Five Branding Design Mistakes to Avoid for Your Small Business

branding tips and mistakes

The right branding can elevate your business and give you a competitive edge. On the other hand, a poorly designed and executed branding can wreck your business.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs rush the branding process and cut corners. Sure they might save a few dollars initially but in the long-term, their business will likely suffer as the result.  If your branding is misaligned with your company mission and vision and doesn’t resonate with your core demographic you’ll have a difficult time growing your business.

This article will highlight five branding mistakes entrepreneurs need to avoid if they want to succeed in marketing their business.

1. Using a Lengthy Business Name and Long Slogans

You want your business name to be short and sweet. A concise name is much easier to remember and looks much better in terms of design. Many small business owners want to include too much information into their business name.

Remember, there is a difference between your legal business name that you use for your filing, banking and taxation records and your brand name. Take a look at Fortune 500 companies, how many of them display their full legal names in their branding? Drop the inc, incorporated, LLP, LLC, etc. and when registering your business go for the shortest option possible. The same goes for your slogan, keep it short and to the point. The longer a slogan the more difficult it is to incorporate it in a visually pleasing way.

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Think of the most famous advertising slogans, everyone knows and remembers, “Just Do It” – Nike, “Finger Lickin’ Good” – KFC, “Think Different” – Apple, “Taste the Feeling” – Coca Cola, You get the idea. Stick with shorter and snappier slogans if you’re looking to make an impact and a long-lasting impression.

2. Designing a Complicated Logo 

The logo is one of your most important branding assets. Your entire branding strategy will be driven by your logo design choices. One mistake that many small business owners make is they overcomplicate their designs. Without a graphic design degree, many business owners go for a complicated logo that tried to accomplish too many things at once. Shading, gradients and complicated design can make the logo look cluttered. When it comes to creating a memorable logo, less is always more. The simpler your logo is, the more likely your customers will remember it. Think of Nike Swoosh or McDonald’s arches.

When you design your logo try lots of different graphics and fonts until you find a beautiful yet simple concept you love. You can have a graphic designer create those concepts for you or you can use a free tool like the GraphicSprings Logo Maker to come up with your own designs.

3. Being Inconsistent

The colors, fonts, and effects you choose should be consistent throughout all of your marketing materials including website, business cards, social media channels, merchandise, etc.. The consistent use of your branding is what makes it memorable for your customers. Seeing your logo and your branding on different channels is what will make them remember your brand.

Whether they visit your website, Instagram page or walk into your store the visual experience needs to be the same. Make sure to incorporate your logo into all of your brand assets. Stick to the same font sets, icons as well as images. Most small business owners are very inconsistent in these aspects and this will help you stand out. Consider creating a branding style guide that will define what fonts, colors, iconography and other visual elements required when creating marketing materials for the business.

4. Using Inconsistent Messaging and Tone

Enforcing a consistent visual style also applies to a company’s vision and how ti’s presented. It’s important to identify what message you want to send as a business. An exercise all entrepreneurs should do is create and revisit their mission and vision statements. Once you know what your business stands for and who your target audience is, you can then decide which messaging and tone will work the best.

It’s important to consistently use the same messaging and tone across all of your promotional and information material like website, sales brochures, support page, etc. Don’t use corporate jargon if your customers are young teens. And as always check out well known famous brands that do an excellent job at staying consistent with their branding message and tone.

5. Poor Graphics and Visuals

One of the quickest and easiest ways to capture user attention is through the use of visuals.

If the photos and graphics you use look old, generic or outdated it will likely reflect negatively on the brand. You need to use a consistent photo style and apply it to all of your marketing materials. This applies to the icons, infographics and other visuals. Stay away from generic stock photos. It’s true that there are many free stock photo websites with a great selection of beautiful photos, but keep in mind, these photos are also used on many other sites. So use these images only at the last resort and replace them as soon as your budget allows.
If customers see your photos are generic, outdated and not representative of who you are, they’re less likely to do business with you.


When it comes to branding there is a noticeable difference between small businesses and larger corporations. It’s easy to blame a small budget and lack of resources for poorly executed branding design. Many small business owners even try to save money by attempting to design their own brand. Saving money on branding it a terrible idea that will likely result in huge financial losses in the long run.

To stay competitive, small businesses can use innovative ideas and creativity to create a remarkable brand without breaking the bank. By following the tips and avoiding common design mistakes your brand will not only look professional but also be memorable. 

Author Bio: Scott Smith is a freelance graphic designer with a degree in psychology. He’s passionate about design, entrepreneurship, marketing and how it’s all tied to behavioral psychology.  When he’s not designing or writing he likes to travel and surf. You can connect with him on Twitter and Medium

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

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