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3 Common DIY Graphic Design Mistakes

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3 Common DIY Graphic Design Mistakes

So, you’re starting your business, or maybe growing and rebranding.

Money’s tight, as usual in Small Business life, and you decide to attempt DIY graphic design. As a graphic designer I usually say, don’t do it, find a pro. And I’m sure I’ve written articles exactly to that effect. But, as a business owner, I’ve also had to attempt things that would definitely have been better left to the experts. If anyone understands the priority juggling act, it’s me!

With that in mind, when a friend got in touch about a DIY logo recently, I decided to help. Already a successful business owner, he was developing a new business. But it was risky, so he was bootstrapping everything from design to planning.

The logo and branding were something he’d been working on in his downtime for a while, and he loved it. Everything was ready to go, and the business was launched … Then nothing. Not a single enquiry.

It didn’t make sense. His initial market research had been really positive. So he decided to investigate further. What he found was once people got to know all about the business, they loved the concept. But most of them weren’t getting far enough to discover that for themselves.

The block was the branding. It wasn’t terrible in terms of design, but it wasn’t telling the story of the business either. It wasn’t inviting people to come in and find out more, and in some cases was repelling the very people he was building it for. So we made a few tweaks and relaunched to a considerably better response.

After that I decided to put together a list of common mistakes business owners make when attempting DIY graphic design, and here are my top three:

1. Not designing for your target market.

Without a doubt, one of the most common things I see as a graphic designer is business owners designing something they love. While I think it’s important to love your business and your branding, it’s not about you!

You need to be putting yourself in the shoes of your target market. Create your avatar or target client and then design based on what they love. Create the branding that they will respond to.

2. Following trends too closely.

Trends are usually the first place most people start when thinking about their branding. The problem is though unless you’re developing branding for a ‘limited time only’ product, it can very quickly date, and you’ll find yourself chasing your tail to stay current.

Start developing a vision board that references classic design and current trends. Then get creative by coming up with your own look somewhere in the middle.

3. Not considering growth.

Branding your business requires more than just the development of a single logo. Before you begin, it’s best to have a business plan, a marketing plan or at least an idea of where your business is heading over the next six to twelve months.

It can get very expensive trying to grow the branding of a business with a single logo design, in an un-editable file format. Some things to consider early are how you will be advertising your business, the types of advertising material you will require and the different file formats you will need to make those happen?

If you’re launching a new business concept or rebranding on a budget, DIY graphic design can be a great place to start. And if you consider these common mistakes, in the beginning, it can form a great foundation to grow your brand with your business.

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