you don’t run into problems later on.

6. Make a Folder of Logos or Brands You Love

Especially when you’re just establishing your brand or going through a rebranding process, it’s easy to get lost in the details. If you find yourself overwhelmed with all the options for colors or fonts to use, take a break. Spend a few minutes collecting the logos, shapes, and colors used by your favorite brands and put them all in one folder. Then spend some time looking them over together. What common themes do you see? Are there similar color schemes? Do they use a similar font design? Are there specific lines or shapes among the logos? This exercise will help you cut through the overwhelming amount of options to identify what you like and what elements your eye is drawn to.

7. Don’t Feel Obligated to Use a Friend of a Friend

If your friend’s son is going to school for graphic design, you shouldn’t feel automatically obligated to use him. This is your professional brand and the quality matters. It’s easy to take shortcuts or cut costs, but you usually get what you pay for. You don’t want your brand to lose credibility with your customers because it looks like an amateur did it. When you’re seeking help
to establish your brand identity and get professional assistance designing your logo, do your research. Look at the portfolio of past projects a designer has done and see if they align with your vision. Find someone who you are confident can deliver the professional results that you want as an established business owner with a reputable brand.

8. Don’t Do It Yourself

Unless you have training in graphic design, trying to achieve your vision by yourself will only result in stress and frustration. It’s easy to have a picture in your head of what you want, but without the skills to achieve it, it’s hard to make your vision a reality without help. As an entrepreneur, your driven can-do attitude has gotten you far. There’s a lot that you’ve done on your own. But graphic design doesn’t need to be just another item on your to-do list to make you feel overwhelmed. All of the best entrepreneurs have learned how and when to delegate or outsource complex tasks. Instead of spending dozens of hours frustrated at your computer, let a designer spend a couple of hours doing it for you. They have the skills to make your vision a reality in just a few clicks!

9. Spend Your Money Where It Counts

As an entrepreneur, you have to prioritize. You have a limited budget and a seemingly unlimited list of things you could spend it on. So how do you decide where to allocate those funds? Prioritize the items that will draw in more patrons and convert them to paying customers. A logo is often the first impression that people have of your brand. If it’s amateur-looking and clunky, they could click off your website without giving it a second glance. If there’s money to be spent drawing in customers, a professional logo design will be one of your greatest assets.

10. Hire a Graphic Designer

Once you’ve thought through all the elements that draw your eye, what colors you prefer, and what tone your brand portrays, hiring a graphic designer is the easiest way to upgrade your web presence almost instantly. There are tons of branding professionals and social media managers that can help with the upkeep once you establish your brand, but you should start with a solid logo and brand guide. A graphic designer can help you get started. Instead of spending the next ten months dreaming of what you want, why not hire a designer today and take real achievable steps towards your goals? As an entrepreneur, making feasible plans to move towards your vision will help you keep building momentum for your business. Turn that vision into a reality by working directly with a designer to receive a logo you can use on all of your web pages, social media posts and merchandise for years to come!

As graphic design professionals, we’ve seen people fall into the same pitfalls over and over. To help you avoid repeating these same mistakes, we compiled this top ten list to give you the easiest next steps to take. Follow these 10 tips and your business can be booming with customers who love your eye-catching brand. Instead of presenting amateur designs and clunky colors that make potential customers doubt your credentials, you can show up every day with graphics that build their trust and increase their confidence. As you navigate the tricky obstacles of running a business and establishing a reputable online presence, let us keep the graphic design process easy so you can focus on the things that matter most! If you have questions about how to get started with a designer, click here.

Being an entrepreneur or business owner isn’t what it used to be. Back in the day, business owners just had to worry about the everyday logistics of keeping the business running. Occasionally an ad might run in the local newspaper, or a sale might bring customers to your brick and mortar storefront. But with the growth of the online marketplace, everything has changed.

In some ways, it has changed for good. Now, people can run businesses remotely from all over the world or connect with clients from the comfort of home. The ease of being an online entrepreneur offers opportunities that didn’t exist fifty years ago. But with all these benefits, some advancements can still feel overwhelming and out of reach. Without any background in web design or social media, it’s hard to keep up with the ever-shifting market trends. And without someone tech-savvy to help, sometimes it can feel like the online marketplace is moving faster than you can keep up with. Sound relatable?

