Avoid These Graphic Design Pitfalls to Keep Your Brand Current, Modern, Competitive (Part 2 of 2)

December 21, 2016

Branding, Design, Marketing

This is the second part of a two-part article. You can read the first part here.

8 Problem Design Elements and How to Fix Them

Problem #5: Glossy Buttons and Badges

outdated_design_glossShiny, wet-looking buttons and badges had a nice run, particularly on ecommerce websites, but we’re just simply over it now. Reflecting the “simple is better” flat design mantra, graphic designers are finding more direct ways to trigger customer interaction without the need for shiny baubles.

Solution: Streamlined Calls-to-Action

Graphic CTA buttons are powerful, but they can be difficult to manage from a responsive standpoint. Current design trends suggest converting all CTAs to HTML and CSS, with flat color and simple, minimalist execution. The example below from Magento reflects this trend.

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Problem #6: Cookie-Cutter Icons

outdated_design_lightbulbThis has been a recurring theme with WordPress websites over the last couple of years. The top half of the home page is big, splashy, and engaging, but by the time we scroll down to the middle and lower portions of the page, we are presented with a series of bland 3-column content “teasers” adorned with uninspired, run-of-the-mill icons.

Solution: Custom Blended Icons

With a little creativity and perhaps a bit of whimsy, you can create your own unique set of icons by blending photography with illustrations. One such example is from Verizon, whose custom icons were made even more intriguing by subtly overlapping the main image so that it sits just slightly outside of the base circle beneath it.

outdated_design_verizon

Problem #7: Home Page Sliders

Sliders and carousels are a great way to pack multiple content blocks into one area. The problem is, it’s been done to death. Worse than that, studies have proven that users almost never wait to read all of the slides in your carousel, that they rarely click on your slider content, and that sliders are simply bad for your site’s SEO.

Solution: Card-Based Content

Card-based content, like the sample below designed by Balraj Chana, provides a fun, interactive way for users to see all of your home page content at once — bypassing the tedious slideshow loop wait time. As users scroll down the page and mouse over, content modules bounce up or grow larger, effectively saying, “Pick me!”

outdated_design_cardcontent

Problem #8: Fuzzy Drop Shadows on Text

When used with product images, drop shadows provide a pleasing sense of depth, but flat design trends advise against using drop shadows with type or text-based art. Whether you’re designing for the web or for print, the trend is toward clean, sharp lines that can deliver your message in a powerful way.

Solution: Subtle or Complementary Shadows

If you feel that your type simply isn’t complete without that shadow, then at least try a more blended, subtle approach like those suggested by Joshua Johnson in a Design Shack article from a few years ago:

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Conclusion

No business owner enjoys having to budget funds to overhaul and redesign the company’s marketing collateral every few years, but not doing so can actually cost you more, especially if your business is in the B2B sector. The truth is, graphic design isn’t just about fads or trends. Corporate customers tend to be more design- and techno-savvy, so if your marketing collateral is old and outdated, business clients may get the impression that you’re falling behind and not able to embrace new technologies, which can lead to lost sales.

In need of a graphic design makeover? Contact EXHIB-IT! today for help with logo design, business card design, brochure design, web design, and more.

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