Making mistakes is part of the process of getting better at something, and design is no exception. A good brand designer will have spent years developing knowledge of how decisions they make during the course of a branding project will impact on each other, for better or worse. You learn from the mistakes you make and mistakes of others.


Of course, a good designer will sometimes commit the common mistakes listed below. Knowing the ‘rules’ means you get to break them when you want for impact (like a jazz pianist might). But you gotta know the basics first… Here are some of the most obvious pitfalls:


Too abstract


Abstract design is often visually arresting. It can grab your attention in a way that linear, conventional design cannot. But whatever its charms, if it doesn’t convey the brand effectively it can confuse the audience. Brand design needs to be easy to use for the intended audience, first and foremost. If abstraction gets in the way of accessibility then there is a problem.


Too many fonts


Fonts are an integral part of brand design. But too many fonts (you will know it when you see it, but more than three should ring alarm bells), across the brand design will only slow the audience down and make things look busy and unconsidered.


No visual hierarchy


Where is the eye going first? Second? Third? Is there hierarchy designed into the visual branding, or anarchy? Visual hierarchy prompts the audience to interpret the brand messages in the correct order.


Not allowing for future mediums


Most designers are pretty clued up on this, but way back when the world was only just discovering digital, there were an awful lot of brand designs that didn’t take the future into consideration and created further, unnecessary work for themselves as a result. Brand design needs to be agile enough to cross formats and still work.


Being on trend


Being fashionable is great (I’m told). But fashions go out of fashion. It is always better to go your own way, risk being different, and give your brand design the possibility of a longer shelf life. It is important to be aware of industry trends, but it is equally important to disregard them when you need to.


Individual components are not as important as the whole


Sitting back and looking at the brand design as a whole, does it work together? You might have wonderful individual elements, but if they don’t contribute to a working whole, you probably need to think again. A brand design that works as a unit makes it easier for the audience to buy into the brand and enter into conversation with it.