Today’s consumers have come to expect a certain aesthetic and ease of use when they arrive at your website or interact with your brand. If they don’t capture the heart of who you are in just a few clicks, they will go to someone else. Clunky logos and amateur graphic design can be deal-breakers.

We Can Help!

As professionals with over 50 years of combined experience in the graphic design industry, we know the struggle. At Soapbox Studio, Inc. We are passionate about helping brands find their perfect look to HELP and not HURT their company growth. We help brands replace their amateur designs with a professionally curated logo, so their credibility doesn’t crumble.

With decades of experience catalyzing company sales with seamless designs, we have collected all the best tips to answer the right questions about your unique logo and brand identity in our Logo Rx Brainstorming Guide. This free download walks you through every element you need to think about, especially if you don’t know where to start. Through this guide, you can establish a brand identity that is polished and credible enough to draw in your dream customers with a single glance.

So many brands take shortcuts and skimp on budgets that cause their company to suffer. Why hire your friend who has no graphic design training to tackle this problem when industry professionals have free resources just a click away?

What is included in the Logo Rx Brainstorming Guide?

 

How to Make an Excellent First Impression

A first impression is sometimes all the time you have to draw in your ideal customer, so making a good one matters. Within this guide, you’ll find a list of the most important elements to ensure you make the best first impression possible.

Brand Identity Brainstorming Exercises

Do you know the right questions to ask yourself? With this brain dump exercise, you’ll be able to get all your thoughts out on paper, so you know where to start. By brainstorming with some questions from industry professionals, you will be able to dream big about the right things instead of getting lost in the abstract.

Refining Your Company Name

Are you confident that your name draws in the right customers? This segment will help you put your name and all identifying characteristics on paper to make sure your brand identity is being communicated clearly and articulately.

Your Brand Tagline

Do you have a tagline? Do you know the importance of a slogan? This is one of those little details that most people forget but can make a big difference. If you’re creating a logo, your graphic designer will want to create some logo options that include your tagline and some options without, communicating your identity in more ways than one. This provides you with a versatile brand package for any situation that arises, so you don’t have to Photoshop your tagline in as an afterthought.

Your Website

If you have a website set up, that’s a great start. But, depending on your goals, you may want more than a home page. For example, a landing page for your product can help increase sales, and a variety of web pages with more information can build your credibility. In addition, listing all your web pages can help you identify where you want to send potential customers, so they are engaged with your brand from the first click.

Choosing Your Brand Colors

If you don’t yet have brand colors, this exercise will help you research trending palettes to see what options exist. The guide also includes a breakdown of the emotions, connotations, and benefits of using each color. This segment will help you identify which colors express the essence of your brand so that your colors will work with your tagline, title, and logo design instead of against it.

Thinking Through Fonts

Fonts are another small detail that is easy to overlook. This segment will inspire you to research and select the perfect fonts for your headline, tagline, body copy, and other copy on your website or print materials. Instead of getting overwhelmed by all the options, this section of our guide will encourage you to keep it simple.

Finding Your Perfect Logo Design

While you may not be a graphic design guru, you probably know what kinds of logos you like and don’t like. This segment encourages you to copy your favorite logos and put them all in one place so you can see what they have in common. Once you see which logos catch your eye, you’ll have a better idea of what elements you’d like included in your company logo.

With this brainstorming guide in your toolbelt, you’ll be able to communicate what you want so a graphic designer can create precisely the logo your company needs. Then, instead of feeling stumped or overwhelmed, you’ll already have examples to show your favorite options. Download our brainstorming guide HERE to get started.

Or, if you’ve already done your own brainstorming, you can skip right to hiring our designers so you can have your own professional logo in no time! If you feel confident in what you want but don’t have the skills to make your vision a reality, we can help. Hire our designers HERE to catapult your brand’s credibility and help you draw in your dream clients. When it comes to more money in the bank, there’s no reason to wait. In about a week, you can have your logo launched, and your company’s look polished to perfection so that a customer never wants to click over to your competitor’s website again!

Branding requires consistency. When you have a defined identity, communicating that identity clearly every time, is what makes branding important. As fun as it might be to change up your look, it can confuse your customers and make them wonder if they came to the right place. As you’re establishing your brand colors and designs, it’s crucial not to forget the significance of fonts in establishing the tone of your company. If this seems complicated, we’ve compiled all the information you need to know to get started.

