Consistency across the board

Everyone is a designer.  Or so they think.  Many startups have a logo designed professionally, but decide to ‘design’ their stationery themselves.  The results are often disastrous.  All the money spent on a finely crafted brand quickly becomes pointless when a stretched logo is placed on a Comic Sans bespeckled letterhead.

In order to distinguish your business from its competitors, you should build a strong brand through every possible touch point with your customers. Yes, that means spending a little more.  But letting the professionals design the branding collateral will have you reap the benefits later.  Your clients will only view you as truly trustworthy if you portray a consistent brand image across the board.  Some branding touch points you might want to consider having designed professionally include:

  • Letterhead:
    A letterhead isn’t just a piece of paper with your logo on it.  It is often the first impression someone gets of your business and should be an extension of your brand.  Get a professional template with your logo and contact details which you can print out or email to your customers. This is a non-negotiable brand touchpoint. We provide our clients with Word templates which they can use to immediately start typing;
  • Business cards:
    Even in our digital age, business cards remain an effective way of sharing your details and creating a good first impression. If you are networking, you’ll need a business card. One that reflects the company persona without trying too hard;
  • Email signatures:
    A custom HTML signature with your details at the bottom of your emails are a necessity. Don’t make it difficult for your customers to contact you. Ensure that your text is selectable and available for copying and pasting. Nobody likes memorising phone numbers — selectable text can be clicked and dialed immediately.
  • Faxhead:
    It boggles the mind why we still use faxes, but we do. A conversion of your letterhead to a pure black and white document will ensure that no detail gets lost during the faxing process. Note that this is not just a greyscale version of your letterhead.  A proper faxhead will make use of a monochrome logo, not a greyscale one.  Talk to your designer — she’ll know the difference;
  • Website:
    If your business doesn’t have an online presence, for many clients you don’t exist. Get a site up and running before you launch, even if it’s just a single page with your contact details and a temporary ‘under construction’ banner of some sort.  And don’t use clipart or animated GIFs — have it designed by a qualified graphic designer!  And don’t let it stay that way for longer than 3 months — expand the site while there is still time.

Graphic designers are not puppets without souls

It’s great to be part of the design industry – creating visual solutions is a very enjoyable and satisfying process. But, as with everything in life, there are a few things that our Sunflood graphic designers consider challenging and well, less pleasant.

Firstly, it is difficult when a client rejects or dislikes all the ideas we present. We are an artistic and sensitive species – we tend to put our heart and soul into the work we create. If we excitedly present an idea to a client who disapproves immediately, we naturally feel disappointed and dejected. Sometimes it feels like a personal rejection. Our experience has taught us, however, that in most cases a dissatisfied client leads us to even deeper exploration of possibles design solutions, usually producing a better and more creative end result. Although it’s a win-win to eventually find the required aesthetic after a few attempts, we avoid missing the mark by initiating a Creative Interview process at the beginning of each project. Read more about this on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

In the second place, graphic designers are not puppets. If there is one thing that kills our joy, it is not having any creative freedom. We like to believe that we are approached by clients because they already have some degree of trust in our creative abilities and are looking for a unique visual solution. If, in the end, they dictate every aspect of the design process, telling us what to do, how to do it, where to move every visual element, we feel frustrated and used. We are experts at what we do, and from years of experience we mostly know what works and what doesn’t. Just like you believe that your mechanic will know how to fix your car, we appreciate clients that put their trust in our design expertise.

We try to maintain a careful balance between client input and our creative output. Of course we need our clients to guide us and let us into the world of their brands, but a little trust and a little sensitivity will go a long way to getting the results they want.