I recently wrote about whether or not I thought business cards were dead and it seemed like a natural progression to include typical branded business stationery sets in the same discussion. So the question is whether or not you still need branded stationery sets? Or have they had their day?
Letterheads, business cards, compliment slips. Not so long ago you could have walked into any head office in the world and chances are you would have come across these items of branded business stationery. They were a staple. They showed how legitimate and professional your company was and they instilled trust.
I remember when I first started freelancing one of the first requests from clients was a design for in-house branded business stationery, and a reliable printer to get them from. It made perfect sense as to why. They’ve been around for so long they’re ingrained into our perceptions of what businesses should have.
There really was something nice about receiving a letter, or compliment slip from a company that was beautifully branded and designed, it added a touch of class which would have been otherwise lost by using unbranded generic stationery items.
Over the years however the number of clients I’ve had asking for branded business stationery has dropped off quite considerably. The main reason for this is the domination of technology in our day to day lives.
When was the last time you actually sent a letter that was physically printed, on real paper, and then posted? Seems a pretty long winded way of doing things really. Surely emailing a PDF is a much more cost effective, and time efficient solution.
I would much rather send and receive correspondence electronically and that’s not just because of the cost and time benefits. There is also an ecological argument to move away from physical branded business stationery. Paper is a commodity that we should be using sparingly, and let’s not forget all of the fuel then used transporting it to its many destinations before eventually reaching your customer.
Whichever way you try and spin it, sending correspondence electronically is just far more practical in pretty much every single way. However, as a customer, you don’t receive that beautifully design and branded item of stationery that connects you to a company. This isn’t something that should be overlooked.
The rise of technology and increased pressure on businesses to be more eco-friendly does not spell the end of branded business stationery. What I love about design is its constant evolution and its solutions to new problems.
The amount of branded business stationery I design has not dropped off over recent years, even though less clients ask for it. The format in which it’s delivered has changed though.
Whereas letterheads were designed to be sent print they’re now designed to be used as a background within a Word document. Following brand guidelines provided, a client can then write a letter into the document using the correct fonts, sizes and colours, save it as a PDF and email to their customers. All of the impact of having a branded letter is still there, but without the cost and hassle of printed documents.
Brochures and proposals have gone much the same way, beautifully designed documents that can be sent instantly to prospective clients ahead of potential meetings. Even at meetings there is now no longer a need to hand out printed proposals or brochures. Pretty much all meeting rooms will have a large screen or projector where you can show your presentation digitally.
Adapting your branded business stationery for a digital world is a must. Whether it’s letters, invoices, brochures or proposals it’s better to go digital than print.
This is the real question and the answer is simple. Yes. I firmly believe all businesses still need branded stationery. I also don’t think this will change anytime soon. You spend time and money developing your business and it’s brand image. Make sure this is carried on throughout all of the documents your business creates and sends to customers.
Just because the format which documents are now presented and sent has changed does not mean the impact or importance of them has. Anything you send to clients, or prospective clients should have your company brand on it.
It’s important to have brand cohesion within your business, and branded business stationery is a great start. If you’re currently sending out sub-par documents, or maybe completely unbranded documents then it’s time to rethink your approach.
At the heart of your business is your brand. At Foundation we specialise in helping startups, small and medium size enterprises develop their identity. We will help you to tell your customers who you are and what you’re about and deliver this message with a powerful and lasting brand identity.
Of course during this process you will be given branded business stationery as well as a host of other visuals to help maximise your brand awareness and to ensure it remains powerful and cohesive. Get in touch today and have a chat to see how will can help you brand grow.