We've all seen ads, flyer, billboards and logos that make us scratch our heads and wonder what the artist was thinking. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when designing a quality marketing piece.
1. Fonts -- as a general rule, don't use more than 2 different fonts on your piece. Keep it simple. Using one serif font and one san serif font can be a good rule to follow. Use the serif font for your headlines and the san serif font for body copy. This gives emphasis to important facts and the san serif is usually very easy to read as body copy. Too many fonts make the piece look messy and it's hard to determine where you want the readers eyes to go.
2. Spell Check -- this seems elementary, but it is very important. Nothing will distract from your message quite like a misspelled headline. Keep a sticky note on your monitor to remind yourself to run spell check before you send a document off to publication or print.
3. Colors -- same rule as fonts, keep it simple. Don't use every color in the rainbow, unless of course you are marketing to unicorns. Make sure your colors work well together. One way to find complementary colors is through the use of a color wheel. Pick the primary color you'd like to use, find it on the wheel, then draw a straight line across the color wheel, this is the color's complement.
4. Collaborate -- getting someone else's input is usually a good idea. Sometimes we have looked at a design so long, we no longer see things clearly and a fresh set of eyes may notice something we've overlooked. I am not saying you have to do exactly what the person suggests, but weigh the input with your feelings about the piece. Don't be afraid to create another version and incorporate the ideas of others. This will usually help to refine your piece. You may have really liked your first version, but I bet you'll love the ones that you switch up even better.
5. Imagery -- find a photo or illustration that makes your ideas really pop. If the photo isn't working in the size or composition that it originated in, try growing the photo in photoshop by increasing the background area, or headroom. One thing to stay away from is artificially stretching the image or squishing it. Make sure when you are resizing an image that you keep it's original proportions. Just like a typo in a headline, a photo that doesn't look quite right, while throw off your whole design.
A good design will be easy to read and will guide the reader to the important places. It will make people want to learn more. You have about 5 seconds in advertising to get a person to make a decision about your product, make sure they get the good stuff first and want to hang around to learn more. A bad design will only convey a bad product.