How to design business stationery

Business stationery plays a key role in promoting your business to customers and suppliers, so getting the right look and feel such as when creating letterheads is essential. Follow our top tips to create well-designed business stationery that sells your company brand.

Email may be the most popular way to communicate today but printed stationery is still essential for most businesses. From headed paper for letters to business cards, your business stationery speaks volumes about your company and its brand. Professional-looking business stationery will help people recognize your company and understand the brand message that you want to convey.

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Decide what business stationery you need

The first step is to decide exactly what stationery your business needs. Most firms will need A4 letterhead paper and branded invoice/receipt forms for communicating with clients and suppliers. Business cards are essential when meeting potential customers, while compliments slips are handy for adding short handwritten messages when sending items in the post. Printed envelopes may seem a luxury extra, but they add a professional touch that’s hard to beat.

Decide how much business stationery you need

It’s possible to create business stationery using even entry-level design software on your home or business PC. You can then print items using a colour printer, although this will only be cost-effective if printing small amounts. For larger amounts, it’s likely to be cheaper to use a local or online printing service. Not only will you get a professional finish on high-quality paper and card, many printers offer a business stationery design service too – ideal if you’re not confident in your creative abilities. This can range from creating custom designs to stationery templates that you can tweak with your own company’s details.

Include the right information

Your business stationery should show all the necessary contact information your customers and suppliers require. Typically, this includes your company address, phone and mobile numbers, email and website addresses, and fax number. Other information may need to be included depending on the nature of your business, such as the company registration number if it is a limited company. For more information on what details should be included see our free guide to Essential information to show on business stationery {LINK to article No 32 Business stationery details.docx}.

Create a successful logo

Whether large or small, most business have a logo to help identify their company and distinguish it from its competitors. Your logo should serve as a visual representation of everything your company stands for. The best logos are simple, memorable, appropriate to your company and work well at any size. For consistency, use your logo across all your business stationery. If you don’t already have a logo, try creating your own or hire a freelance designer to create one for you. If you’re struggling to come up with a logo design, try a simple font-based approach, as used by the likes of Microsoft and Sony. Write your company name in an interesting but appropriate font.

No matter how tempting, avoid using clip art – not only does it look unprofessional, another company may be already using the same image.

Use colour sparingly

Colour will help make your business stationery stand out, but it’s best to use it sparingly as it can overwhelm your design. Choose colours that match your company logo to deliver a coherent look across all your stationery. Alternatively, pick one or two complementary colours to draw attention to specific areas such as your contact information.

Choose fonts with care

Make sure all the text on your stationery is readable and consistent. Stick to just one or two fonts at sizes that are easier to read for all your customers. Avoid novelty fonts or elaborate script faces. Clean modern typefaces such as Avenir, Arial and Meta or classic sans serifs such as Helvetica, Futura and Gill Sans work well.

Make friends with white space

Don’t be afraid of white space when designing your stationery as it can help your company logo and message stand out. A design that too large or too busy will distract customers and clients from your message and important information such as your contact details.

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