If you’re just at the beginning of establishing your brand identity, you’ll need to decide a few things before you find fonts:

  • The name of your brand or company
  • Who your target audience is
  • What you do
  • What sets you apart
  • The tone of your brand
  • Colors that represent what you stand for
  • A logo design that encapsulates this identity

To help you think through these elements, we’ve created a downloadable pdf called Logo RX. This guide will walk you through every question you need to be asking yourself so you don’t miss any crucial details while you establish your company’s brand identity.

The last two items on the list are not necessarily prerequisites to picking a font, but they help you choose elements representing your identity. As you establish the tone of your brand, it’s important not to pick the colors and fonts that you personally prefer. Just because you like the look of a font doesn’t mean it communicates your brand identity well. Of course, your preferences can be a part of your design, as long as they align well with the company’s core values. Combined with a solid logo and website design, the tone of your font can make your branding feel more consistent, streamlined, and clear.

So, do you know what tone communicates your brand identity best?

Some words to choose from might be:

  • Accessible
  • Ambitious
  • Approachable
  • Beauty-centric
  • Bold
  • Bright
  • Calm
  • Casual
  • Cheerful
  • Classic
  • Conservative
  • Contemporary
  • Convenient
  • Cool
  • Creative
  • Cultured
  • Custom
  • Cutting-edge
  • Delicate
  • Delightful
  • Dynamic
  • Easy
  • Efficient
  • Elegant
  • Enduring
  • Energetic
  • Exclusive
  • Familiar
  • Fashion-forward
  • Fearless
  • Flexible
  • Formal
  • Fresh
  • Friendly
  • Fun
  • Functional
  • Generous
  • Gentle
  • Harmonious
  • Helpful
  • Honorable
  • Human
  • Industrious
  • Informal
  • Instinctive
  • Innovative
  • Inviting
  • Knowledgable
  • Lovely
  • Mature
  • Modern
  • Natural
  • Noble
  • No-nonsense
  • Original
  • Peaceful
  • Personable
  • Plain
  • Playful
  • Polished
  • Professional
  • Quirky
  • Reflective
  • Reliable
  • Romantic
  • Rustic
  • Secure
  • Serious
  • Sincere
  • Sleek
  • Sophisticated
  • Spiritual
  • Thoughtful
  • Thrifty
  • Timeless
  • Trendy
  • Trustworthy
  • Unique
  • Unconventional
  • Vivacious
  • Versatile
  • Warm
  • Wise
  • Witty
  • Zany

 

Once you’ve identified a few of these words to describe your brand’s identity, you will want to browse through different fonts to find a type format that communicates this tone. Every brand needs the fonts they choose to be easy-to-read, not too familiar, and operational in all colors.

Easy-to-Read

If you choose a font that is too thin, too thick, too spread apart, too italicized, too swirly, or too artistic, it may not be the best font for your brand. If a font is too hard to read, you will not clearly communicate your identity. You want someone to tell exactly what your wording says, whether it’s plastered on a billboard or written in 10—point font on a business card. To check if a font is easy to read, you can significantly increase and decrease the font size. You may have a different font for headlines or titles than you have for subtitles or slogans. In fact, many brands do. But in either case, you need to find a font that is easy to read.

Not Too Common

Obviously, you don’t need to select a crazy font with a strange look to stand out, but if it’s too common, it might look like a third-grader chose it. Think of the most common fonts like Arial, Calibri, New Times Roman, Georgia, Cambria, Impact, and Comic Sans. These are fonts easily accessible in Word processors and frequently used for education, writing, and everyday purposes. If you select one of these fonts for your brand, you will be perceived as ordinary and uncreative. It may also make people think you are less credible because you used the first font on the list.

Works in All Colors

Some fonts have cutouts or utilize negative space as part of the design. These fonts can look cool but are often designed to be black with a white background. If you change the background color or the font color, are the words still legible? Does the design still look cool? Or is it evident that the font was not created with this purpose in mind? Little details like this can make a difference for your audience. If you make a glaring mistake like this, they may not think you care about the details or can provide a professional-quality product or result.

Why Does Font Impact Credibility?

