What if I told you that all the previous posts in the Design 101 series could make you money? They can, but only if you apply the idea that’s presented in this post.
Don’t Go Changin’
You want to sell, correct? Whether you’re selling services, products, or your charming personality, you want to sell. And people want to buy from you. Let me repeat: people want to buy from you. But who are you?
Your company, your brand, has standards of behavior. You treat your customers fairly, you’re responsive, you innovate. If you’re doing it right, your marketing materials reflect your company’s standards of behavior.
One of the most important actions you can take now is to be sure that your marketing is consistent over time. Because once your customer knows who you are, you build trust by presenting a cohesive brand every time your customer interacts with you: now, next month and next year.
Take it Easy
Presenting a consistent brand over time builds your customers’ comfort level. There’s an even better reason to be consistent: it’s easier! You save time if you don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time you put together a marketing piece. If the decisions about color, typefaces and overall style have been determined, all you have to do is put together the information in the established format.
Elements of (Graphic) Style
A confession: I have a wide variety of clients. They range from a magazine devoted to whisky to a Catholic diocese – and everything in between. As you can imagine, the graphic style for each client is quite different. I switch gears multiple times a day, going from working on marketing for a one-person business to a large academic institution, and on and on.
Each client has a particular style. Over time, I implement their style in everything I do for them. If you pick up a piece I designed for a client three years ago, it will look similar to something I designed last week. You’ll be able to tell both marketing pieces came from the same organization.
How do I do that?
The Cheat Sheet
It’s easy, really. You make decisions once, up front, about your organization’s graphic style, and then… (drum roll, please)… you write them down. You write down your official typefaces, your colors (both the web and print versions), paper stocks you prefer, the measurements of the content area in your web site, what can and cannot be done with your logo. Write down every detail, and keep it in a file where you can easily access it.
It’s called a Graphic Style Guide if you want to be precise, but I like to think of it as a cheat sheet. You can use a cheat sheet like this for your business, too. Keep track of your “official” colors, typefaces, and more, and you’ll find that your marketing materials will be faster and easier to create, and more effective, too. You’ll foster comfort among your customers, because over time your company will present itself consistently. And your business will grow, because your audience will trust your company.
What do you do to build trust? Have you ever thought about how graphics can build trust? Let’s hear it in the comments!
This is the last in a series of ten lessons called “Design 101.” Thanks for reading!
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