The practice of graphic design is more accessible than ever before. Programs like Canva and Photoshop are available for anyone to use. For many first-time designers, however, it’s not navigating or learning the programs that they have trouble with. Rather, it is the various rules and principles of design that can sometimes trip up non-experienced users. 

Here at Adriana Lacy Consulting, we understand the importance of great graphic design for your brand or newsroom. That’s why we offer comprehensive and unique design services that can help shape your brand for the better. Many of our clients already have basic graphic design or branding experience when they come to us, but their potential needs to be maximized. We can help make these emerging brands even better by alleviating all-too-common mistakes that first-time designers make when establishing branding guidelines. 

One of the experts that can help with this is Katie Metz. She is a graphic designer with Adriana Lacy Consulting that makes great illustrations and marketing material for both us and our clientele. We recently spoke to her about some of the most common mistakes she encounters and what first-time designers should keep in mind.

Lack of Brand Consistency

The Problem: Branding is critical to the success of any business because it is how customers or readers best remember you. Because of this, it’s imperative that you have a consistent brand complete with color schemes, fonts, page layouts, and other predetermined elements. However, some businesses and newsrooms might not have a consistent brand, instead using different elements that might not work well together.  

Katie’s Advice: “Have a set of brand guidelines and stick to it. Limit font and color choices to just a few of each.”

Now what are brand guidelines? In short, they are pre-determined graphic settings and features that are consistently used in both internal and external communications. Essential parts of any brand guidelines include type (the names and accessibility of fonts you want to use, and what size you want your type to be), HEX and RGB color codes, and a clean and easy-to-remember logo. For more details on brand guidelines, check out this previous blog post.

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Technical Mistakes 

The Problem: Sometimes, prospective brand managers and small business owners will create their own assets and send them over to us when we decide to work together. However, these assets will sometimes be in the wrong file format or will be too pixelated. 

Katie’s Advice: “Images should be at least 72 dots per inch for screens and 300 for print. Make sure it doesn't look pixelated or blurry. Make sure your logo isn't cropped or stretched before posting it, and stick to the company color palette.”

This is often caused by first-time designers not being familiar with the standard unit of measurement for business assets, which is DPI (dots per inch). Improper calculations into DPI can result in important parts of your branding being cut off, pixelated, or minimized, just to name a few examples.

Clashing Color Schemes

The Problem: The science behind why colors match or clash, as detailed by the Smithsonian Institute, is fascinating. What this science demonstrates is that finding colors that match is critical to your company’s branding guidelines. However, that might involve a lot of time for experimentation that some businesses or newsrooms might not have. Regardless, much like the aforementioned branding inconsistencies, not having a set color palette can be distracting. Many color combinations simply do not work together, and unappealing palettes can make your website harder to read. 

Matching Color

Katie’s Advice: “Create color schemes that are either monochrome, complimentary (opposites), analogous (next to each other on the color wheel), or triadic (3 colors evenly spaced  around the color wheel).”

Cluttered Designs and Illegible Typography

The Problem: Being able to decipher what your website and documents are trying to convey is crucial. If they aren’t able to be understood at first glance, then prospective clients and readers won’t want to explore your brand further. Some logos might not have enough space incorporated into them for visitors to remember. Another similar problem lies in actual text on web pages and marketing materials – difficult-to-read fonts, improper text sizes, and muted colors can be a major turn-off.

Katie’s Advice: “Make sure text is a color that stands out against the background, is in an easily-readable font, and isn't too small to read. Use white space in your design so it looks cleaner.”

These are just a few pieces of advice our team here at Adriana Lacy Consulting can provide for your business’s branding.

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