You only get one chance to make a first impression. This is just as true for websites as it is for people, especially with today’s easily distracted consumer. Visitors to your site should immediately get a sense of who you are, as well as quickly figure out what you’re all about and what they can learn about or accomplish with your offerings.
Of course, establishing and maintaining a brand is, like many things easier said than done. If you’re about to embark on a brand or brand refresh project, here are 10 common mistakes to avoid.
1. Poor typography choices
When establishing a brand, designers use typography to create a mood or invoke an emotional response in the viewer. For example, consider Coca Cola’s recognizable font, which instantly makes us feel a tinge of nostalgia. The same rings true for all Stranger Things fans who loved the title font for its 80s-esque elements. But just because fancy typography works well for logos and titles doesn’t mean it’s the same for body copy. Make sure your informative assets (website, presentations, etc.) are easy to read and understand by selecting a classic font, such as Helvetica, Garamond, Futura, Gill Sans or Rockwell.
2. Dark backgrounds
The background of your website usually covers the most space, so choose its color wisely. Flat black websites are rarely aesthetically appealing unless done by a professional. Lighter neutrals are usually safe bets, but make sure they don’t disrupt readability.
3. Bad use of color and contrast
A trained designer could probably talk all day about color theory, but if you don’t know one, we’ve got a blog post from the professionals at 99designs that sums up the importance of choosing a good palette.
4. Too many fonts and colors
Now that we’ve talked about typography and colors, it’s important to note that too many of them is bad news. Consistency is key in web design. The pages of a website should be like immediate family members— like brothers and sisters, not cousins, second cousins, or third cousins twice removed. A top tip is to only use two colors and two fonts. Only once you complete a full design with this limitation should you try to move onto more complex design.
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5. Camouflaged CTAs
We could dedicate an entire blog to the art of the call to action, but we’ll keep it short this time around. Next time you create a CTA or modify an existing one, make sure it stands out from the rest of your content. You might assume (understandably) that your entire site should be skinned in the same way, but CTAs require a little extra something to grab attention and be effective. A few more quick pointers: don’t have too many CTAs. Use clear, direct language. Leverage numbers where you can.
6. Wacky copy
Fluffy, dreamy sentences and long, detailed storylines are great. Really great. But in the world of B2B, direct and concise is usually better. No matter your brand’s designated voice or tone, make sure your copy retains a knowledgeable spirit. Be authoritative, don’t overdo it on the exclamation marks, and try to avoid asking questions. (It’s often interpreted as a lazy way to write and professionals don’t usually want to dedicate their precious brain space to answering them.)
7. No contact info
It might be hard to believe in the face of growing automation, but many people want to cut through the process of reading about you and just connect instead. Make sure they don’t have to dig through your website to find your contact info, lest they leave your site for a competitor’s.
8. Too many fields in forms
Web forms are used for just about everything, which means your website visitors are probably pretty tired of filling them out. As a rule of thumb, ask for the minimum amount of information needed in order to still make it effective.
9. No responsive design
Responsive design is all the rage, and for good reason: everyone is on mobile these days. So much so that you don’t even need a stat for proof– you just know it. Don’t forget to make sure your site looks just as good on a small green as it does on a big one.
10. Too-trendy design
Web design trends are like industry buzzwords: new ones crop up every year and few of them actually stick. Make sure when you’re creating the design for your brand, it’s actually useful and not just what the rest of the world is doing.
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