Curious about how companies become name brands? Design doesn’t hurt. Knowing the Nike swoosh, golden arches, and Google colors are all thanks to the design teams keen knowledge of audiences and attention to consumer behavior. In this piece, we’ll be running through some best practices to keep in mind as you shape your company’s design strategy.  

Know Your Audience

It’s not about you. Know what your audience wants to see and where they are taking in your product or service. Understanding both the platform and the user will help you customize what the user sees to be the most effective.

When you’re developing your brand’s look and feel, knowing the audience you want to reach is essential. Appealing to their interests and an appropriate color palette helps signal what you do. It also tells them that you align with their values. Whether it’s environmentalists or builders, millennials or Gen Z, you want to be appealing in the right way from the first glance. Your branding should be authentic to you and your ideal audience.

When we put together videos to target potential healthcare patients, we are careful to ensure the branding and messaging has a clear and consistent brand identity that aligns with their millennial audience.

Whitepaper about digital experience and engagement

Use High-Quality Visuals

Creating an intentional photography and visual style is crucial to set the tone and vision of a brand. Your visual style should convey exactly who you are and how you are different. With clear style guides, you are better able to grow brand recognition as there is a means for everyone in your organization stay consistent visually as well as through your message. You can put together a guide or how to, that explores and explains examples of what works and what doesn’t for your brand. Through visual consistency and clear intentions your audience is more likely to trust what you have to say and in turn, become a customer.

Above all, stick with quality. If you use pixelated, unprofessional visuals your audience will skip over what you have to say, even if you have a great service or product. After all, as Anthony Wood says, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”

Get Weird

Sharing who you are is about meaningful, specific visuals. Explaining your brand not just through product photography or service explanations, but the feeling and intentions behind the brand. Engaging and communicating their product is just one part of their messaging. 

Inspirational quote

We’ve done this for our clients through clever social media posts and branding. For example, reiterating the importance of positivity in the face of sexism for PDX Women in Tech.

Avoid Homogenous Designs

Know your competitors, and your differentiators. There’s a difference between following UI guidelines to make it easy for a user, and downright copying design. Draw the line between showcasing great user experience and your brand being interchangeable from others. We’re all familiar with a sans serif font and clean lines, but can we even distinguish what the ad is for anymore? Don’t be afraid to be original.

Be Accessible

Following web accessibility guidelines is imperative for design. Using the correct font sizes and colors means everyone will be able to access and interact with your designs and business. One part of this is color. Use this tool to find out if there are accessibility issues with your palette.


Know that there are other rules as well – not having animations flash too much and ensuring text is at a certain size for example. Even forms have specifications you can follow to ensure screen readers can grab it and read it to folks who may be unable to themselves. Get more info on accessibility here

Understand the Trends

Classics are that way for a reason… Just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean you need to use it. While every year we’ll see blogs showcasing essential design trends, the key to great design is knowing when to leverage them for your business or audience. Gradients, warm color palettes, and Mid Century Modern are also trending.


Just in the last few months I’ve seen “Glitch” become more of a trend. For some brands, this may be an effective way to stand out, but for those with different audiences, it may just be confusing and get in the way of their engagement and enjoyment of the brand.

Test, Test, Test

You can read all of the blogs, but until you start putting visuals in front of your audience you don’t know what they may like. At Mad Fish Digital, we are always iterating. Try an image, try an icon or illustration, pie chart or a graph. Measure and see what works for your specific audience, and make adjustments to improve from there. Tests can also validate previous designs. For instance, when we moved the pricing information next to the form and saw a large drop off on conversions.

Be Consistent

With all that said about being original and having fun, It’s very important to be consistent across all your channels. A user should know your brand, regardless of where they are. Whether it’s a consistent color, visual aesthetic, or font, ensure your audience knows it’s you when they encounter you in new locations or on new platforms. 

Curious about how you can continue to improve your design and branding? Get all our tips on design here, and check out our services to learn more about how Mad Fish Digital can help your business grow.