How Bad Design Can Negatively Impact Your Business

cost of bad designBad design can have negative impacts on your brand. It can cost you in lost sales and revenue!

Consider some of the following:

• Does your logo use a juvenile looking font? (this is ok if you’re say a daycare center).
• Do your color choices scream dated & tacky?
• Are your images pixelated .jpegs (very bad).
• Can people even identify with your brand?
• What message are you trying communicate?

Do some of these things apply to you?
If so, what might it be saying about your business?

Assessing Things First

A while back I was contacted by the marketing manager of a local company. They had been competing for large government contracts – but kept losing the bids. He wanted me to come in and rework a large document thinking this would be the solution. I won’t get into the fact that he expected me to come in and do this for free “to see if he liked it first”. To that aspect, I calmly replied that I do NOT do spec work.

Taking a deeper look at their overall image, I wanted to see how they were presenting themselves. The goal was to see if I could gain a better sense of what the underlying issues may be. Ones that may be working against them such as bad design.

Letting Go of an Outdated Logo…

At first look, their brand image looked juvenile. Apparently their logo had been designed years ago by the owner’s 14 year old daughter. While that may have been great when the business was getting started, it was time to let it go. In its current state, it looked like hand-drawn balloon letters. For a company that wanted to communicate hi-tech services to government agencies, it was not working in their favor. It was time for something professionally designed.

Apple's logo from 1976

Apple’s logo from 1976

Mentioning this concern to the marketing manager, I about had my head handed to me! Rather than see this as an opportunity to convey how the company had grown by updating their image to one that better represented them – it was nothing doing!

Countless businesses – large and small recognize when it may be time to let go of the old and bring in the new. Yes, rebranding your business image may initially be a chunk of change. However, the price of not doing so may ultimately be far more costly in the long run!

Look at Apple’s logo from 1976. Their logo did not always look as polished as it does now!

Do Note: A logo alone does not sell a brand. It is however, part of a business strategy which can assist in defining your business to the outside world.

A Website with Bad Design & Lacked a Clear Message

Moving on to a review of the website, it was confusing at best. Design-wise, and visually speaking, it was random at best. It definitely lacked a clear message of what they actually did. No where on the site did it specify their services. I literally had to go to some of their competitor’s websites to figure out what they did and who they did it for. The existing content left me scratching my head for answers.

The site was sorely lacking in any search engine optimization – even on the most basic level. You could not tell what their targeted keywords were – ones that would allow them to be found in organic searches. Also, they were a local company targeting local customers – yet no local optimization had been applied either. In this day and age, any marketing manager should know how important SEO is!

Basically all the design elements combined lacked a polished, professional appearance.
Compared to the other companies who were submitting bids for these large government contracts – and winning – this company’s overall image was a train wreck. Now mind you, there could have been other factors such as bid amounts that were working against them too – but first impressions left a lot to be desired.

If you want to be taken seriously, at some point you’re going to need to step up your game!

There are a host of outside factors that are constantly throwing curveballs at businesses large and small. “Adaptation, foresight and a bit of fearlessness is absolutely essential to stay competitive.” There comes point where you have to be open to the possibilities of change. And yes there can certainly be budget constraints. However, the investment necessary to go from bad design to good is more than likely a fraction of what the ROI will be. And change is good 🙂

Sadly, the marketing manager resisted any changes or suggestions for improvements. One would think he had a responsibility to stay on top of trends and adapt as necessary.

Who is to say wether they won any more contracts presenting themselves like they did?

Final Thoughts…

Professionally designed materials (logo, brochures, website) are a business investment. They can work together to communicate your credibility and trustworthiness to folks who may want to hire you. As the saying goes “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. And in today’s “social world”, people talk…

What do you suppose folks may be saying about these gone wrong design examples – and how the businesses themselves have been affected…

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eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Helping businesses grow through better design and search visibility solutions. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place with their products or services.