Your credibility as a company is one of your most valuable assets. There will always be external influences that impact how people view you. These might be out of your control. However, you want to be certain every choice you make improves your credibility. Choosing an appropriate font has the power to do this.

If your company gives people legal advice or helps them produce contracts to minimize liabilities, using comic sans as a font could destroy your credibility. People will think of your company as childish, unprofessional, immature, and unpolished. These words confuse your audience and oppose your company’s core values.

If you own a fashion company that is simple, feminine, modern, and dainty, you should not use a thick or rustic font. Using Impact or Roboto Mono will create the wrong impression. People will take one look at your text and make decisions about whether they like your brand based on text that is giving off the wrong connotations. Similarly, if you are a masculine and rigged brand, using a cursive and curly font will communicate the opposite message.

While these are extreme examples, they do extend to more subtle fonts. In addition, there are different categories of fonts that you can select from, and each carries connotations that can help or hurt your brand.

Serif and Sans Serif Fonts

Serif is a title that refers to the tiny “feet” at the ends of letters. Sans Serif is “without feet” and is the category of fonts we use on this site. A typewriter font is a serif font because it includes these extra strokes. Many Serif fonts are perceived as more formal, classic, and official. Without the extra strokes, Sans serif fonts are viewed as more simple, modern, informal, and elegant. We typically try and stay away from using serif fonts as all caps in headlines because it makes the copy harder to read. If you want to use all caps to capture attention in that way stick with a sans serif font.

Bold or Italicized

While many basic fonts have bold or italicized options, some fonts were created with these features in mind. A bold font gives a strong impression that is perceived as unyielding and confident. On the other hand, an italicized font can be perceived as more fancy, suggestive, quoted copy and elegant. Write out your title or slogan and see how it looks with these different features applied.

Script or Handwritten Fonts

Fonts that were designed to look like handwriting can be a fun addition, but should be used sparingly. These fonts are better to use as accent than a main staple. They are good for logos but not for large amounts of copy. By using a handwriting accent, your brand can be perceived as more creative or eye catching. However, with these kinds of fonts less it more. Never use one with all caps or letter spacing because it makes you look unprofessional.

Boxy or Curvy

For some of the more subtle fonts, you’ll want to pay attention to the lines. Are they straight and boxy, or curved and rounded? Each type of line communicates differently about your brand. Straight lines are more modern and straightforward. Curved fonts are more unique and creative. The boxiest fonts look technical and robotic, while the most rounded fonts mimic handwriting and feel more casual. Try some fonts out and see how your brand title looks in different font styles.

All Caps, Lowercase, Sentence Case, and Title Case

This might not even be something you’ve thought about, but different brands utilize this element to communicate their brand identity all the time. Using all caps is bold, unapologetic, and easy to read. Using all lowercase is a bit unconventional, informal, and casual. It would be best to avoid all lowercase with an older audience. Sentence case, with the first letter capitalized and everything else lowercase, is very standard and classic and commonly used in body copy. Title case is when all words except for articles, conjunctions, and short prepositions are capitalized and most commonly used in longer headlines or sometimes bullet points. In this paragraph, the title “All Caps, Lowercase, Sentence Case, and Title Case” is Title Case and the rest of the paragraph is Sentence Case.

Font Combinations

Most brands utilize more than one font in their brand guidelines. For example, they might use one or two fonts in their logo, and another one or two for their standard font on the website or print materials. You don’t necessarily have to use your logo font on your print material. In fact, many companies do not since their logo is very specialized or sometimes custom created. So the logo font is kept special for the logo. You can work with a graphic designer or brand specialist to help identify what fonts are appropriate for your communications. If you’re curious, try a few different font combinations out and see how they look together. A good rule of thumb is not to use more than two fonts in a logo. If you have one really unique font, you’ll want the others to be simple so that people don’t feel visually overwhelmed.

Your font can be a powerful communicator of your brand identity in combination with your logo design, brand colors, and website design. With the right font choice, you can communicate your company’s tone and establish credibility with your target audience. With one glance, your customers or clients will understand who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Instead of using fonts and colors that work against you, the right choices will build trust and set you apart from the competition.

