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Create a Basic Identity System

First Impressions in Print


Who are you? How do you look on paper? Despite the surge in email use, professionally designed printed stationery packages are crucial to making a good first impression. The purpose of letterhead and related items is to express an identity, beyond the actual words used in the message.

A basic corporate identity system or stationery package consists of letterhead, envelopes, and business cards. In some cases, labels are also a basic component. If no logo exists and one is needed, logo design may also comprise part of the complete design package.

Whether designing for a client or for yourself, the first steps to developing a successful identity package is getting to know the business for which the package is intended.

    About the business and its clients:

  • What kind of business is it?

  • What type of products or services does it produce?

  • How long have they been in business?

  • Who are their major competitors?

  • Who needs the product or service the business produces?

  • How do current or potential customers preceive the business or the industry in general?

  • Does the business want to attract or focus on a specific segment of its overall customer base?

    About the stationery package:

  • If the business already has a stationery package in use, what do they like/dislike about the current package?

  • How will the letterhead by used? (That is, will it be run through laser printers, inkjet printers, be handwritten, frequently photocopied or faxed?)

  • What kind of budget does the business have and what type of volume is required?

  • Will color be used? (And how much color will the budget allow?)

  • Does the client have a preference for or against thermography, single, bi-fold, or tri-fold business cards, or other definite likes/dislikes?

The next steps in the design process involve determining exactly what information is needed on the letterhead and business cards and developing specific design ideas.

Pick Your Path to Desktop Publishing
Get Started:Basic Guidelines and Requirements for Desktop Publishing
Choose Software:Desktop Publishing and Design Software
Tips & Tutorials:How to Do Desktop Publishing
Training, Education, Jobs:Careers in Desktop Publishing
In the Classroom: Back to School With Desktop Publishing
Make Something: Things to Make Using Desktop Publishing
Use Templates: Templates for Print and Web Publishing

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