I talk a big game about branding but what does that mean?
Yes, yes, you have a logo and your special fonts and custom colors but how are you using them? And have you manipulated the documents that utilize them for so long that they no longer adhere to your brand?
Breaking a Logo
When corporate (or your designer) sends out the logo for your use it should be accompanied by a style guide. It won’t be uncommon to see a page that shows the correct way to use the logo.
- Is your logo pixelated?
- Did you ever have to resize the logo manually? (THIS IS A BIG ONE! If you ever had to resize multiple times, you should have branding take a look at your document or ask them for the size you need.)
- Are you using your companies most recent iteration of the logo?
When I worked for Wells Fargo Securities we had multiple branding updates. Sometimes the tweaks are very minute, only a gradient was added.
Other branding considerations with the logo:
- Are you using it in your e-signature? Is that permitted by corporate? If you are using it, is your image of the highest quality?
- Does your logo have breathing room on the page or is it stuffed into a corner or surrounded by text?
- Is your logo on an image when it should only be surrounded by white space?
Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, & Excel
The most common programs for creating documents can also be the most tricky if you don’t know your way around keyboard shortcuts and formatting tools.
Common mistakes include:
- Using spaces instead of tabs for lists.
- Using periods instead of leader dots in a table of contents.
- Inserting a double space after each paragraph instead of setting establishing paragraph spacing.
- Using Microsoft’s default color palette instead of your brand colors for charts.
- Using one of Microsoft’s PowerPoint templates instead of using one branded specifically for your company.
- Not changing the font from the default Minion Pro to your company’s font.
Corporate branding and the marketing departments will cringe if you:
- Create a flyer in Microsoft Word.
- Use clipart in a PowerPoint presentation.
- Use non-branded colors in email signature and documents.
- Don’t apply any type of formatting to documents clients and investors will see.
- Grab images off of Google.
I don’t have a marketing department…
I get it. You’re running your business and not too worried about pretty pictures and colors. But graphic design is so much more than that. It is meant to inspire AND inform.
When you can unite your materials through your brand you stand out among your competitors as established, reliable, and a leader in the industry. And if you are a small business, you look bigger than you are. Imagine their faces when they find out your business is a one-woman/one-man show!
Here are a few things you can do to revitalize your everyday work documents:
- Hire a graphic designer on a need basis or on a retainer to glance over your work, format, or put the entire project together.
- Use the very first version of a template you use daily so your document has hit a factory reset.
- Use stock photography for your images. Unsplash.com is good for projects on a budget, but be mindful that these free images are all over the internet. Consider using a pay per use site such as iStockphoto.com.
- Take advantage of sites like creativemarket.com that have a library of templates.
I think I need help…
You’ve come to the right place. We can look over your documents together and see how we can highlight your brand and make your templates easier for you to use. It will be a win-win for both you and your clients.
Let’s get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org