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Home > Blog > Judging a book by its cover: how poor print design can alienate your audience

Judging a book by its cover: how poor print design can alienate your audience

We’re always told that we shouldn’t judge someone on their appearance, but in the world of business the outward appearance of your brand counts for everything. Your logo, brand colours and every single printed material you distribute must all be well designed if you are to avoid alienating your audience through poor print design. This may seem a rather extreme claim, but ask yourself this: if you were faced with a choice between two seemingly identical companies, would you trust the business with the professional looking business card or one that looked like it was thrown together in five minutes on MS Paint?

 

Noticing design flaws

Many marketing departments may struggle to objectively assess the strength (or otherwise) of their printed materials. Having spent so long working on the company branding and the design of its print, it’s always difficult to distance yourselves from the end result and look back on it with a highly critical eye. A design studio can help point out problems with your current designs, from inconsistent fonts and off-centre design elements to problems with bleed and margins. Admitting that your print designs aren’t perfect is the first step towards improving them.

 

Mixed messages

Your business cards, leaflets, and posters can look fantastic, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to win you business any time soon. Design isn’t just about aesthetics – you need to consider function, too. Your design must match up with your brand, which must appeal to your target market. Movie marketers often get this wrong – almost every recent box office flop in recent years was at least partly down to marketing it the wrong way. John Carter is of the oft-cited example of poor movie marketing in action. Disney didn’t seem to know who to market the film at, so opted for a rather generic marketing campaign that didn’t actually appeal to anyone. The nature of your print designs says a lot about your brand and how you operate. If you go ahead and carry out a marketing campaign aimed at your 20-something target market using print designs that are conservative and a tad old-fashioned, you’re not going to get anywhere. This design mismatch alienates audiences and is likely to jeopardise your marketing campaign.

 

Outdated

Very few print designs are timeless, so almost every brand has to refresh their logo and printed designs every now and then. Again, it is difficult to ascertain if your designs are becoming outdated – ask for feedback from clients, customers and the general public to see if your brand is seen as stuffy or sophisticated. An outdated visual brand doesn’t reflect the present state of your company – but potential clients and customers don’t know that, and are likely to see your brand has outdated and irrelevant.


Updating your print designs and reprinting key print projects doesn’t have to break the bank. Here at PMG Print Management, our design studio can help you create new designs from scratch, optimised to reduce the cost of print while maximising their effectiveness. Book a free print inspection to find out what you could save.

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