The Day Bad Design Destroyed the Universe

The Day Bad Design Destroyed the Universe

You probably heard, Steve Harvey and Miss Colombia were recently the victims of bad design.

If you ask me, it was pure marketing genius that he crowned the wrong contestant. Marketing skeptics like me are wondering if MAYBE it was done on purpose. After all, Miss Universe hasn’t gotten this much press in decades!

Within hours, Memes starting coming out of the woodwork. Like this one:

Poor Steve Harvey! He’s suddenly the butt of every joke in the universe!

Whether intentional or purely accidental, it’s pretty clear what went wrong for Steve Harvey and Miss Universe 2015.
Bad design.

According to this Washington Post article (yes, even the Washington Post weighed in on the scandal) Havey blames it on the card.

Eric Thomas at Saga MKTG does a great job of redesigning the card that announces the winners to avoid just this type of catastrophe. We featured his LinkedIn article on 8 Signal’s Facebook page this week.

Ok, catastrophe might be a bit strong, but that’s probably what it felt like for Miss Colombia and her fans.

If a simple poorly designed announcement card can cause an uproar of this magnitude on a worldwide scale, imagine what it’s doing it doing to your business? This topic is timely for 8 Signal. We are in the middle of a complete redesign of the 8 Signal website!

Is a dated website with poor branding hurting your business?

In order to keep our company focused on income generation, we bootstrapped as much as possible when we first launched 8 Signal. We clicked our company name, colors, logo, designed a website, and wrote website content all within a short period of two weeks.

Many of our clients are in a similar situation.

[tweetthis]The website you started with is not the website you need to get your business to the next level.[/tweetthis]

Phil Singleton, a web designer out of Kansas City writes,

“These days, businesses and consumers will not make a major purchase from your company solely from a word-of-mouth referral without “looking you up online first.” If they are finding your circa 2005 website or an embarrassing [insert: GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace] web builder site, you’re losing more referrals leads than you could ever imagine. That’s assuming they can even find your website.”

Website builders can be great launching point for businesses that need to cinch the belt. There is a time for designing “just something just to get by”. But it’s not enough for your business to “just get by” long-term. That’s selling your business short and stunting your grown potential.

When you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s wise to ask the experts for help.

If you’re not sure where to start, I will provide you with a free website review, no strings attached. Fill out our webform or give us a call at 915-585-1919 and let us know you’d like a free website review.

Creating a consistent color palette for your site also improves both brand and design

Like your taste palette, a bad color palette can send you running for the nearest trash can. On the flip side, good color design attached to a great product or service makes your customers keep coming back for more.

Catherine Clifford at Entrepreneur writes,

If you are building a company that depends on making people feel sexy and sophisticated, it’s probably going to confuse your consumers if you your logo is bright green.

That’s because different colors are associated with different feelings. Green conveys organic growth, the earth, nature, or feelings of caring. Meanwhile, black communicates feelings of sophistication, authority or seduction. Not convinced? Consider the green logo for Starbucks or Greenpeace and the black logos of Chanel or Sony.

Here are some recent examples of color palettes 8 Signal developed for clients:

Las Cruces Magazine Color Scheme:

LCM Color Palette

PixelMark Color Scheme:

Pixelmark Color Palette

Willows at Picacho Mountain Color Scheme:

Picacho Redesign

Rio Grande Urology Color Scheme:

RGU Color Palette

Your color palette impacts your logo, the font colors on your website, what elements to blend and which ones to pop out.

Unfortunately, many business don’t think about a color palette until they’ve already got a conglomeration of mismatched designs causing branding confusion for their customers.

Your logo design: A window into the soul of your company

Your logo is what identifies your company and helps you stand out from the competition. It’s your first chance to make a good impression. If it’s a cheap, dated, generic design, what does that say about your company?

We recently had the opportunity to redesign Desert Devil Crossfit ‘s logo. In the article, we highlight the importance of good logo design.

But how can you describe bad logo design? Here are some pointers to avoid bad logo design:

  1. Generic, unimaginative design. Many times this comes in the form of your company name in a common font that’s been stylized with drop-shadow
  2. Poor typography: Using type that isn’t properly kerned (spaced out). For example, corner can look like comer if the letters aren’t properly kerned. In some big po-faus, a word like flickering can look like fu… you get the point.
  3. Poor choice of typeface: Using a cartoony font for a law firm or funeral home makes a horrible match. Even though this is an obvious example, subtle incongruencies in your logo will send signals to the brain not to trust your brand.
  4. Poor choice colors: This goes back to having a color palette. Some color work well together. Other colors only work well together under specific circumstances. Others should never be seen in public.
  5. Blurry/pixelated edges: If you find yourself using a word document or low resolution JPG to share your logo with advertisers, you desperately need a professional to convert your logo into a vector file that can be used in multiple formats.
  6. Using a photo image: Using a photograph make increases the risk that your logo will become pixelated in larger formats and also comes across as unprofessional.
  7. Using clip art: Nike’s anti-slogan applies here. Just Don’t Do It. It’s wrong on too many levels.
  8. Rely on effects: If you can use your logo in black and white without losing it’s power, your good. But if your logo drop shadows, glows, or anything that gives it a 3D effect ends up cheapening your brand.
  9. Copycat designs: Does the lettering remind you of Google, Yahoo, Coca-Cola, etc? It’s better to steer clear of these
  10. Cluttered design: Extra ‘stuff’ just detracts the eye and cheapens the design. It also affects legibility at smaller scales. We saw this in Desert Devil Crossfit’s original logo. It was hard to translate to different scenarios due to its complexity.

