Design is key when designing a proper communication piece. Design allows us to properly connect with our audience and adequately convey our message. We may segment our audience, establish our target market appropriately, write a compelling message with the correct tone; however, if the design is badly executed it can undermine all aforementioned efforts.
But what makes up good design? Just like other elements of marketing, a good designer must know and connect with the target market. There is no secret formula of good design and individual tastes can vary greatly; however, some things are so bad that almost everyone can agree.
Let’s look at some examples of bad print ads and branded content.
What’s wrong with this ad? The image isn’t terrible, but it’s saturated with text! The typography is small and is not easy to read against the light gray background. The attention span of most people is around 8 seconds and it’s unlikely that we would actually stop and read this entire text. In fact, the long blocks of text are more likely to intimidate us o bore us instead of luring us in.
This list of products is messy and distracting. The background interferes with the letters and makes the text unintelligible. The fonts aren’t complementary, and the piece is saturated with images. The lack of empty space makes the piece exhausting to look at. The objective of the ad is to convey information and the distracting and competing elements negates the completion of said goal.
This is not a terrible ad. It’s elegant, simple and makes a good use of empty space. It’s meant to act as a brand reminder and build awareness of the hashtag #ilovecoco, encouraging customer involvement through social media and helping to build an online community. Nevertheless, the typography makes it so that the main message is read as “I love Cow” instead of “I love Coco”. The typography distracts from the main message and objectives of the ad.
It is better to not produce any content than to generate badly designed content. Bad design can damage the brand personality and give the perception that the product is defective, cheap or low quality. Although some brands may not be hurt by this perception, it is generally better to refrain from generating bad designs just for the sake of generating content.
Before publishing your next design, make sure you know who you audience is. Next, make sure you review your ad with peers to make sure you are not making any obvious mistakes. Lastly, think about your marketing objectives and make sure your message is aligned with your goals.