If you are stuck selecting fonts, talk with a designer to identify how to tie those fonts in with the colors and designs that your brand is already using. Ultimately, communication is in so much more than the words you use, and a font will build credibility for your brand in more ways than one! For targeted help choosing the elements that will work best for your brand, check out our Logo RX brainstorming guide. This free downloadable guide will help you think through all elements of your logo and brand identity from the colors to the design to the fonts. For more specialized help, check out our Logo Rx program to develop a professional logo and brand design with the help of a professional so you don’t get lost in the details.

Colors shape our understanding of what’s true, what’s valuable, what’s important, and what we like. We have favorite colors. There are colors that make us feel certain emotions. There are colors that remind us of good or bad memories. So naturally, in finding the right colors for your company brand, color choice is important.

Brand Identity

Since a logo design is so integral to establishing your brand identity, colors will play a vital role in the process. As you think about your brand, you should think strategically about which colors may align with the values and essence of your company. Not only do colors have the power to persuade buyers or establish loyalty, but in choosing the wrong color, there is also a potential that your target market may overlook your brand completely.

For example, a friend of mine recently commented on a restaurant she saw. They served fried food and meat, but their main brand color was green. My friend commented on how the color green paired with this type of restaurant felt very unappetizing to her, where it might have felt more appropriate for a salad shop or health food store. In this instance, the brand color repelled her from becoming a customer of that restaurant.

To identify the perfect colors to select for your brand, we have compiled everything you need to know about color theory for company brand guides.

Color Theory

Color theory refers to the study of which colors pair well together, the visual and emotional impact of specific colors or combinations, and the way hues and tones communicate. You may decide that your brand would be best suited in the color red. However, you must specify whether a rustic deep red or a bright vibrant red is more suitable. These questions can feel overwhelming for someone who is not well versed in the graphic design industry, so we’ve included a detailed explanation below to help you know what questions to ask.

The Psychology of Color

We can’t discuss color theory for very long before psychology comes up. Colors have a huge influence on our emotions. Certain colors can be tied to feelings of trust, reliability, affection, or happiness. While other colors may be tied to feelings of boredom, anger, sadness, greed, or panic. Understanding this psychology can help you to establish credibility with your target audience.

Cool Colors vs. Warm Colors

Cool colors tend to be blue, green, purple, neutral, and gray. Warm colors include red, pink, yellow, orange, and brown. However, the tone or hue of each color can have cooler or warmer undertones that can make even a warm color look cool or vice versa. Cool colors tend to give feelings of peace, tranquility, and nature. Warm colors give feelings of affection and excitement or vibrancy (which can incorporate negative things like rage or betrayal), but can also contain much more heightened positive feelings. Do you want your brand identity to feel calm and natural or lively and exciting? A mattress company would want to use relaxing colors while a skydiving company would probably use more vibrant hues.

Red, Orange, and Yellow

The psychology of these warm tones, in general, signifies more energetic feelings, but each color in itself has its own visual effect. Red symbolizes power, confidence, ambition, passion, energy, and warmth. More negatively, it can also symbolize danger, anger, and aggression. If you want to use the color that evokes the strongest emotion, red is the perfect choice. Orange is happy, attention-grabbing, playful, sporty, enthusiastic, and spiritual. Though it can sometimes make people think your products are inexpensive, it can also make people think of sunsets and beautiful lighting. Orange is also a common color used among sports teams. Yellow represents  sun, warmth, energy, cheerfulness, positivity, and alertness. The color can be abrasive, though, and instigate visual frustration or fatigue. Yellow tends to be a color that people either love or hate, so it should be used with intention.

Green & Blue

Green is a very natural color that brings up images of growing trees or plants. It signifies health, balance, growth, money, nature, safety, and clarity. Occasionally it can also make people think of greed, jealousy, envy, or illness. However, especially in the wellness industry, people prefer green packaging because it makes them feel healthier. Blue is calm, productive, stable, peaceful, inspiring, and sincere. It can also denote tones of sadness, loneliness, or gloom. It tends to be one of the most unappetizing colors to use for food companies or restaurant branding. Though it is a great non-threatening color, it also tends to be one of the most popular colors used, so be wary of oversaturation.

