Destructive Design Decisions

These days, almost anyone can create graphics from their computer. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those graphics will effectively convey their intended message or have any kind of visual impact on their target audience. Successful graphics begin with utilizing a series of good decisions. Too often, a design will be compromised due to a lack of judgment or too much focus on current creative trends. To prevent future designs from missing the mark, here’s a list of destructive decisions that all designers should avoid:

Please Stop Using a Rainbow as Your Company’s Colors

Some companies can’t make a decision. They use all the colors of the rainbow to communicate their visual brand. If you’re Binney & Smith’s Crayola crayons, you’re allowed. If you’re not, then it’s time to get choosy about how many colors you use.

Color can work either for your brand or against it. The way to make color work for your brand message is to pick two colors, and use them consistently in everything you do. You can expand this palette with background tints and an accent color, but nothing should replace your two main colors. Use them all over so that your audience will come to associate your two colors with your company.

Please Stop Dipping Into the Font Honey Pot

You don’t have to clutter your hard drive with thousands of fonts. You just need two. Pick two fonts that represent your business. If your business is traditional, or your company wants to look large and corporate, pick a classic serif font. If your company is contemporary, modern and high tech, pick a sans serif font. If you’re a little of both, try combining them.

Please Stop Adding Unnecessary Drop Shadows

There’s nothing wrong with drop shadows when they’re used to make things clearer. Normally, if you put either type or an image over a background and there’s not enough contrast to see the edges of the image that’s on top, adding a subtle drop shadow will help to define the edges. If there’s plenty of contrast already, then don’t add a drop shadow. It will only make your design look muddy and dark.

The best solution is to avoid picking colors or tints that will obligate you to use a drop shadow in order to see type or a shape. Drop shadows may be unavoidable at times, but you shouldn’t depend on them to make up for bad design decisions.

Please Stop Thinking Good Design Is About Visual Tricks

Good design is about communication. When you focus on communicating clearly and make all your design decisions with that filter in place, you won’t expect graphic trends to carry the weight of your brand. You’ll know that only clear copy and visuals will do that.

SOURCE: Pamela Wilson,

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