Just like everyone’s a writer, in this age, it’s not surprising to see that everyone’s a designer. While creating authentic content for your Instagram story or snapping photos at an event is a great way to document your life, it’s not the same as creating a cohesive brand identity through meticulous and intentional work. Knowing how and when to use the skills of great designers to enhance your brand is critical for taking it to the next level. 

Step away from Canva, turn down that Skillshare class, and find out which bad design habits you need to ditch in 2020.

Conflating your logo with your brand

It’s easy to feel like your logo is your brand. You worked hard on it, it represents part of your brand identity, and that’s okay. However, your audience often interacts with your company more when your logo isn’t present. Additionally, an interaction between a customer and employee– or the voice and values of your company–will continue to uphold even if someone doesn’t see a logo. Remember, the tangible and intangible interactions people have with your brand are just as important as the visual representation you display. When you’re thinking about the purpose of your logo, focus on the emotions it evokes and what it means to your audience. 

Thinking you don’t need designers 

When I was 19, I told my grandmother I was going to be a graphic designer. Her response, “What does a designer do?” That stuck with me. I told her that a designer creates. I then explained one designed the Vitamin Water bottle label she was drinking from, the magazine sitting on the table, and the commercial playing on TV. Good design is so ingrained in our surroundings that we don’t even realize it. For brands, great design means a user having a seamless experience and not noticing their design work as they use it. Instead, they focus on the experience, the products, or the services. So, remember, designers are absolutely needed! 

Hiring non-designer to do your design work

As Dr. Ralf Speth, the CEO of Jaguar, put it, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” It’s tempting to have your non-designer nephew handle some of your design projects to keep costs down, but expecting professional results and great performance is far fetched.

It only takes a customer 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about your website, so it’s important to hire a designer who knows how to deliver a solid user experience. Bad design often affects businesses in many ways: your brand, customer experience, and return-on-investment. Those negatives can really be remedied by working with someone who knows how to design a website well. Crazy Egg, for example, benefited from new design work when they invested $20,000 to refine the companies web pages. They used that money to focus on the customer, “In less than 30 days, Patel’s company, Crazy Egg, saw a 21 percent increase in conversions  — making back the money paid to Digital Telepathy in less than a month.”

Uploading images without optimizing 

If your brand relies on showcasing photography of your product or sharing tips with illustrations/diagrams, you could be missing out on impressions, click-throughs and conversions in Google images. In 2018, we saw 22.6% of web searches happening in Google image results, which is an untapped market for many brands. By optimizing your images, you can increase your search rankings and make a great first impression. Curious about how to get started? We wrote this blog last year to guide you. 

Not thinking about diversity in your imagery

An article by Tech Inclusion says it all, “Visuals have the pressure of the first impression and carry the value of lasting impressions. Imagery doesn’t do the whole job, but it’s important that visuals communicate the right ideas.” A great brand will make all users feel seen, which in turn will help them see how the product or service fits into their lives. Next time you are purchasing stock photography or having a shoot for your brand or product, think about the user. Representation goes beyond gender and race, so make sure you’re including disabled folks, representing different sexualities, and including people of different sizes. By creating inclusive marketing campaigns that put equity first, you open yourself up to a more diverse campaign.

Using a generic landing page for all your campaigns

Cohesive messaging between your ad copy and landing page is an easy way to increase conversions. Visitors will automatically bounce from your landing page if they click on an ad expecting one topic that’s not at the forefront of the page. Performing “message matching” can lift conversion rates and increase your quality score, helping you push ahead of competitors. While it may be faster or easier to send your audience to the contact or homepage, designing a user experience like this often prevents your customers from getting the information they need to make a decision and eventually convert.

Not having clear call-to-actions throughout your website

A good call-to-action (CTA) on your website will encourage visitors to read more about your brand, purchase a product, download an asset, watch a video or fill out a contact form. A user may enter your website from all pages, a blog post, service or product page. However, each page should have a clear and well designed CTA to push your user further into your site. Without a CTA that captures someone’s attention, the user will bounce, leaving your page without interacting with it and preventing them from converting.

Taking images from Google or flickr without credit

This is a BIG no-no. While images on Google and sites like flickr may not have a copyright symbol, that does not give anyone the right to use the images and could cost you thousands in legal fees. Instead, opt for sites that give unfettered access to their images. Some of our favorites? Unsplash.com and nappy.co. Just make sure you look for the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. 

Leaving your website that was built three years ago alone

While there isn’t a magic formula for how often you should update your website,  generally making sure it accurately represents your product or services and reflects your brand is essential. Use design to keep your website  fresh and modern, but avoid going too trendy, so it can still appeal to your new customers and retain current ones.

Use cues from your audience to make changes. For instance, if you’re getting calls where clients are constantly asking the same question, use design to put the answer in a prominent place on the website. If you’re offering a new service or product, make sure it’s visible on your site with optimized visual content. Add a call to action button if you see a high bounce rate on a page too. Design and content tweaks like these can increase conversions and deliver a better user experience overall.

As an agency that prides itself on meaningful and useful design, we know it can be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to get started, or just want someone to help guide you through the process of improving your website’s design, get in touch. We’d love to help out.