Friday, November 29, 2013

Bad Design Might Drive Away Customers for Small Businesses and Freelancers

Why Clean Design is Important for Small Businesses and Freelancers: A relatively short rant pointed at strawmen explaining why cluttered design might drive away business. 

Just a fake logo for a fake company I made up in my head.
Follows my personal best practices for logo design.

Logo and website design is something that is often overlooked by new business owners as it does not pertain to the core of the business, but can mean the difference between a walk-in versus a walk-by because of preconceived notions about quality.

Before we go on, let's see two common examples of bad design from local businesses:

1. The Cluttered Local Coupon

A classic - the local ad done by someone who just learned how to use Photoshop. You've likely seen this one in your local penny saver/coupon book. There are several things that are technically good - the logo is actually clean, and a visible offer, call to action, and contact information. On the other hand... just look at it. 
Despite the fact that house painters don't necessarily need to be professional artists to do their jobs properly, the connotation of working with paint combined with the terrible mismatched design may provide enough cognitive dissonance to make a potential customer think twice about hiring them. 
Also, I get that SEO consultants usually stress the need for Twitter and Facebook, but I just find it silly in cases like this. Really no need to put it in the ad.

2. The Outdated Local Business Website

On a personal level, I know that only a truly experienced freelance Linux admin would have this appreciation of spartan design, but once again, many end customers might not understand that. This example also has good things going for it: Clear info and uncluttered design - unfortunately, the design is outdated by about 20 years. 
The logo looks like it was pulled from MS Word clipart, and all of the components of the webpage just are not themed out and looks disjointed.

So, with these extreme examples of poor design sensibilities in mind, I urge any small business owner to read up on logo design with printing in mind, then look back at how they present themselves online or in real life. When you are competing against bigger competitors with more resources, a simple, relatively small investment like a clean and clear logo and web presence might be just the leverage needed to make the sale.

Rabbit Design Philosophy and Examples:
Simple Small Business Website Package:


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  2. Good post! I agree that a responsive design is one of the most important things. personally I think it is important to create something unique in order to attract as many visitors as possible. That's why I recommend to pay attention not only to the popular website builders and platforms, but also to the modern projects that suggest new directions in web design like that one on I should say, your information is useful for me. Thanks!

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