Want branding that says ‘rich’, ‘money’, ‘glam’ and ‘luxe’?

Got a product or service that you know is going to make people money, and you just can’t wait to see your clients take it all to the bank?

Then chances are you’re thinking you want to go for the gold in your branding – a gold metallic look applied to fonts, borders and more. Oh, and gold ribbons floating across each web page! You want people to see your shiny brand and think of dazzling coins, jewelry and big bars of the good stuff.

While gold is an awesome color to use – warm, inviting, appealing – your dream of a website dipped in 24 karat gold might have to float up to the big sky.

Even if you use professional stock illustrations, you can’t truly create a decent metallic look via pixels. It just isn’t gonna happen – or at least not in the way you hope it will. I’m here to tell you to save your energy and do what most good designers do - simplify.

It is time to lose the faux 3D effects, the drop shadows, the gradients, the sparkle bling stars and light beams. Most of the time they look cheap and amateur (ouch!). Gold metallic elements, such as web buttons, can also appear cliché, gimmicky, and awkward. This is mainly due to the fact they rarely look realistic and are not executed with design prowess (cue Debbie Downer “wah waaah”).

The only way you can really create a metallic or shiny gold look is by, well, using shiny metallic materials. And that can be only done via the physical printing process. For example, printing gold foil on a book cover or business card (which adds to costs significantly, fyi).

But here is the good news. You can create elegance and glamour with other tried-and-true design tools – rejoice! Choose stylish but legible fonts (google ‘Swiss typefaces’ for classics fonts that always look great), use high-quality imagery (no random low-rez internet pictures), and always allow for ample white space in each composition. Make sure your photography is drool-worthy and reflects the upscale lifestyle of your brand. Keep your color palette consistent and use just two chic hues. Basic color theory will tell you that warm colors – yellows, oranges, and reds - lift people’s energy and invite engagement. Jewel tones like emerald green, purple and royal blue can suggest a rich lifestyle, and are eye-catching on digital platforms. There really are so many ways to build a brand that even Crystal Carrington would envy.

I promise, if you take the road less sparkly (and this is coming from someone who started a rhinestone collection at age 4) you will save yourself time, energy and money. Your brand will appear more sophisticated and refined. Simple is the way to go. Save your fancy bling for Saturday nights in Vegas - and be sure to text me when and where.