Promotional graphics are an essential part of any successful marketing campaign. They can be used to boost brand recognition, attract new customers, and increase engagement with your existing customers. Beautiful graphic designs help you stand out from the competition and make a lasting impression on potential customers. By creating eye-catching visuals that capture attention and convey your message in an effective way, you can significantly increase the value of marketing campaigns.

That’s all well and good, but a problem arises when your promotional graphics are.. well.. terrible.

What are promotional graphics?

Promotional graphics are visual assets used to promote a brand, product, or service.

These graphics range from digital ads and social media posts to posters, brochures, packaging, and outdoor ads. The purpose of promotional graphics is to create a memorable and impactful impression on the target audience. And, in doing so, enjoy increased brand awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, sales. Unfortunately, the following brands probably won’t be reaping any of those benefits.

Here are nine graphic design examples showing a bad design that you can laugh at, learn from, and never copy.

1. Distorted Face

promotional graphic car wrap

First on the list is this car wrap promotional graphics for Canadian politician Yves Lévesque.

At first glance, the ad looks okay – until the back passenger opens the window. When the window rolls down, Lévesque’s eyes and nose go down to his mouth, making Lévesque’s face look distorted. Definitely not a good look! 

Design Tip:

  • Design the graphic with its practical use in mind. When using a graphic for outdoor advertising, pay attention to doors, windows, and other moving parts.  

2. Half-Screen Website

promotional graphic design example

Good design makes the most out of the given physical or digital space.

This website design for Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) seems to have missed that point. As seen in the image, the content is crammed within about half of the screen. 

The other half is empty – an awful waste of space. 

Design Tip:

  • Go for a clean and responsive website template that adapts to screen size. Better yet, get customized website designs from our professional graphic designers.

3. Don’t Kill the Author

promotional graphic bad book cover

Lisa Jackson is a bestselling author – and certainly doesn’t deserve what the book cover suggests!

Jackson’s books more or less have the same template: Left to Die, Chosen to Die, Born to Die, Afraid to Die, and so on. For this particular edition, however, two elements contributed to a distressing cover – a faulty layout and a lack of contrast in chosen fonts.    

Design Tip:

  • During layout, ensure that the text reads right so you won’t form unintended phrases or sentences. You can also seek help from seasoned designers with experience in book illustrations.

4. Stuck in the 2000s

promotional graphic bad website

This may seem like a made-up image to illustrate an overwhelming digital design.

But it’s an actual website for a religious organization, and you can check it out for yourself. Religious convictions aside, this design can benefit from a more minimalist approach. The designer had a spree when choosing colors, vector design, and font styles.   

Design Tip:

  • What may have been an acceptable design two decades ago may be intolerable now. Visit the websites of competitors or similar organizations and take a cue from how they design their online presence. 

5. Wh– What?

promotional graphic design example

Read the title of the magazine out loud.

It’s actually Where, but don’t feel bad if you got it wrong because a lot of people do. In this January 2012 issue, the layout designer covered the lower half of the letter “e” with the model’s head, making the whole word open to unwholesome interpretation. Take note of this example if digital newsletters are a part of your promotional tactics.  

Design Tip:

  • Again, this example shows how crucial layout is. Before publishing, double-check the design and read the text to ensure they can’t be misinterpreted. If you’re superimposing images over a letter, don’t cover the part that differentiates that letter from other letters.  

6. Cluttered Classifieds

promotional graphic design example

Aren’t classified ads supposed to consist of many elements anyway?

Right. But it shouldn’t look as overwhelming as this classified ads website. As seen in the image, it’s difficult to even know where to start, much less digest the information presented. This example shows what sets professional designs apart from amateur designs.

Design Tip:

  • Use a simple grid layout when putting various elements on a page together. By doing so, you can guide the viewers’ eyes from one element to the next without overwhelming them.

7. Accidental Venn Diagram

promotional graphic design example

Even a reputable organization like Thompson Reuters can sometimes slip in terms of graphic design.

This design accidentally appeared like a Venn Diagram. And if viewed as such, it says there’s a tiny overlap between Thompson Reuters’ values and trust, partnership, innovation, and performance.   

Design Tip:

  • It’s easy to miss a bad design decision when you’re constantly working too close to your subject. After finishing a design, relax or work on something else for a few hours. Then come back to your design with fresh eyes. Better yet, show your work to others so they can share a new perspective on the design.

8. Garlic Mayo Car Cleaner?

promotional graphic design example

You’ll probably be confused when you see these promotional graphics examples on the grocery aisle.

The bottle and graphic design make the product look like a car cleaner. However, the items are – who might have guessed – salad dressing! If you don’t look twice and read the text, you might end up smearing yogurt and mint all over your car.  

Design Tip:

9. Worrisome Design

promotional graphic design example

If you have a mental healthcare business and you’re looking for promotional ideas, you can include inspirational shirts on your list.

But certainly not this example! Instead of a positive quote, the layout and design make the text on the shirt read, “Don’t be happy worry.” That’s surely not a line to live by!   

Design Tip:

  • Don’t let a creative design go in the way of expressing your message. Prioritize readability over aesthetics; otherwise, the latter won’t be of any use.

The key takeaway? Simple: plan your promotional graphics thoughtfully and carefully before executing. If you’re unsure how to do it right, seek help from the pros, and you’ll be on the safe side.

Get unlimited promotional graphics with Penji!

Penji graphic design example

Through our global design team, businesses can get unlimited promotional graphics on demand. With its intuitive design interface and AI-powered matching system, Penji makes it easy to create high-quality graphics for any purpose. Whether you need logos, flyers, brochures, videos or web designs, Penji has you covered with its wide selection of templates and customizations. Plus, its affordable plans make it a great choice for businesses of all sizes. So if you’re looking to get unlimited promotional graphics quickly and easily, learn more about us here!