What to look for in a designer for your Twitch channel

By 1 February, 2016 No Comments

This isn’t the oldest of discussions on Twitch but it’s something that we need to start talking about. With the rise of smaller streamers and smaller designers we’re going to see an influx of bad design. As you know you do get what you pay for and that’s why I wanted to let you know what to look for in a designer for your Twitch channel.

  1. Some background first
  2. Getting to the core of the issue
  3. Be careful of misleading ads
  4. What do avoid in a Twitch designer

Some background first

Design can be a passion but it’s also a profession. Design can be creative but in many cases it isn’t. There’s a distinctive difference between being creative and being a designer. They’re not  interchangeable but it takes creativity to be a art director but it dosen’t take too much creativity to be a technician. A Technician uses the tools very well, know the tools very well but can’t execute on the final outcome.

Why do I bring that up? It’s the core of the issue both with minimal and other types of designs around Twitch. First of all minimal/flat design (not minimal art) was introduced to better comply with responsive design and from that it grew into a trend that have stayed for a long time. And even when you look at the new trends that are coming they’re based in flat/minimal design (but also takes a lot from retro, glitch and destructive). For Twitch it’s also used to bring the best viewer experience and allow there to be as much of the gameplay, entertainment, creative, talk show etc. that there can be at once.

Getting to the core of the issue

The issue surfaces when you have technicians trying to do creative design. They use minimal for the sake of being minimal or only for the sake of showing the gameplay. However the big misstep that they take is that when you apply minimal design to a brand you’re suppose to  pack more personality into a smaller space. That’s often we’re technicians fail hard on minimal design, even season “designers” fail when it comes to it. It’s a lack of experience and a lack of understanding/creating/extending the brand for a Twitch broadcaster.

When we’re talking the type of design that fills up 30-50% of the screen we’re talking about a designer that isn’t able to process the input for a better output. The best designer can channel and take the input and transform that  into what’s in the Twitch broadcasters head but that they’re not able to put forward in speech/text. A great designer (or even just a good one) has to be able to read minds and read the signs of time. It’s NOT about trying to make the pretties or best looking thing from the designers perspective. It’s about being inline with the perspective that’s been put forward for months/years by the Twitch broadcaster. Minimal/flat etc. is the ultimate test for any designer that they’re able to actually convey a message that isn’t over-the-top.

Be careful of misleading ads

Twitch branding land can be very difficult to navigate and I want to try and not only are there a lot of people but there’s a lot of pitfalls. The biggest pitfall is the “we do branding” and that became apparent after TwitchCon. A lot of services added in Branding as part of their website or the Tweets they put out. Sadly what they do has very little to do with branding and when you take a critical look they haven’t been able to convey the personality. Often they go on your name, a few words where you describe yourself or in some cases based around a illustration they found online. Keep reading to find out what you should avoid when looking for a Twitch designer to design your Twitch channel.

What to avoid in a Twitch designer

If you’re looking for (real) Twitch branding and not random graphics that you think is going to aid you, and trust me my inbox is filled with clients that have escaped the pitfalls of going to cheap and bad designers first. Therefore I’ve put together a small checklist if you want to see what to try and avoid when trying to find a graphic designer/art director for your Twitch branding:

[mks_accordion] [mks_accordion_item title=”Branding without substance”] As mentioned the word branding became a popularized term around Twitch after TwitchCon. The most shady services use this to give you the illusion that they are doing branding.

Don’t get tricked into thinking that the word automatically means they’re professional or that they even offer proper branding. You might eventually end up in hole that’s going to be very hard to dig yourself out from, both money wise and branding wise.
[/mks_accordion_item] [mks_accordion_item title=”Stolen art/traced art”]This have become less common, due to better designers and illustrators entering the scene, but there’s still Twitch branding services that straight out copies/traces vectors you can download through a google search. If you want personalized branding you should avoid this at all costs since you’re going eventually have to pay someone to correct all of their mistakes and it’s going to cost you a lot more.

