5 scary design mistakes to avoid

5 scary design mistakes to avoid

5 scary design mistakes to avoid

1. Poor legibility

This means text lines that are too long (use max 60–70 characters), dense blocks of words in small size and blocks with too little leading (the space between). Also, having text aligned centrally, or justified (especially in large amounts) can present problems for readers too. Note that left-aligned text is always easier to read, especially for those with visual impairment or where English is a second language. Equally, any copy should always be displayed using good contrast from the background. It doesn’t necessarily have to be dark on light but careful consideration should always be given when any text is used on a darker background. Note also, the difference between how electronic and physical print delivery displays too. Print generally requires more contrast to show any variation between shades or tints.

2. Too many fonts used or unsuitable combinations of style

Unless carefully handled, too many fonts can mean that the design has a disorganised, unprofessional look. A decent rule of thumb is to stick to two. Remember, certain fonts might have additional weights (or thicknesses) and these can be used to help add variety without the same consequence.  All too often, lazy stereotypical font choices are applied to designs, with the same display font used again and again. This reduces the impact and can, in some instances also make it harder to read. On other occasions, it’s simply that personal choice has overruled common sense. For example, a loose, light handwritten style would most likely not be the first choice for a serious financial institution.

3. Ignoring or failing to incorporate any visual hierarchy rules

Hierarchy is a key graphic design principle. It communicates with the viewer the importance of each element to those around it. Think carefully about the order that any titles, subtitles, blocks of text need to be read. Is the correct message presented? The size, weight and colour all play their part, as does the space allowed around any elements.

4. The placing of any elements within the design

With proper alignment (and this doesn’t necessarily mean total symmetry), an order or balance can be created that helps to hold a design together. If this is missing, products or material can look messy, disorganised and as we’ve mentioned before unprofessional. There will always be examples that appear to break the rules but these are usually produced by skilled practitioners and normally there’s still a (hidden) system at work. By using an underlying grid, quality control can be maintained whilst still allowing scope for creativity. Think about magazines and newspapers. These need to be produced to strict deadlines yet still manage to include layout variety.

5. Failing to communicate effectively

Even trained designers can be guilty of this. It’s easy to get caught up and create a design that loses sight of the audience that it’s intended for. Making it appeal to our tastes or preferences rather than focusing on how the item needs to be used is a mistake. Additionally, this can also lead to any criticism of the design, being taken personally rather than objectively. A decent rule of thumb is to keep things simple.


Photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels

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Top five tips on finding the right agency for you

Top five tips on finding the right agency for you

Top five tips on finding the right agency for you.

After the horrors of Halloween yesterday and some of the mistakes agencies can make,today we are focusing on how to find the right agency for you. Alastair Burns and Jayne Runacres, the partners at Comma, share their top five tips on finding the right agency for you.

1. Know what you want
“Go to an agency with a problem you want to solve, whether it is moving up google rankings, better engagement with your customers or simply creating an eye-catching brand, it’s vital you know what you want to get out of it before you start” says Alastair. “That way you can measure success” adds Jayne.

2. Do your research
“Looking at previous work is vital” says Alastair. “Design, in particular, is very subjective. This is not just about do you like their work but can they produce a range of styles because this shows they understand customer research.” “Look for testimonials, ask to speak to previous clients” says Jayne. “Also check their accreditations. I’m an accredited member of the Charted Institute of Public Relations. That means I have to undertake continuous professional development each year so I know what’s new and gain skills often.”

3. Be a culture vulture
“This is really critical” says Jayne “We all only want to work with people we like, respect and feel we share values with. Find out if their values and purpose match yours.”

4. Meet them
“All this research creates a strong foundation but there’s nothing like actually meeting the agency and finding out if you gel with them” says Alastair “we love to meet with potential clients and talk about how we can help them.”

5. Once you find a good agency don’t lose them
“Often an agency becomes an extended member of the team. And just like any great member of staff, you don’t want to lose them.” Says Alastair. “We build long lasting relationships with our clients. We want them to succeed, we work to support them and ensure they can keep doing more good” says Jayne.

What are your top tips for finding – and keeping – a good agency?

 

Scary mistakes agencies make and how to avoid them

Scary mistakes agencies make and how to avoid them

Scary mistakes agencies make and how to avoid them.

Just in time for Halloween, there is plenty of horror around at the moment; Brexit and a general election looming for a start. We can’t do anything to fix that but Alastair Burns and Jayne Runacres, the partners at Comma, share their tips on finding the right agency for you.

“It can be scary to know where to start in finding the right agency to work with” says Jayne, Comma’s PR and Comms Partner. “You’re entrusting someone else with something precious, you want them to care for it as you do but also bring the extra skills, experience and creativity to take your organisation even further.”

“We have worked both in-house and at agencies so we know the benefit of finding the right balance to propel your brand forward” adds Alastair, Comma’s Creative Partner.

“A big mistake many designers – especially those who are newer in their career – make is to design for their portfolio instead of their client.” Says Alastair. “The right approach is always to design for your client. Doing that will mean effective design, which should definitely end up in your portfolio. Plus it will give you a more varied portfolio. A win-win for all involved.” Alastair concludes.

“Agencies are renowned for taking on more work than they can really handle. It often makes people wary of involving an agency. It happens in lots of industries and it’s an

understandable temptation when you’re running your own business. But often it can lead to not being able to give your clients the time and support they really need. This is basically a problem of how agile the agency is. And also how committed they are to their clients” adds Jayne.

“Another thing to avoid is choosing an agency which is a trend follower.” reveals Alastair. “It’s very easy to fall into the trap of following a style or trend that you want to replicate. But any designer worth their salt will start with research into your target audience. They will spend time considering what will engage and resonate with your customers. They will be working to create something which fits your brand, not just something trendy which is bolted on and in five to 10 years you won’t look back on fondly.” Alastair adds “By following proven research, a messaging process and development stages, the work produced not only is successful for the organisation but stands the test of time”.

“People can have the view that what we’re doing is some sort of dark arts, mystical activity” laughs Jayne “they’re afraid that the wool will be pulled over their eyes or that they just don’t understand design, marketing, communications and PR enough to know what questions to ask or how it should be measured.” “But” she adds “a good agency will explain all that to you. They should build a relationship with you.”

After the horror of Halloween, tomorrow for all saints day we will be looking at how to find the right agency for you.

 

Photo by Toni Cuenca from Pexels
Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

Where to turn

 

With the number of potential sources of influence out there, cutting through the voices can be a real problem. Which approach might work best requires both experience and an understanding of the operating markets and client behaviour. Where you turn for information and how often is essential. This article asks some prominent designers the very question… 

 

Is there such a thing as too much inspiration?