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:
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.
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;
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.