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Your Stuff Is Ugly, That's Why Sales Are Down

Category: Graphic Design and Branding Published on Feb 04

Your stuff is ugly and your business is suffering

Was your first reaction something like: Ouch! That’s a bit harsh.

These words may not be nice, but unfortunately for many small businesses and startups they are true. While some people are blissfully unaware, many are painfully aware of the truth and will go into full denial about how their marketing material, product or service looks from the outside looking in. The reality is, it’s your baby and no parent ever wants to call their baby ugly (even if it is).


If we’re honest, we can all remember having seen at least one baby where we felt compelled to say how beautiful it is, even though we may not have privately agreed. Instead, we sprayed some rose scent on it, sucked it up and told that white lie because we knew it would be hurtful if we shared our private thoughts.

Your business is the same and people understand that, which is why getting honest feedback from the people around you can be so difficult. They know it’s your baby and they can’t or just won’t tell you what they really think.

The hardest thing about being in control of your own business is having to be judge, jury and well, art director. Many times what you think and what your friends and family tell you looks great, is not really top notch. And you may not recognize the truth of this statement until you see something better.

Unfortunately, these subpar designs, like your website, logo, flyers or business card (your ugly babies) are in fact hurting your business. It may not be hurting it with your current customers; instead, it is hurting you with the customers you never got because of it. The reality is that everyone judges and the quality of what they see is judged quicker than anything else. You could have the greatest product, service or company in the world, but if your marketing material does not match what you do it doesn’t matter.

Please know, we are not saying any of this to be mean. We are just hoping that this will make you take a look at what you have and evaluate it not based on it being your baby, but rather as a representation of how it shows your business to the world. Take a look at some materials from others that are in your industry, specifically those that are more successful, larger and charge more. What do you think is the difference between them and you?

How your brand, business and material are being perceived is most likely a large part of it. So before you start distributing or take any material online, do yourself a favor and take a neutral look before you do.

  • Will this piece help increase your business and give people the perception of the business you want them to have?
  • Does the piece set the expectation you want to set, be it with the price they should expect to pay or service they are about to receive?
  • Are you a luxury car, a new car or does it look like an advertisement from the sleazy used car dealer up the street?


Perception is everything so make sure you allow your potential customers to get the right one from your marketing materials.