Design Basics for Small Business Owners

Branding
November 10, 2020

Good design is something all business owners need to know. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a dedicated team for all your design work (in-house or outsourced) or if you’re handling all your designs yourself. You’re going to be approving all the designs made. So you need to know the basics. (If you aren’t approving all your design and content for your digital channels, then we advise that you do!)

Some of the elements that make up a good design are:

  • Balance
  • Space
  • Lines and Shape
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Branding

Balance

When it comes to balancing any designs with text for social media, you need to make sure there is a good balance between your visual and your text. You can use a grid checker to make sure your designs have less than 20% text, which is the recommended amount by Facebook.

For e.g:

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This post has 12% text, which means it’s within the recommended 20% text limit, so it’ll do well on Facebook.

Make sure you spread your design elements, visuals and text out and align them evenly. Space them out so it isn’t cluttered or hard to read.

Speaking of space, that brings us to the next point.

Space

Spacing is a little tricky to grasp at first. You don’t want your designs to look ‘too crowded’ or ‘too empty’, so following the 20% text rule could help you out here as well. Whitespace is important in ALL designs. It makes all the difference to not just improve readability but helps you decide which parts of the text you want to stand out to your audience.

Here are some examples of designs with a good amount of whitespace in them:

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Space your text out evenly and make sure the line space isn’t too low so that it’s easier for the reader to quickly scan through the text.

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Design Elements: Lines and Shapes

Sometimes the simplest of designs can be elevated when you throw in a few well-placed shapes, like lines, circles, even your logo. Something that we like using is our MASK design element. We have primary and secondary versions of it in the four colors that our brandmark uses the most. The purple, green, white, and black. This helps us switch it up in our posts without seeming too repetitive.

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You can also play around with different colors, sizes, opacities of these design elements to see how much of a difference it makes to your designs!

Figure out what shapes you want to associate most with your brand. We chose design elements that had more of a curve to them to evoke a positive sense of community, endurance, and stability within our audience.

If you employ a designer to create a logo and a brandmark for your business, make sure you ask them to create custom design elements as well, to be used in the future.

Colour

This is a super important aspect of design. Choosing the right color for your business, the right color for your designs, it’s all very important. We recommend using Coolors to see how well the colors you’ve chosen complement each other.

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We recommend asking a designer to come up with a brand mark for your business. Your logo and its colors are something you can’t change often, so you need professional guidance for it. Once you’ve got the brandmark done by an expert, you can design your own posts!

The right colors can not only elevate your business’s impression on your audience but also help make a memorable impact on your audience as well!

Typography

The font you use throughout your business needs to be consistent. You have to use it consistently throughout your website, lead magnets, and social media. Being consistent with your typography helps make a memorable impact on your audience.

Try not to use too many fonts. Instead, choose a maximum of two fonts and use varying weights of the typeface. This allows you to have some options, whilst being consistent with your branding.

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Branding

Branding is all about how your business appears to your ideal customers. Everything that we talked about in this blog applies to your branding strategy. One of the most important things to note is to ALWAYS BE CONSISTENT. We constantly talk about how important being consistent is because it’s truly the only way to become memorable to your customers.

A few things that we found that helped us improve our branding strategy is figuring out who our ideal customers are (by creating customer avatars) and discovering our brand voice. We’ve got a blog outlining how you can discover your brand voice here.

These two things are crucial if you want to develop a strong brand strategy and target your ideal customers with it. Find out what works for your brand and make sure your design choices reflect it!

Design is subjective, and it’s definitely got a learning curve to it. You need to try new things and figure out what design approach works for you, your business and your customers, and the psychology behind it. If you need help discovering your brand voice, or need help figuring out your branding strategy you can book a free appointment with us!