The 7 Deadly Sins of Graphic Design

All businesses are concerned with getting the best value out of their buck, but when it comes to design, it's vital that you're not 'skimping' on budget. Good design can make all the difference between only a few units being sold, to a few thousand flying off the shelf.

It can be all too tempting to try to design our logos, brochures or business cards ourselves to save money. I mean, that's why there's do-it-yourself templates right? Wrong. If you want collateral that looks polished and refined, not generic and badly proportioned, then it's essential to seek the services of an experienced graphic designer.

No matter what you're designing, whether it be recycled business cards or promotional posters, graphic designers work with you to create a consistent brand that is specific to your business and your target audience. This is done through creative thinking and carefully selecting particular colours, typefaces, images and even types of paper or card to convey your message.

If this hasn't convinced you enough to link up with a graphic designer, then you fall at risk of committing the seven deadly sins of design!

Wrath: Getting it wrong... and paying for it

The question you really need to ask yourself is if you can afford to do it badly and potentially lose sales as a result.

Doing it right the first time and paying for marketing collateral designed by a professional could possibly save you a fair bit of money. There would be no need for a redesign and you would be able to take pride in work that is a true reflection of your company.

Greed: DIY design

While DIY jobs around the home can be a great way to save money, the same principle doesn't apply when it comes to designing printed material such as brochures and postcards for your company. These promotional materials are your foot in the door. If they look inadequate then there's a chance this is how your company will be perceived by your customers and competitors as well.

DIY Design when you don't have the qualifications or experience, will ultimately waste time you should be spending on serving your customers and cost you money in loss of sales if they end up going elsewhere! Don't skimp on professional design - it's too important to the success of any business.

Sloth: Lack of creativity

Graphic designers live and breathe design, they know what works and what doesn't. They understand fundamental design principles, but more than this, they think creatively! A designer's job is to come up with conceptual ideas that you would never think of. Don't be lazy and just go with something quick and cheap. Be creative, invest in good design and you will reap the rewards.

Pride: Not trusting the designer's ideas

It can be hard to get used to, but it's important to remember that you're not always going to be the best. It's essential that you put trust in your graphic designer. It's their job to get inside your head and interpret your ideas into material that will work. It's also about collaboration. You need to clearly communicate what your brand is and what you want, then work with the designer to reach a product that meets - and exceeds - your expectations.

Lust: Only focusing on the 'aesthetics'

The most important part of design needs to happen before you put pen to paper. Pretty colours and a trendy typeface alone don't make for great design because there's more to design than just the aesthetics. You need to spend time with your designer initially to come up with the 'big idea'.  'Creative thinking' is key! Without it you just end up with a pretty picture that means nothing, so start with a strong idea and let the designer explore creative ways to present this.

Envy: Copying a competitor

Don't fall into the trap of copying other people's work - be creative, be unique and stand out from the crowd with original design.

Working with a designer will help you to achieve this, as they will take your individual needs into consideration and create one-of-a-kind material that separates your fantastic work from the norm.

Gluttony: Lack of space

Space is a biggie when it comes to print design. It can be tempting to cram in everything and the kitchen sink. However, a lot of the time it's just not needed. You need to ensure that a clear and simple message is being conveyed. Too much information can be a turn off and your message will be missed, so focus on one idea and ensure that is what comes across in the design.


The great news is you don't need to know it all and you don't need to spend a fortune either. You just need to understand the 'value of design'. Everything we see and touch has been designed. It is fundamental to how we live, how we make decisions and how we are perceived!

Vanessa VanselowComment