If you want to avoid it then remember to do a reverse search on anything you get as a preview. Also keep a keen eye on all of the illustration since they tend to combine different elements and maybe add a few pen strokes and that will result in the illustration looking like it has 2-3 (or more) different art styles in one.
[/mks_accordion_item] [mks_accordion_item title=”Marketplaces”] These are becoming more and more common. It’s not always the worst thing when starting out BUT remember that this isn’t branding and it never will be branding. Whenever someone else can have the same exact look as you it’s not unique and it’s not going to be personalized. It’s diminish to your brand over time and if you start jumping from style to style without understanding the impact that it has you’re going to have a bad time.
[/mks_accordion_item] [mks_accordion_item title=”No explanation/process”] If there’s no explanation or process shown at all for the the design/branding then you’re probably running into someone that have no understanding of branding. They me great at being technical but you’re not looking for someone to the technical. You want someone that can understand you, your brand, ambition and goals.

Look for someone that not only can give you insight into the process but explains the decisions behind each step. Was it them? Was it from the client? Why was it made that way?
[/mks_accordion_item] [mks_accordion_item title=”Little to no knowledge about Twitch”] This kind of falls under the previous tab but knowledge can also be an overall understanding of Twitch. If there’s none you’ve probably run into someone that are still struggling with understanding the difference between Twitch branding and other branding.

Be very careful when dealing with someone that don’t seem to really understand or have the proper knowledge of Twitch. It’s kind of like going to car mechanic with a boat. Sure they understands the mechanics behind it and the motor but can they give you what you need?
[/mks_accordion_item] [mks_accordion_item title=”Word like cheap/affordable”] Only in the design world of Twitch does this seem to be something of pride. When you talk about a car do you want a cheap car? Do you want a cheap service of your brand new car? Cheap clothes?

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to be frugal but if you’re serious about your craft then save up the funds to get what you deserve instead. Get your broken bones fixed and don’t go for a affordable/cheap band aid.
[/mks_accordion_item] [mks_accordion_item title=”carbonmade, wix, weebly”] Only in the design world of Twitch does this seem to be something of pride. When you talk about a car do you want a cheap car? Do you want a cheap service of your brand new car? Cheap clothes?

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to be frugal but if you’re serious about your craft then save up the funds to get what you deserve instead. Get your broken bones fixed and don’t go for a affordable/cheap band aid.

It also don’t mean you should pay a fortune but have a critical eye on every portfolio you run across. Don’t look only at the result but the process, how much do they care, how do they work etc.
[/mks_accordion_item] [mks_accordion_item title=”A bad portfolio”] Always avoid style over substance when you look at a portfolio. Does anything in it convey the feeling of the streamer? Can you even see yourself in the work?

Even when you look at the design/layout of the portfolio, is it over-the-top? Animations? A lot of flashy things with not substance? Then you can be sure that they care more about themselves looking good then you.
[/mks_accordion_item] [/mks_accordion]

With that said there’s always an exception to the rule, but I want everyone to be careful, since there’s going to be those that will try to take advantage of smaller streamers as Twitch grows.



Need real Twitch branding? I’ve work with both partnered and non-partnered Twitch streamers and done so for over 3 years. For me this is full time and I’m dedicated to my clients and my craft. I do both branding, visual branding and consulting based on understanding you, your community and your channel. If that sounds interesting to you then you should check out my Twitch services/portfolio/client list and contact me right away.

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I hope you all had a good weekend and getting back on that Twitch horse! I might be moving soon to a place that have a fiber connection and that makes me happy. On top of that I just finished up a project that I’ll write a case study on for this Thursday.

What I would like from you above anything else is that, IF you found this article useful, either subscribe to the LiveSpace Weekly newsletter or follow me on Twitter. Much love XO.



Do you need a Twitch website done the right way? Or do you need a Twitch branding strategy? If you're ready then take a look at the Twitch services and see if they fit into your future.