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Design Mistakes

Design Mistakes

Saturday 22nd September 2018

Biggest Design Mistakes on Your Business Signage or Adverts

Too Busy

I know it's tempting to cram everything about how great your business is on your shopfront sign or advert. Your name! Address! Phone number! Your big news! A picture of yourself! Pictures of your business! And the list never ends. This is truly one of the biggest design mistakes.

The problem with drowning your signage or ad's with too much information is that people get lost. If the focus isn't obvious, their brain may quickly ignore the ad or sign and move onto something more pleasing or memorable. It's hard to remember a lot of things, especially if you've never heard of the business before. Keep in mind, people may be driving by at high speeds or talking on their phones, and already distracted when they chance upon your ad or sign.

Instead of over cramming, ask yourself: "What is the one piece of information I want a future customer to remember?"
Is it your business name? Is it your new website? Is it a special sale? Build the signage or advert around that, and be brutal cutting out (almost) everything else.


Nothing like an embarrassing grammatical error to sink your ad. Misspellings, missing commas, and too many commas are all too prevalent. Even if a future customer warms to everything else about your ad, a typo sends the message that your business is sloppy, unprofessional, and that the people in charge are perhaps not very well educated. Pay close attention to any artwork proofs you may receive or better yet pay someone to proof read to ensure you avoid any. Grammar "misnakes" are certainly the most embarrassing of the biggest design mistakes.


Carefully consider where the ad will be placed and how people will "consume" it. Will they drive past at 30 miles per hour? Will they be nose deep in their smartphones on the bus? The font size needs to be big enough to very easily read, and the colour scheme needs to be readable at all hours of the day.

If your sign or advert will be constructed of special material, consider how lighting and shading will optimise the readability of your signage. If you can, make a mock up and walk, bike, or drive by just as your customers will, then incorporate your own feedback.

Design fails

The style and feel of your ad should carry a cohesiveness among all the elements (the graphics, font, colour scheme and message). Design cohesiveness may be hard to size up if you're not a professional designer, so invest in hiring one.

The biggest indication that you are settling for "good enough" is if you are using clip art or other desktop publishing tools to create your ad or signage.

Another sign of mediocrity is if your ad or signage doesn't scale up very well. Are the graphics fuzzy or pixellated? You may need a higher resolution photo or vector artwork for maximum scalability.
If your signage is the first contact you have with customers, it's arguably the most important part of your business.

Another way to think about your design investment is to ask yourself, "Why am I spending a ton of cash on a sign if it's not going to look the best it can?"

Missing a call to action

For Adverts, what action do you want an interested customer to take after seeing it? Unless your ad is for general exposure, ask yourself what you want people to do when they see it. Call your business? Email you? Visit a new branch? Establish a single "call to action" then build the message around that action.

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