Purple & Pink

Purple makes people feel creative, regal, imaginative, brave, courageous, and emphasizes fantasy. This color can also invoke emotions like frustration or sadness, and it can be a polarizing color since some consider it to be more feminine. Pink is similar in its association with the feminine, or the affinity for girly things. However, pink can also be romantic, nurturing, joyful, calming, vibrant, and fresh. It can be seen as childlike or vulnerable but can be very effective with a female audience.

Brown, Black, & White

Neutrals do not always make a big emotional impact, but they are very good to use for contrast or to keep things classic and basic. Brown is natural, earthy, conservative, reliable, serious, and represents security. Black is dark, bold, classic, luxurious, and often used for text. White is light, bright, pure, clean, and can be great to provide negative space. These neutrals are wonderful to use in text, bold and simple lines, or very modern logo styles. Metallics like gold, silver, and bronze can be used as accents to communicate luxury or draw the eye.

Feminine vs. Masculine Colors

There are certain colors and tones that are culturally viewed as feminine or masculine colors. And just the association with gender can form your audience’s view of the product. Feminine things are often more associated with beauty, vulnerability, simplicity, nurturing, fashion, gracefulness, elegance, and resilience. Masculine things are seen as rugged, large, strong, confident, durable, cool, suave, and bold. These stereotypes can work for your brand or against it, but they are important to keep in mind especially if your color palette is going to emphasize one. Is your target audience a specific gender? How can you cater to their needs and interests through your branding? If your target audience isn’t specifically gendered, would it suit your brand to use more neutral colors, or might it be beneficial to create mental connotations tied into these colors?

Colors Suited to Your Industry

As we’ve stated, every color can invoke subconscious impressions. This can be especially true in specific industries. The wellness industry leans heavily on calming colors like blues, greens, or neutrals. However, very passionate invigorating colors like red might not be as popular. Comparatively, shades of red, orange, and yellow would be very popular in the food industry, especially when cooler colors feel unappetizing. Blue tends to be a popular color for travel companies and credit cards. Black is a prevalent color in the automotive industry, the apparel industry, and the entertainment industry. To select the most appropriate colors for your logo, this kind of research for industry specific norms will make all the difference.

The Color Wheel & Complementary Colors

As you’re selecting colors for your logo and branding, it might be helpful to look at an extensive color wheel like this one

Upon first glance, you might be able to tell what colors you’re most drawn to, or most align with your company’s mission. Beyond that, the visual exercise of utilizing this color wheel can help you identify which shades or hues of a specific color might be preferable to you. And since most brands use more than one color, a color wheel can help you see which colors look good together. The colors right next to each other will pair well based on their similar undertones. You can also select complementary colors, which are often opposite each other on the wheel. These colors are different, but pair well together and are pleasing to the eye.

Picking a Palette

As you select multiple palettes, a graphic designer would likely work with you to choose a color palette for your brand. This often includes the main colors in your logo or branding, but can also include lighter, darker, or more neutral shades that you might use on your website or marketing materials. If this process feels foreign to you, there are dozens of tools that can help. One that we find incredibly useful is coolors.co. This website has hundreds of palettes to browse through and also has suggestions to help you see what you like. You can build your own palette or save palettes others have made, so you have something to go back to as you work on your own branding materials.

Overall, while choosing colors for your logo can be overwhelming, having a broader knowledge of color theory can help. If you can identify what you want your target audience to feel about your brand, it can be fairly straightforward which colors will invoke those emotions. With the right colors, your brand will pop, and your customers will be drawn to you. Knowing what you know now, you can utilize the power of color to curate a brand guide that’s unforgettable.

If you’re starting a new business or refining your brand identity, you need a good logo. But what makes a logo good? Unfortunately, there’s an infinite amount of information on the internet with conflicting messages about this, so it can feel overwhelming. But as graphic design professionals with over 50 combined years of experience creating effective logos for all industries, we’ve assembled everything you need to know about what makes a successful logo in one place!

Simplistic

The worst thing a logo can be is complicated. A logo is meant to tell your brand’s story at a quick glance. If someone has to stare at it for more than 30 seconds to understand what it’s saying about your company’s identity, it won’t be effective. You need a simple logo. Think of examples like the Nike swoosh or the Taco Bell bell. Without a single word, you can see one image and know what it symbolizes. It may even get to the point where you can see the McDonald’s M and start craving french fries. That’s the power of an effective logo.

