Design Pet Peeves


I’ve been a designer for a long time now. Naturally, during the course of that time I see business owners make the same missteps over and over again, some of which bother me intensely. These have resulted in this design pet peeves list. But, don’t fear! I’m never one to come in hot without adding value and giving advice, so this will be chock full of helpful tips as well. Who knows, this may become a series! Interested? Let’s get started.

Not Using a Favicon:

A favicon is the small (32×32 pixels) that you see in the top of the browser when on a web page. For example, the favicon Facebook uses is that classic F mark. See below for an example of my own (circled in Magenta).

When I come up on a site without a favicon or that is still using the Squarespace favicon, I immediately and a little disappointed. Favicons are such an easy way to further your cohesive brand identity.

If you have a crafted brand identity, your designer should have provided this to you. Use the image they provided to you (a png) and upload to your web platform. If you don’t have this, no worries. Here are some tips on creating a favicon:

  • Favicons are tiny – 32×32 pixels. So, don’t use an image here. It will be far to small to see.
  • Favicons need to be a png image so they’re transparent. Having a favicon with an unintentional background color almost as bad as not having a favicon in my opinion (looking at you jpgs).
  • If you have a legible circular logo, icon, or brand font, I’d recommend using one of those to create your favicon.

Having Just a Logo

I’m a brand designer, so of course I have pretty strong thoughts on this. I’ve already written a blog on that, so I won’t go into too much more detail here.

I know branding is a large investment, but if you have big goals for your business then you need to be actively working towards hiring a brand designer. You don’t have to hire me, but hire someone! In the meantime, I’ve got a free opt-in that may help you out.

I’m confident that you won’t be able to reach your big, crazy dream long term business goals without a thoughtful and strategic brand identity. That means far more than just a logo. I’m talking typography guidelines, a pattern, colors, multiple logo marks, tag-lines, imagery, and so much more.

Re-Using Other’s Graphics on Social Media

I get it – planning content is hard. But I’m confident that you have good things to say. My friend Kait recently said ‘Personal experiences are not common knowledge’. You have good and worthwhile things to share! Don’t depend on re-sharing content from others to grow your own audience. It just doesn’t work that way.

Here are some tips on creating content unique to you:

  • Keep a list in your phone of potential topics. Often, inspiration strikes me randomly and I need to write ideas down so I don’t forget. These ideas go in my ‘potential content’ list.
  • Think about your unique offering and perspective, and write about that. A lot.
  • Determine your boundaries for sharing. What are things you are and aren’t willing to talk about on social media? Politics, family, social justice, pop culture, etc. Boundaries are a good and healthy thing.
  • In addition to figuring out your own boundaries on social, figure out what your audience wants to see from you!

There’s soo much more that can be said about content creation, and I’m no pro at it. I’ve figured out what works for me. If you’re really interested in diving into this topic, I’d suggest following Tyler J. McCall!

Email Addresses:

Just like favicons, this is another really important touch point. When I receive an email from a business at a personal gmail, I’m immediately skeptical. It’s an important impression, so it’s made this design pet peeves list. Think about it, which of these look more professional? OR

Of course, it’s the one with my url! This comes across as far more professional and they can immediately go to my own site just by copying and pasting that url.

This can sometimes be a bit tricky to get connected, but it’s worth it. You can set this up through G Suite, or if you have Squarespace I’d recommend going that route.

So, there it is – possibly the first in a series of design pet peeves. I hope this was helpful to you!