treeWho can forget the Christmas cartoon A Charlie Brown Christmas?  You remember; the one with the sad, little naked Christmas tree.  In the end, the kids wrapped it in a blanked, loved it, sang to it and then decorated it.  By the end of their song, the tree looked beautiful and inviting.  Interestingly enough, this is how many people look at their business materials; they are terrified that their business cards, flyers, etc. will look like that sad little tree.  So what do they do?  They decorate!

Do you know the tell-tale signs of self-made marketing materials?

1.  No white space– There is nothing wrong with white space; every space does not have to be filled with words, pictures or other graphics.  In fact, the color white in marketing materials gives a clean feel.  Embrace white space!

2.  Too wordy– Business cards should not have paragraphs.  If a website is on the card, prospects can go it for more detailed information.  Similarly,  flyers and other items should be direct and to the point.  Take out the fluff.

3.  Crazy word art– Say it with me, “Stay away from Microsoft WordArt, STAY AWAY from Microsoft WordArt!”  To draw attention to words, make them bold, change the font, size and color or even highlight them.

4. Cartoonish clip art– Clip art cartoon images truly do not belong in most business materials.  While it is appropriate in a few select scenarios, let us just assume, in the interest of protecting my friends, that none of us should be using illustrations when we create our own materials.

5.  Too many colors– In most cases, the background of marketing materials should not be dark or even vibrant or bright colors.  You must have contrast between your background and text to assure that they are readable.  If someone has to squint to read a business card, they likely won’t bother.  This is also not the time to illustrate knowledge of the color spectrum.  Materials that look like Rainbow Bright yacked on them are not likely to project a professional image.

Have you ever seen an overdecorated, tacky Christmas tree; one that has that spray-on snow, tinsel, ornaments, lights, garland, popcorn, candycanes, etc.?  Yeah, me neither.  What was my point?  Oh yeah, keep it simple “stupendous marketer”!  😉

2 Responses

  1. Good tips.

    Another on to add to your list is using too many or inappropriate fonts. A classic example is using Comic Sans MS for anything other than a day care, a comic-related or child-related business. Using a variety of fonts can be good, but using too many also looks unprofessional as well.