Memorable

You might not be able to instantly remember a company’s tagline, mission, or advertising campaign – but if it’s done right, you should remember its logo. No one would mistake Apple’s logo for any other company. You can identify Target’s red circles without a single word. If I asked you to remember the Starbucks logo, it would be effortless. That’s because these logos are memorable. You need your logo to have its own distinct style so that when people think of your company, they remember your logo.

Identifying

The Burger King logo tells you that you can expect a burger. The YouTube logo indicates that you will be pressing play on a video. Not only do these logos indicate what their brand is about, but they encapsulate the company’s identity. If you want your company to be known as the best option within your industry, your logo can have the power to make people think of you when their specific need arises. For example, when someone wants to watch an engaging football game, they know they can go to the NFL every time.

Timeless

If you want your brand to stand the test of time, you need your logo to be timeless. You don’t want to have to rebrand every five years. Apart from wasting money, that can also confuse customers or clients about your identity. For example, if the Superman “S” changed all the time, he wouldn’t seem like such a timeless superhero. Part of a timeless logo is choosing fonts and colors that will not feel outdated in a few years. Our team of designers is well versed in color theory and can help you pick a color palette that feels both modern and timeless.

Font Specificity

If every logo was written in Comic Sans, you might not take the brands very seriously. However, if a kid’s crayon or chalk brand was written like that, you would gain a better understanding of their niche. Choosing your font carefully can help your brand stand out from the rest. When you get a Subway sandwich, you don’t see bread on the sign anywhere. But you know that “Subway” will always be written the same way, so their sign makes you think of a sandwich. Walmart’s identity wouldn’t be the same without its font, either. It is important to use a font that pairs well with your company’s story, whether it feels modern, elegant, colorful, feminine, rustic, or bold.

Color Palette

Choosing a color palette for your logo requires more than just picking a collection of favorite colors. Color theory dictates that different colors can activate different emotions for people. For example, using a pale blue communicates something very different from a neon blue. And knowing how to combine colors to compliment each other and work together is important, especially in logo design.

Distinction

A good logo communicates your company identity. But it’s a great logo if it sets you apart from your competition. Your logo can show your customers who you are and distinguish your company from others in the industry that provide similar products or services. Not only will it help people think of you as their best option, but it’s a great marketing tool. Think of all the free advertising that could come from a product with your logo on it. More people buy Adidas clothing when people see others walking around wearing Adidas. When you drive your Toyota truck through the mud, people start to associate the Toyota logo with a product that’s durable and dependable.

Relevance

While you don’t want your logo to look outdated, it also needs to be timeless by appearing relevant to current needs and events. People want to depend on a brand or company that solves their current problem. A relevant logo can ensure that they come to you. Creating a logo that feels fresh and modern without sacrificing its timelessness will gain credibility with your customers. If they see a logo design that feels rudimentary or amateur, one glance will tell them that you’re not proficient at what you do and not equipped to help them fill their needs.

Adaptability

We want your company to grow and change without feeling locked in or limited. A versatile logo can help you do this without having to rebrand as you grow. We deliver your logo in a variety of formats so that you can use it in every form you need. Sometimes you just need the image. Other times, you may want to pair your logo image with your company name or slogan. And if you want it to look less like clip art and more like a professional design, you’ll need a variety of formats to fit your needs.

Professional

To be taken seriously by your customers, you need a logo that is professional and designed well. If you’ve had a picture in your mind of what you want but don’t have the time or skills to design it yourself, Soapbox Studio can help. Rather than resorting to primitive design tools or amateur results, we will work with you to create the logo you’ve been dreaming of, without all the frustration of napkin pencil sketches and late-night Google searches. So leave it to us, and we’ll develop everything your company needs to stand out, look professional and credible.

Who Are We?

Soapbox Studio is comprised of two designers, Tracey and Justin. Tracey founded the company in 1997, and together with Justin, they have over 50 years of combined experience producing excellent designs for every demand. When you work with Soapbox, you have the assurance that you will be working directly with the designer from start to finish without going through a middle man. You know your designer’s name, and you know you’re working with a US-based team that you can trust. We prioritize a personalized experience based on collaboration so that your vision is achieved. If this experience sounds like what you’ve been looking for, contact us to get started. A professionally designed logo will make you look as good as you really are.