A few simple choices allow people to make a good first impression with business stationery. In a society full of electronic correspondence and voice mail messages, it is easy to forget about the importance of written word. Creating stationery items is imperative for networking functions, and certain items work equally well as promotional gifts. Professional stationers stress that selecting the right paper features creates a simple, unforgettable branding tool.
Elements of Professional Stationery Products
Unlike social pieces designed to express individual creativity; Just Print Dublin says that business stationery is a visual representation of professional entities. Marketing experts state that effective business letterhead features a professionally designed logo and contact information written in a neutral, easy-to-read font.
Paper weight and color are equally important for business stationery. The wrong choices tell clients that a business is unconcerned or unable to invest in their overall public appearance. Modern etiquette no longer requires various shades of white, but adventurous souls should approach the color palette with extreme caution.
Business Paper Wardrobe
A basic business stationery wardrobe consists of letterhead sheets, matching envelopes and business cards. Some suppliers expand the definition to include customized pens, notepads and other office items. Stationers offer the following suggestions to assist with making an appropriate decision.
– Letterhead paper traditionally measures approximately 8.5 by 11 inches, but Monarch sizing (7 ¼ by 10.5 inches) continues to gain acceptance.
– Corresponding envelopes are 9.5 by 4 1/8 inches, formally known as number 10 pieces, and 7.5 by 3 7/8 inches.
– Professional business cards always measure 3.5 by 2 inches.
All items print on bond or text paper. Both paper styles are visually impressive, but bond is increasingly popular due to its compatibility with pen-ink and copy machines. Experts recommend bond paper weights of no less than 20# for business items. Text pieces, with a texture similar to book pages, should start around 70#. Various shades of white and beige are the obvious choices, but a little color can work if it does not sabotage the intended image.
After selecting the correct foundation, all stationery requires the right printed information. Pieces should prominently feature the company name, a professional logo, contact information including a telephone number and email address, a fax number and the name of a specific contact person to build client confidence. The company logo placed strategically on items becomes a simple method of industry branding.
Successful fonts range from nine to 12 points in size. Using more than two fonts on an item makes it incredibly cluttered and hard-to-read. Black ink keeps things professional, but some industries (i.e., youth-oriented services or some food establishments) may be able to subtle colors.
Finding the Right Designers and Suppliers
Logo designers need talent and an overall feel for client needs. The wrong logo blends into the background as an unremarkable image. A November 2007 article from Smashing Magazine found that the best designers have samples of their past work available for review, recommendations from past clients, communicate effectively with current clients and take at least three days to complete the task.
A misplaced logo, substandard materials or incorrect inks selected by unprofessional printing staff create havoc. Successful companies have highly interactive project procedures and clearly state estimated end dates. They maintain constant contact to ensure client satisfaction. To avoid potential problems, they offer proofs as a preview to the finished project.
Carefully designed stationery pieces make a valuable impression on business associates and clients alike. Modern rules are slightly more flexible, but classic selections remain the most popular. Approaching the task half-heartedly has detrimental effects on a professional image.
Sharon Connors is a freelance blogger who writes on business and marketing related topics for a number of Irish companies.
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