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!

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!

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.