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The Seven Deadly Branding Sins

by Zoe Scott on October 04, 2021

Photo by Alexandra Iva on Unsplash


Every small business owner has, at one point or another, tried (or at least thought about) managing their own branding and DIY-ing their design documents.

With so many tools out there to create DIY Graphic Design and great designs to get inspiration from, it can’t be too hard… right?


The trouble with DIY design is that things can end up looking unbalanced, poorly executed, dated, not well-considered and, if we’re really honest… a little bit ugly.

See in the design world we know that to create a branding masterpiece, there are certain rules which need to be followed. And without a good understanding of these rules, you may find yourself unintentionally committing some horrific sins against the book of design. 

Fortunately good brand design can be taught, and if you want to get better at DIY designing, you can! Simply start with practicing the basics, get super familiar with their significance and most importantly, avoid committing one of these 7 deadly branding sins.


1. Lust

As humans, we are hard-wired for visual input and it goes without saying that we all LUST after pretty things. So when it comes to designing, it can be easy (even for the most experienced of us) to miss the bigger picture and focus solely on the aesthetics.

BUT brand design is not just pretty colours and a trendy typeface. Besides, a good-looking picture means nothing without the meaning and intention behind it.

DESIGN is the creation of an experience, how it works, what message it sends out to the world and creative thinking is the key to design success! 

So start off with a strong idea and explore creative ways to present it!


2. Gluttony

Don’t overindulge by adding more colours to your plate than you can handle. Colours have meaning, and too many all together will overwhelm your audience by sending mixed messages, making it hard for them to know what to pay attention to. 

Taking the time to carefully choose your colours is a smart step in becoming a memorable business brand. It’s essential to think of the intended audience and clearly understand what message you are trying to convey. 

Best practice when choosing your colour palette is to limit your choices to only two main colours and one or two accent colours. Understand the meaning behind each colour and use them in a purposeful way.

Hot tip! There are LOADS of free colour generators available online to help you, some worthy recommendations include: Paletton, Colourlovers or Adobe Color.


3. Greed

Using the wrong fonts is messy, can feel confusing and can leave potential customers questioning the professionalism of your brand.

With SO MANY fonts to choose from, finding the right font or combination of fonts can be quite challenging and a common mistake is using inconsistent fonts across different media.

As a general rule, stick to two or three fonts that represent your business brand. Use them consistently across all platforms to improve brand recognition and save you time when creating designs.


4. Sloth

Any business owner can become lazy and go off track when building their brand. Perhaps they tire of their looks and messages, so they start improvising. And just like that, consistency goes out the window…along with your revenue and customer loyalty.

To build and maintain a strong brand, you must stay consistent. 
Follow this advice:

  • Evaluate each point of contact to ensure you present your brand message, look, and tone consistently and unfailingly.
  • Insist on uniform presentation of your logo.
  • Define and stay true to your brand character.
  • Create brand guidelines to be followed by everyone


5. Wrath

There is a reason why some things take a very long time to create, and if you want to see good results then you need to be patient with the process. Rather than getting angry that things might be moving slowly, use this time to fine tune your skills, learn new techniques, and take some risks.

You don’t need to be perfect or know everything straight away. You just need to be yourself. Your thought process and your creativity are unique to you.

Patience really is a virtue that should not be underestimated. Help yourself and your work by practicing patience. You might just see some excellent results.  


6. Envy

Appreciating good brand design is one thing but just because a design works for another business, does not mean it will work for yours. Looking for inspiration from the sites of competitors and copying their ideas is not the answer. 

Your audience wants a tailored experience not a cheap knock off and judging yourself or your business based on the competition will only lead to negative thinking and failure.

Embrace your uniqueness. Instead of envying your competition, use this hunger to fuel your own desires to become a better brand designer. Be creative, look beyond your niche for inspiration and stand out from the crowd with original design.


7. Pride

Your brand is not about you! It is about your audience! We all take pride in our work and being an expert in our field but, if you become complacent and refuse to keep evolving, you run the risk of ignoring your audience, and losing them altogether.

No matter how tight the timeline or how small the budget, it's important to spend at least some time talking to others. Do your market research and use your understanding of their needs to strategically create your brand.

Pride is good but, like all things, needs moderation. Keeping it in check is your responsibility.

Yes, there’s a skill to brand design but with some time and an open, inquisitive mind, it’s a skill which can be developed. Stick to the basics and the design rule book, and you’ll be surprised at the magic you’ll create.



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