Avoid These 10 Design Disasters When Creating Your Business’ Marketing Materials

By Katrina Sawa


Have you ever noticed how many articles there are relating to creating your own marketing materials? These articles concentrate on areas a business owner “should do,” offering
such clever advice as “know your audience,” “say it with pictures” or “write clearly and distinctly.” This is not bad advice. However, you should also know what not to do.  This article focuses on just that. More specifically, it will address what most ‘do-it-yourselfers’ are tempted to, but should not do.

What Not to Do When Designing Marketing Pieces Yourself – Avoid These 10 Design Disasters When You Create Your Own Materials.

  1. Don’t enlarge your logo so that it is the main focus of the page.
    Your logo features the name of your company and is
    important. However, it is not the main point. Remember,
    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. If your customer is interested in
    what you are selling or promoting, they will look on the
    marketing material to find where they can purchase the
    product and/or service. 
  2. Don’t place your logo in the text of your piece.
    Of course, it is acceptable to use the name of your company
    in the text of any of your marketing materials. However,
    avoid inserting your actual logo into a headline or text of
    your materials. 
  3. Don’t use too many fonts.
    When you begin to build your materials, be sure to use
    fonts sparingly. Choose one or two fonts to use throughout
    the materials in order to establish your brand. Your font
    choices should be consistent with your image and your
    industry. Note that cursive and creative fonts are often
    hard to read. Understand your audience’s ability to read
    your materials and ensure that they still stand out. 
  4. Don’t use color indiscriminately.
    More color does not necessarily make something more
    appealing. Often it does just opposite and makes it loud
    and annoying. When someone screams at you, do you want to
    listen or run away? The same is true for your materials –
    you want to ensure your reader reads on and does not stop
    because of an overuse of color and/or poor design. Most,
    if not all, of your text should be the same color,
    preferably black for readability or red for a call to
    action to key items. For a unique look, try duotone
    photographs or print in two colors. If you plan to use
    full color on a piece be sure that you utilize the selected
    color instead of just using color in your logo, for
    example, and nowhere else; That would just be costly and a
    waste of color. On the flip side, try not to use too many
    colors in the text; For example, I have seen business cards
    that had 5-7 colors in the text. I found it difficult to
    read and/or follow and found that nothing stood out. 
  5. Don’t be redundant.
    Be sure that you do not repeat the name of your industry or
    product in your company name, your tagline or your headline
    throughout a given piece. Potential customers already know
    your industry. Restating it implies you do not. 
  6. Don’t choose low-quality or low-resolution photography.
    A photograph may look great in an album, but unless it
    features a proper balance of lighting and good composition,
    it is not print-worthy. Photos need to be at least 300 dpi
    to render a professional print. 
  7. Don’t fill up every inch of white space on the page.
    White space, or negative space, brings focus to what is
    important on the page. It also and gives the reader’s eye
    a rest. You may have a lot to say, but placing it all into
    one space creates chaos and minimizes the impact of what is
    being conveyed to the reader. It will visually overwhelm
    the reader as well — think less, not more. Remember, you
    have a Web site (or should have) that your reader’s can
    visit 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
    offering relevant to your audience by emphasizing its
    benefits, not its features. Otherwise, it would be like
    going to a party and talking about yourself all night. That
    is not exactly the best way to win friends or gain
    customers. Your heading and your message must hit your
    target market’s ‘hot buttons’ and get them to think about
    what is in it for them? 
  9. Don’t do exactly what your competitors are doing.
    When you are positioning your product, it is important to
    know your competition. However, do not copy them. Instead,
    determine what your customers want and what they are
    attracted to. Stand out without sticking out. If you can
    take your logo and place it in your competitor’s ad and it
    applies and vice versa then you are not getting creative or
    unique enough. Your message will look just look like your
    competitions’. Besides, do you really know if your
    competitors are getting good response on their ads? Maybe
    they are not. 
  10. Don’t change design styles with every marketing piece
    you create.
    Strive for a consistent look and feel, keeping the same
    fonts and logo placement, throughout your marketing
    campaigns. If you use photos in one ad, do not use just
    illustrations in another. If you place your logo in the
    middle of one brochure, do not place in at the top-right
    corner in another.

Finally, do be clear, clean, compelling and consistent. You will end up looking, and selling, like a pro.

About the Author:

Copyright 2008 K.Sawa Marketing. Katrina Sawa is an Award-Winning Relationship Marketing Coach who’s helped hundreds of small business owners take dramatic steps in their businesses to get them to the next level in business, revenues and life. She offers one-on-one coaching, group coaching and do-it-yourself marketing planning products. Go online now to get started with her Free Report and Free Audio at: www.JumpStartYourMarketing.com

About the Author Mikel Erdman

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