Common Mistakes Small Businesses are Making with Design


A few weeks ago, I was sitting at my favorite Pho place here in Tulsa with my husband Caleb waiting for our noodle soup to arrive. We were talking and mid-conversation, I got so distracted with a commercial I saw on the tv that he turned around to see what I was gawking at. It was a local commercial from an organization here in Tulsa, and Oh was bad. It made me cringe. And it also gave me the urge to call them and offer my services. 

The thing about it was the commercial itself was fine. It was the readability of their logo and call to action in the last very important few seconds and their color choice throughout the ad. And these two mistakes are some of the things I see often in local advertisments and marketing pieces. 

It then made me think of ALL the bad commercials, unorganized and confusing restaurant menus (you know the ones), the instagram graphics I see everyday that make my designer heart drop. We live in a world of bad logos and marketing material. And most of the time, I don't blame the business owner. They normally don't know any better. They are trying to DIY what they can either because they haven't been taught the benefit of having a designer as a partner, or they are just trying to save money and grow their business. 

As entrepreneurs and creatives, we are believers that giving away helpful and free advice helps us to build trust and a following with our audience. It also allows us to help with common things we see taking place that we wish we could fix individually. "If only they would pay me, I could help them!" 

But as a designer, and as an advocate for small business owners, I want to do as much as I can to equip and empower you, even if you don't end up booking with me. So that's where the idea for this series came. I hope this series will help those of you who own businesses and are trying to DIY your way through design. 

Here are the top 7 mistakes I see business owners making with their advertising, blog and social media graphics, and marketing: 

  1. Readability

  2. Hierarchy

  3. Clarity

  4. Using text and images together

  5. Sizing of text

  6. Pairing fonts

  7. Using consistent color palettes


So in the next few weeks, we'll be diving into each of these common mistakes and giving tips and tricks that you can easily implement that same day to make your marketing more effective and more pleasing to your audience.