Print Consistency & Branding

Brand Consistency

By David Moore

When you land a new client, you might send an agreement, cover letter, a brochure and your business card. What will they think when none of them look alike? Take your business card: What does it say about you? You may not think that a simple thing like a business card is very important. That would be a big mistake. If your business card conveys “mediocrity” or “cheapness” it’s just a little bit harder to prove that you’re “high-quality.”

First Impressions Matter
What is the first impression your stationary or other printed items are having on prospects and clients? Remember, your printed materials are the tangible, physical embodiment of your entire practice.

As your prospect, client or other industry professional handles your marketing materials or correspondence they are making a subconscious judgment about you. They are judging your professionalism and competence by the paper documents they are handling.

Your printed materials and online assets should use the same design style, fonts, color scheme, logo, etc. These include:

  • Letterheads
  • Envelopes
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Mailing labels
  • Internal forms and documents
  • Signs and banners
  • Website
  • Email signature

Here Are Six Ways to Maintain Consistency

1. Paper quality – The tactile experience of handling a quality paper has impact. There are minor price differences between economy papers and high-end linen, laid or cotton. An extra $100 will go a long, long way to improving your image.
Recommendation: Pick a family of papers that can be used across multiple items and not limited to letterhead and/ or envelopes. Linen and 25 percent cotton offer great options.

2. Paper color – There are multiple shades of white. And then there’s the ivory or antique gray. Your choice can depend on many things, including typeface, font colors, logo or website.
Recommendation: Stick with bright white if you are new or if you have a full color logo. Also, make sure you’ll be able to find matching paper when you run out.

3. Typography – Do you know what typeface you use? Let me guess … Times New Roman, Arial, Copperplate? The same as 1001 other real estate professionals? A subtle change in typeface can represent you in a new and unique way.
Recommendation: Consider purchasing a font or using a free font similar to custom fonts.

4. Logo – Stay away from the clip art logos used by many. Employ a professional designer. Caution: Many designers love full-color logos but they can cause printing costs to soar.
Recommendation: Stick with one and two-color logos. This gives you multiple printing options to save money while a full-color logo limits you to full-color printing only. The logo should not be so detailed that it won’t print well on smaller items like business cards.

5. Colors – Did you know that blue isn’t always blue? Let’s assume your logo has a specific shade of blue in it. As you print your logo across letterhead, envelopes, business cards and brochures, it is very likely the shade of blue you started with will be different on some items. The difference in papers, print vendors, printing presses and spot colors versus CMYK have huge impacts.
Recommendation: Find out what PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors are used in your logo, then find a printer capable of matching the “spot” with CMYK on your materials. Otherwise, if you have six items printed, you might have six shades of color.

6. Print Vendor – When you spread your work across multiple printers, you leave your papers, fonts, logo and colors open for interpretation. A blue off one printer’s press may not match a blue off another.
Recommendation: You need a print vendor with multiple capabilities so you don’t have to play the mix and match game. Not to mention, it could be cheaper that way too.

Remember: Be Consistent
You may be using your printed materials and website for a variety of marketing and communications. Consistency and quality send a clear message.