Simple ways design can propel your brand beyond just a logo

When you have a strong brand, you begin to create recognition in your marketplace and leverage it in more ways than one. Though it can be taken too far. Take Star Wars for example:

Really? An apple a day keeps the Sith Lords away…?

But your brand can become much more than just a logo, a slogan, and a character. Coca-Cola has become an American symbol, the Nike swoosh represents a company dedicated to fitness, and Apple’s apple embodies the simplicity that Apple has become popular for.

Objective shares a great framework for developing your brand on his blog.

Here’s his process:

  1. Define your brand. Before you create your brand you must first define your brand. Clearly define the following to focus your brand:
    • Company mission statement.
    • Characteristics of your company.
    • Characteristics you would like your company to have.
    • Who is our target audience?
    • What are our company goals?
  2. Create a logo and color scheme. Here’s how color can help brand your business:
    • Pink: Feminine, Love, Tranquil
    • Red: Power, Passion
    • Orange: Health, Energy, Warmth, Excitement
    • Green: Nature, Soothing, Money
    • Blue: Peace, Loyal, Clean, Trust
    • Purple: Magic, Creativity, Royalty
    • White: Purity, Cleanliness, Simplicity
    • Black: Power, Sophistication
    • Brown: Rural, Outdoors, Masculine
  3. Create a tagline. Here are some of his examples:
    • Nike: “Just do it.”
    • LG: “Life’s Good”
    • Apple: “Think Different”
    • Lego: “Play on”
    • Walmart: “Save Money Live Better”
    • McDonalds: “I’m lovin it.”
    • L’Oreal: “Because you’re worth it.”
    • Disneyland: “The happiest place on earth.”
  4. Integrate the brand. Unroll your brand within your company and then to the public.
  5. Be consistent. Consistency, consistency, consistency. If there’s one thing that small business owners struggle with, it’s this four…ish letter word.

Results go hand in hand with your brand

Without results, a well-designed brand means nothing. For most small businesses, results trump brand (as in Spade trump, not Donald Trump). If your brand isn’t built on a solid value proposition, then your brand becomes all image with no substance.

Perhaps that is why, for so many year, I’ve had a knee-jerk repulsion to anything “branding.” For too many in the business, branding has become a watered down version of what it should be, a clear way to present the real substance of companies in the marketing place.

So, here’s how good design and great branding directly impact your bottom line:

  • Customers just get what you’re about. In one of the most-watched TEDD talks of all time, Simon Sinek explains that Apple’s success doesn’t come from simply creating great products. Their success has grown out of Apple’s ability to quickly articulate what they are all about. Think Different. It’s simple; it’s great design.Customers just get Apple.

Contrast that with this poorly designed slogan from PBS: “If PBS doesn’t do it, who will?”. Now, if you’re a potential customer, what does that say to you? First, it doesn’t tell you anything about what the brand is about. Second, you are probably left wondering if there’s a good reason why no one else is “doing it”.

A customer who gets what you’re about, and shares your values, is probably going to come back when they are ready to buy.

  • Customers will stay on your site. I recently heard about an amazing Italian restaurant in El Paso. It is a small, relatively unknown place on the East Side. Curious, I went to their site to check it out. Instantly, my ears were accosted by blaring Italian music. I stayed on the site for a grand total of 1.3 seconds before hitting the back button. If I’m that quick to exit the site, how many other potential customers has this restaurant lost due to bad design.

Let’s contrast that with a well-designed site. Good design will keep customers on your site, lead them toward making a purchasing decision. I recently visited the Dollar Shave Club website. I was immediately drawn in by the well designed navigation, carefully crafted slogan, and clear call to action. Check it out:

They tell me who they are, what I get, and what I should do next. I spent quite a bit of time on this site because it was just a great experience. And the longer a customer stays on your site, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

  • Customers will perceive your brand as current and relevant. Bad design made Steve Harvey the butt of 1,000 jokes. While customers probably are out creating Memes about how bad your website or logo is, it does affect the way the perceive your brand. Is your brand current and relevant? If your ideal client is under the age of 85, it should be.

That doesn’t mean you have to be “hip” or jump on the latest design bandwagon, but you do need to be intentional.

Steve Harvey will recover from The Day Bad Design Destroyed the Universe. If anything, Harvey is using it to rebuild his own brand:

But, I guarantee he’ll be insisting on some better design if he’s asked back to Miss Universe in 2016!

What is your biggest struggle when it comes to branding and design? Finding a good designer? Cost? Knowledge about design?

Let us know in the comments below!