Branding is a visual medium — and in this crowded market, it’s never been more important to have an identity that’s compelling and professional. Quality standards for visual branding are continually rising — it’s crucial for your bottom line that your content is mistake-free. The expertise of a graphic designer is valuable, but with practice, you can identify issues and correct many of them yourself. Here are a few important considerations and tips.

Color Scheme

One of the most frequent missteps is using a too-complicated color scheme. It’s fun to explore with color, but your finished product should have one dominant and two accent colors — no more. These should correspond with a brand palette that you’ve thought out well in advance. The brain is capable of processing only so much input, and too much color diverts energy away from the message you’re trying to convey.

Illustrations

Do your illustrations enhance or support your narrative? If not, it’s best to remove or adjust them. Effective illustrations enable you to say more with fewer words — in fact, that’s a good benchmark for using them at all. Select a few key elements to illustrate; doing so will help illuminate your overall message. Keep in mind that special characters are sort of like seasonings — within illustrations, they’re most effective in small doses.

Alignment

Proper alignment within visuals is a key element of quality branding — it will immediately set your business apart. Misalignment is easy to identify; it makes a graphic look unbalanced or awkward. Thankfully, most graphic design tools — even online tools meant for non-professionals — have grids that can help you quickly and efficiently align visual content. Though you might occasionally be in a hurry, taking the time to learn alignment tools will make all the difference in the image of your brand.

Typography

Fonts are fascinating, ever-changing, and have intriguing histories. It can be a temptation to use as many as you can in a visual. Restrain yourself! Experimentation with fonts is best done in your free time, as a hobby. The knowledge you gain from that hobby can be put to use in your later designs in a careful, intentional way. For the purposes of your brand, keep it simple — stay within one font family if possible, and use no more than three type styles within a single visual.

It’s common to encounter issues when creating images for visual branding. Try these tips to prevent and solve them!