The Do’s and Don’ts of Graphic Design for Marketing Materials

Graphic Design for Marketing Materials

Marketing materials play a crucial role in how the audience perceives a brand. As if it’s the first thing the community will know about it. They communicate the brand’s message and values, so your primary goal is to consider every design aspect to make it speak for you and assert your business. In fact, as a graphic designer, I have seen countless marketing materials that range from brilliant to downright terrible. And I’m here to discuss the do’s and don’ts and help you create marketing materials that would really work.

When designing marketing materials, it’s crucial to consider the target audience’s preferences and expectations. Once you know who you are designing for and what your brand’s purpose is, you can switch to the creative part. Motivate users to take action, build a bond with a company or simply find some interest in the product — graphic design is here for it. By incorporating design elements (color, typography, and imagery), you can create a design that hits your goals and helps the brand reach the community and every customer personally.

I’ll share with you the most popular tips from this field. However, I strongly recommend checking some extra resources. For example, in this blog, you can find valuable information and resources about graphic design for marketing materials, including tips and best practices for creating visually appealing and effective designs.

Do’s and Don’ts of Graphic Design for Marketing Materials

Color Choices

DO: Choose a color scheme that complements the brand’s design system. Colors are good at evoking emotions and can connect the brand and its audience. Make sure to use your brand colors in your printed material, in your Instagram story background, as well on your website and app. For example, red stands for a sense of excitement and urgency, while blue can convey trust and dependability. Take Apple’s marketing materials, for example. They are sleek and minimalist, featuring a black-and-white color scheme that reflects Apple’s values of innovation and sophistication.

DON’T: Use too many colors or choose colors that clash. Excessive use of color can be overwhelming and confusing for the audience. Choosing a palette that clashes can make the design appear unprofessional and unappealing. For instance, take a look at the website of Heinz 57. The website features a range of colors that do not work well together and create a dissonant effect.


DO: Use typography that is easy to read and fits the brand. The choice of typography can impact the perception of the design as a whole — that’s why using fonts that are too ornate or difficult to read can turn off the audience. They’ll simply won’t go further! For instance, look at the typography used by Tiffany & Co. The chosen fonts are elegant, refined, and easy to read, and their pairing is worth a separate mention.

DON’T: Use too many fonts, as this is an easy way to make the design appear unprofessional and cheap. Illegible fonts are a huge NO too. Need proofs? Take a look at the Comic Sans MS and all the companies, teams, and entrepreneurs who risk featuring it in their concepts. Not only Comic Sans MS is overused it is also a synonym for bad taste and poor design.


DO: Use a layout that is easy to follow and visually appealing. A well-designed layout will make the marketing materials stand out, please the eye, and guide the audience’s attention. Squarespace is a worthy example. Their website features a clean and organized layout (not a single odd element!) that drives the audience’s eyes to the vital information.

DON’T: Overcrowd the design or use an unbalanced layout. Otherwise, the user will get confused without knowing how to navigate. Actually, this is one of the worst mistakes you can make, so remember to start every concept with a composition draft and have it tested by your colleagues. If you don’t, you risk repeating the failure of Angelfire. The website features an unbalanced layout that makes the design appear amateurish.

Image Selection

DO: Use high-quality images relevant to the brand and the message. If the company has a design system, check it to make the most accurate choice of graphics. And take a look at the social media profiles of Nike. They feature high-quality images of athletes and fitness enthusiasts, showing Nike’s values of athleticism and determination.

DON’T: Use low-quality images, stock images “just in case”, and images unrelated to the brand and the message. You better refrain from using graphics at all or limit yourself to a font logo design than end up with tons of cheap-looking shots. It’s funny that Wix, one of the leaders in website building, is an anti-hero in this field. Their website features low-quality images that have nothing to do with their business.


DO: Maintain consistency throughout all marketing materials. Consistency helps establish the brand’s identity and makes the marketing materials recognizable. For example, take a look at the branding of Coca-Cola. It invariably uses the iconic red and white color scheme, the distinctive script font, and the classic bottle shape, creating a memorable and recognizable brand identity.

DON’T: Use inconsistent branding or design elements. This way, you might confuse the audience and dilute the brand’s identity. For instance, if a company uses a different logo or color scheme for each marketing material, it results in a mess not only in marketing materials but also in how the community perceives the brand.

White Space

DO: Use white space to create a clean and uncluttered design. White space draws attention to the design’s essential elements and makes it more appealing. Have you seen the packaging design of Apple products? It traditionally features generous use of white space, creating a clean and minimalist look that confirms the brand’s values.

DON’T: Overcrowd the design or use too much white space. When you overcrowd the design it appears cluttered and hard to navigate, while using too much white space makes the design look unfinished or incomplete.

Visual Hierarchy

DO: Use visual hierarchy to prioritize information and guide the user’s eye. Visual hierarchy refers to the arrangement of design elements to emphasize essential information. Check how Dropbox uses it on its website and try to implement their experience in your work.

DON’T: Use an unclear or confusing visual hierarchy. A vague or confusing visual hierarchy, similar to the poor layout, makes the design difficult to navigate and makes it hard for the audience to find the necessary information.

Call to Action: Graphic Design for Marketing Materials

DO: Include a clear and concise call to action in the marketing materials. You can follow the example of Airbnb. Their website features a clear call-to-action that encourages the audience to “Book unique homes and experiences all over the world.”

DON’T: Include a confusing or weak call to action. A confusing or weak call-to-action is likely to reduce the effectiveness of the marketing materials and make it difficult for the audience to take the action.

There are still so many details and tiny features to consider when working on marketing materials and trying to make them as effective as possible. So let these do’s and don’ts be just the basics to help you create a compelling design able to communicate the brand’s message and values.

Also Read: What Is Web Designing? Is Web Design a Good Career?