As a graphic designer there’s a number of things that irk me, that make me scream inside, “don’t do that!” And over the years, certainly there are a few items that rank in the “top 5 tips” category. I’d like to share my top 5 tips for your professional image today.
1) Do not use fonts like Comic Sans and Papyrus in your business communications or brand image (e.g. as part of your logo).
Comic Sans was originally considered to be “friendly” but it has become terribly overused. In fact, there are legions of websites out there who make fun of their users. So yes, it may be a fine font, but the truth is that it’s too casual for business purposes. Find one that’s more professional.
2) Invest in the very best quality business cards you can afford
For many people, business cards are the only print marketing tool they will use. If you fall in that category, then they should represent you well. Don’t even think about using those “print at home kits.” They are cheap, flimsy, and often are not colour-fast. These days digital printing prices are extremely low, so there is absolutely no excuse for skimping on this key item.
3) Be consistent with your brand image across all channels.
Whether you are on Facebook or showing off your 6’ banner at a tradeshow, your logo, colours and fonts should be the same. The point of your brand image is to help people recognize you. They can’t do that if you keep switching your look and “trying new things.” Don’t make your brand image interesting or trendy. Make it recognizable.
4) Ask your designer to create your logo in a vector format
You may not know what “vector format” is, but trust me, you will need it. Vector format is usually an Adobe Illustrator file with the extension .ai or .eps. You will need this format for marketing materials down the road. Many suppliers (e.g. for signs, embroidery, rollup banners) need a high quality file that will enlarge well. A .jpg does not do that. A vector file is a mathematical format independent of pixels. So whether you want your logo on your car or on the side of a building, a vector file will give you great results every time.
5) Resist the urge to make your logo HUGE in every marketing piece.
Yes, your logo needs to be visible and it needs to stand out. But when it’s taking up half the area, it just looks…well, sad. And amateurish. Keep in mind the purpose of the piece. If it’s an ad, the logo is not the main course. If it’s a postcard to promote an event, then the date and location get top billing, not your logo. Remember, it’s not always about your logo.
Take a few minutes and consider your brand image. If you think that you might be committing some “design sins” don’t despair! I will be glad to help. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can chat over coffee.