design hangoverI love designing. The colors, type, shapes, patterns. Linking them together in a way that makes sense and solves problems for the client is great fun.

But, I am worn out by design that screams at me. 16 fonts on a 4 x 6 card and 5 colors is too much. Please, stop screaming your message at me. I tend to throw away any card or flyer that shouts or is cluttered.  I know it’s hard to get marketing into the hands of customers.  But if your customer throws out your message, you just wasted money.

Great design creates interest, not apathy and encourages, not screams.  The day of the hard sell is over.  Social media platforms and DVR has made it all too easy for your audience to tune you out if you annoy them.  The best design has great typography, and is set against complimentary colors and subtle patterns.

The best thing any designer can do is to limit themselves to 3-4 features in any project.  Just because you can do 20 different effects, doesn’t mean you should.  This is hard for designers.  There are multiple tools and brushes and unlimited colors to choose from.  Further, clients often want all the latest bells and whistles for their project.

At this point, the designer must explain the pros and cons of each effect on the desired outcome of the project.  If the end result is not achieved, the design is a failure no matter how beautiful it is.  This guide is true for print and screen design.  We as designers are the guardians of good taste and arbiters of what will work.

Best of all, if you can present ideas that lead to profits, your customers will value you more and send you referrals.

So don’t be afraid to say no to the customer, just be prepared to back up your statements with documentation that shows you care about the customer’s bottom line.

Pass the mochaccino.

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