We see it everyday from our Calliope offices. Bad DIY design. You know the type... loads of fonts that don't coordinate, people who use comic sans to imply youth or horrible composition; this bad DIY design is rampant. With the accessibility of computers and programs that edit and create images, we understand why it is enticing from a logistical and financial standpoint to just create it yourself. Also, sites like shutterfly, tiny prints, and others allow you to create "designer quality" mailers and images with a few formatting tools from their online interface. It's an exciting time for the internet and those who want custom "professional" looking designs!
There are negatives though... we can not tell you how often we spot a tiny print, a shutterfly, or another large template site's work when we receive invitations, holiday cards, and announcements. What's frustrating from a designers standpoint is while the designs are beautiful and trendy, they lack the personalization of a slight filigree scroll or a more masculine edge to professionally selected and created design. And in a world where voices are just getting louder, information is coming at us at alarming rates, and the lines between realitity and fantasy are blurred more and more... being unique and noticeable is a necessity.
Bad DIY Design can be sneaky... you think a cute scroll font would look nice so you use it. Then you can't get over how perfect a chalkboard style font would look with a curly frame. Then you just have to add the chalkboard effect, a picture and a HUGE logo or monogram. One word...gaudy... like Real Housewives of New Jersey Gaudy! For the sake of showing real life embarrassing examples, we have created a graphic that embodies the "TOO MUCH" theme.
So these are some Reasons Why your DIY design just doesn't work.
TOO MANY FONTS
As a rule of thumb... 3 fonts MAX! That's THREE! Uno, Dos, Tres (I feel like the genie from Aladdin) Moreover, most designs can only handle or carry two fonts. Instead of junking up your design with more fonts, create emphasis and readability using additional formatting such as bold, italic, underline, size, or all caps/ lowercase.
Here we have fixed the fonts. We took out the 5 fonts and chose two. One primary font to carry to quote and another on the word "off". This created a fun and feminine touch plus it transforms the quote from a fashion law to a saucy and flirtatious suggestion.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
Here the quotation marks are not needed. They junk up the space. It is assumed that the text is a quotation since we used the name - Chanel at the bottom. This example doesn't really show just how much can be taken away from a design when you are looking to omit information. So, some things to ask yourself is:
1. Can I direct customers/ friends to another place for this information?
(i.e. there is no need to state a businesses hours, address, email, phone etc. Simply point people to your website or better yet, put a QR Code on the flyer and call it a day.)
2. Can I communicate information another way using fewer words or symbols?
& % $ # @ are all your friends and can express numerous other words or meanings simply by their placement.
TOO MUCH STUFF
We personally like clean and simple designs but we can't tell you how many of our clients say they want "clean and simple" but in reality they want tons of embellishments. Less is more. We took out the double boarder, (the flirty "off." speaks enough to its girly appeal. Do as the quote says and before you hit print or save... take something off.
There are of course loads of other design rules and tips but this will have to do for now. So follow Calliope - Presence in Media on all the major social networks, subscribe to the blog and you will stay up to date with the latest and greatest tips, tricks, news, and inspiration from the talent @CalliopePIM