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In the age of the digital revolution, physical real-world marketing remains as important to business success as it ever was.

We still want to do business face-to-face, so we network. We still want to attract new customers locally, so we promote and we still want to create a strong brand that takes a big share of the industry marketplace…

For that, business stationary marketing materials are a solid foundation on which to build your brand.

Often this kind of marketing collateral is the first formal encounter a person will have with your business, so making a strong first impression matters.

It also pays dividends to present a quality, professional image of your business from the get-go, even if it’s just you working alone, and yes, even before you have official office space!

There are also a host of practical reasons why this is good practice; from the fact that a branded business card is more likely to be kept and found than a scrap of paper with a handwritten phone number on it, to the fact that an invoice on branded stationary is easier to spot in an in-tray pile than a blank piece of paper.

Creating Branded Artwork

The obvious initial challenge in designing your business stationary is the creation of a company logo. You should look to hire a professionally-designed piece that uses colour, style and messaging to communicate what you do and who you are to new audiences. A low quality design or an amateur effort will do more harm than good so it’s worth investing in.

Likewise, if you’re opting to include text, while it can be tempting to try to be unique, make sure it’s easily legible or the message will be lost on people. The use of white space is another useful tool in maximising your marketing collateral because a busy page will simply be skimmed over and, again, the message will be lost.

With the digital arena in mind, regardless of your industry, you may likely need alternate versions of your logo, such as a square cut to allow for social media profile photo uploads, or longer logos with accompanying strap lines plus contact details on letter heads for example, so it’s recommended that you create a suite of these variations that can be used across your materials.

With so many online marketing options now and the ability for staff to create their own leaflets and social profile designs, it’s best to create your business style guide while you are developing your branded materials. This is basically a guidelines document for how people should use your logo, especially those outside your organisation, explaining how to position it, whether the colours can be changed or telling people not to change the size or distort the dimensions.

The idea is to create consistency, maintain brand reputation and keep things simple, because it is this constant repetition that will help your brand to resonate with everyone who sees it.

Consider Your Audience

Make sure to focus your business stationary designs on the end audience – who are you making them for? What will they appreciate? What message do you want to convey to them? Are there any important elements to consider, such as offering materials in larger print for seniors or people with sensory disabilities?

If you need to keep printing costs down but need to grab the audience’s attention, think of other ways to stand out, such as using coloured paper or branded envelopes for your written communications.

Next, you need to think about what information is vital to include on the stationary materials. You clearly want to direct people to the right source should they have a response, a question or feedback in general. Contact details are therefore important, but so too might a tax registration number be on invoices for example, as well as a business postal address.

While the messaging and overall tone of your branding is important on your business stationary, so too are the materials you use, because they will also communicate meaning. Will your audience appreciate a higher quality material such as gloss laminate, or do you work mostly with the not-for-profit sector who would view that as wastage, or intimidating, and would prefer to see recycled materials, as an example?

If you have a more generic audience, the advice would be to opt for the highest quality materials your budget will allow.

Top Tips:

Business Cards

While many modern business owners are on LinkedIn for their own networking, and may well have a social presence for their business online, such as a Facebook Page, business cards bring the personal touch. They’re a cost-effective marketing tool that means you always have a professional contact card easily to hand whenever an opportunity arises.

It’s a really good idea to incorporate more of your digital marketing into this particular product to maximise your connection opportunities and grow your online audiences simultaneously. That means signposting people to your website and profiles online, as well as your email and phone contact details.


Branded notepads present a professional image when you use them yourself in meetings or at events, but are also an excellent gift-type marketing product. When left with existing or potential clients they are almost always kept, because of their utility, meaning your brand remains quite literally “under their nose” much longer than any email or conversation would.

Notepads are often used for brainstorming, at meetings where procurement is being discussed or at planning sessions. This makes them a prime area to really sell your business and, with the added space available, you can include more than just your logo. Think about including a short testimonial quote from a client in the bottom corner for example, providing that extra social proof.


As with notepads, desk pads and wall calendars, pens are a really practical marketing tool that keeps your brand front of mind for as long as they last (which is usually pretty long). Branded pens are a cost-effective gift that can be put into deal-closing information packs, left on front desks and given to event delegates.

The small space requires you to be succinct in the marketing message, though, so think of the prime channel you want to direct people to – such as a website or phone number – and focus the design on that. Also steer towards black ink, which is more often required on official business documents than blue ink!

Letter heads

Branding who you are and what your business represents isn’t just about the obvious sales marketing tactics, it should ideally filter down through every interaction you have with external stakeholders, including the mundane printed communications like invoices or letters.

For legal reasons it’s advisable to use branded letter heads on things like employment contracts but it also creates a formal tone on all your documentation. If you want to try a design that’s a bit different to the usual right-top-corner-logo, think of using a large watermark design that fills the page, or geometric coloured shapes around the page within which you can set the text.

About the Author are an online trade printing company based in Northern Ireland, operating a 24-hour factory with 5-colour printing that produces high quality, quick turnaround products for small entrepreneurs to big corporations across the UK and Ireland.



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