Branded Collateral Materials
- Business Card, Envelope and Letterhead:
No designer should ever be without a set, nor should you ever leave the house with at least your business cards. I always mail out my bills and letters in my branded envelopes, you never know who will look at it. You know how you wrap a check in a plain sheet of paper before you send it out (we all do it). Wrap it up in your letterhead; you don’t know who is going to open it.
Another item that no designer should be without, a resume. Make it a habit to review it and update it every 6 months. You never know when you will be required to use it. Perhaps you are unexpectedly let go from work, heaven forbid. Or someone sees your work online and offers you a job (it has happened)! Be prepared and up to date with it.
- Project Agreement / “Your Contract”:
If you don’t have a contract, go get one now! It not only protects you from your clients, but protects your clients from you. It makes sure both parties are in the know of the terms agreed upon and what needs to be delivered. Having a well-branded contract not only looks nice to your clients. But it is also easier for them to quickly reference if needed (you have to remind them of something they agreed too). If your contract is just printed out of your word processing program with no branding on it, imagine how many other plain looking papers your clients might have floating around on their desk. Chances you will get lost, quickly.
- Project Invoice:
So the client has approved the project and is ready to pay their tab. Send them a nice email with your invoice in it. Break each section down for them to see what their money was spent on (research, concepts, design, printing, shipping, stock fonts and/or images etc). Don’t stop by their office and write the total on the back of your business card and toss it on their desk.
- Time Sheets:
If you have done any kind of hourly work for client’s chances are you have been requested to keep a log of your hours. There are many programs out there to help you do this if you are into doing it digitally. For me, pen and paper works best. Mine is nothing more then a sheet of paper with lines on it (on the right). Time In, Lunch Out, Lunch In, Time Out, Hours Logged are typed out across the top. When requested by the client, copy and send off. If you have ever sub contracted work out, you will want a log of the individuals hours as well. I have a more in depth form for them. Their hours, job number, job name, dates worked, etc. are all on this form for my records.
Of course the list goes on and on for things you can brand… folders, your portfolio, promotional cards/items, CD cases and labels with the final files for your client. Being well branded not only makes your clients pleased to see they aren’t doing business with Timmy-the-high-schooler, but it helps you feel and project a more business oriented attitude.