5 Elements of Stunning Letterhead Design
Personalized mail is a special commodity these days, especially something that looks smart or sophisticated.
And everyone agrees that there’s a huge difference between a typed letter on a bland white page and one aligned smartly on a beautifully designed letterhead.
While many view letterhead as an afterthought, it’s time to raise the standard!
A sharp letterhead can communicate proficiency, increase response rates, and make your communication more memorable. As you craft a unique, professional look, here are some elements to help you cement your image without overplaying your hand:
1. Embrace Simplicity
One of the guiding principles of letterhead design is to make it flow simply.
While it’s important that your letterhead looks and feels great in the hand, it should still play second fiddle to the communication itself. If designs are too bold, you run the risk of competing with the page content to demand reader attention. When in doubt, simple is best.
2. Represent Your Brand
Letterheads present companies with a great opportunity to represent a brand with sharp fonts, crisp logos, and subtle borders or shading.
Look for ways to draw the designs of your website, envelopes, and letterhead into a more cohesive unit and add some extra depth to your marketing mix. When trying out size contrasts, try to balance the shape of your images with the offset to create a connected design.
3. Don't Be Afraid of White Space
Like silence between musical notes, a break between elements communicates elegance and ensures a quality user experience.
White space is not “wasted” space, instead, it balances elements, organizes content, and creates spatial proximity so your readers can digest information quickly and simply. Use generous amounts of white space between a large heading and a block of subtext. Or experiment all text flush left or flush right to create more white space between margins.
4. Use Colors Wisely
On printed letterhead, nothing communicates like color.
Use color strategically to draw attention to specific areas of your letterhead, or to add subtle shading to a more grayscale design. If your brand features bright and bold colors, it may be best to use color sparingly in the letterhead but more prominently in your envelope design or packaging. Color can make or break the success of your design, so tread lightly.
5. Don’t Overlook Details
The most critical information to communicate in letterhead is your contact info.
Who is writing the letter, a company or an individual? Decide which pieces of information are critical and build your design around this hierarchy. Keep key information obvious and reduce print size for lower priority info. If you are updating designs or re-ordering, take a fresh look at your materials. If the company you are sending to no longer utilizes a fax machine, perhaps it is best to omit this number. If your organization is larger, consider tailoring several letterhead designs to specific departments.
Letterheads remain an integral part of a brand’s marketing mix. Inject new energy into your designs with thoughtful layouts, creative contrasts, or complementary envelopes that keep your messages stand out in a crowd!
Call Us for Ideas
In today's visually-oriented market, brand persona is everything.Strong, simple visuals go a long way toward giving you a rock-solid image to stand tall above competitors and to capture customer attention. While companies work hard to shape outbound marketing, they can easily overlook options for the packaging and presentation of their products. Even simple tweaks can go a long way in making your brand shine!
Custom printed labels can offer a durable, stunning accent to your product or printing. But there are many variables when it comes to printing labels. From the right materials to laminate finishing, it's hard to know where to begin. Here are a few tricks we've learned over the years to help you craft labels to heighten brand appeal.
Less is More.
When it comes to labels, it's important for your message to connect immediately. When a label has complex fonts or busy designs, it can be difficult for readers to engage with your product. Keep your designs, images, and borders clean and simple for maximum user experience. If you post nutrition facts, make them as concise and reader-friendly as possible. Non-standard shapes or labels that match your package size are a great way to bring precision and flair.
Color is King.
Want to stop them in their tracks?
Colors command attention and make your message sing.
Try splashes of color against neutral backgrounds, or complementary colors that bring depth and warmth. If your label intends to communicate flavors, seek to pair colors that carry these natural associates (like greens for lime or orange for citrus). As you design label colors, your goal is to help users find or associate with your product more easily. If you already have a branded color scheme, use this as your prominent theme. Colors help customers recognize your product and feel secure when they purchase in the future.
Nothing says sleek like a perfectly sketched font. Work to find the right balance of clean and clever. If a font is too generic, it will be easily missed. If it's too wild, it may be hard to read or seem silly. Stick to a font you've branded your company with or use two fonts (max) to keep your label coherent and easy to read. Experiment with font pairings: consider a headline that's bold and condensed with a copy that's light or vertically stretched. Or try an all-caps serif with an italicized sans serif to compliment. Test your font pairings on volunteers or gather feedback from artistic friends before finalizing a design.
Labels help you build a personality.
What message will you send? What ideas do you hope to convey?
Keep your labels consistent with your brand identity, looking for distinct features you can highlight or graphics that illustrate your story. 19 Crimes Wines uses an interactive "Living Labels" app to allow each wine to unveil a mystery. Fieldwork Brewing uses blown up oceanside photos for its Island Time Sour Ales. Fit Buns High Protein Bread comes in a box that makes the pastries look like a ripped dude's abdominal "6-pack." The label also conveniently features a free fitness center coupon inside. Also, remember to keep your contact information accessible so customers can visit your website or contact you with feedback. Let's face it: in the marketplace, beauty is often skin deep. Your label is a representation of the things you've worked hard to build, so go the distance to make your brand stick. Need ideas to get you started? From hangtags to custom adhesives, we're your one-stop shop for creative label options!
How Emotions Win Customers
Cassell’s Hamburgers is something of a Cinderella story.
Founder Al Cassell launched the iconic lunch counter in Los Angeles in 1948. Famous for grinding beef daily, Al’s passion for great burgers and homemade mayonnaise lived for years. But by 2012, struggling owners decided to sell off Cassell’s rights, recipes, and equipment. It seems there was no magic touch that could save this beauty.
Jingbo Lou had other ideas.
As a Chinese exchange student, Lou came to the U.S. to study at the University of Southern California and developed a passion for architectural restoration that grew out curiosity for American culture:
“As an immigrant to this country, my very big task is to learn the culture,” Lou says. “I really fell in love with the history.”
J Lou put this love to work bringing Cassell’s back to life in a salvaged, crumbling 1920s inn called the Hotel Normandie. J Lou recognized a hotel/restaurant combo was a chance to cater to the nostalgia of many Californians.
And he was spot on.
Since Cassell’s reopening in 2014, the business has topped many “best of” lists and expanded into Downtown LA and a LAX location in Terminal 1.
Why such phenomenal success? Because emotions sell.
Emotions Win Customers
Brands build loyalty because emotions win customers!
While you may believe your decisions are rational, most choices are actually controlled by your intuitive (emotional) mind. Studies show that people rely on the heart, rather than on logic, to make decisions. Douglass Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, says this:
“The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”
Brands put emotional marketing in play by focusing more on the needs and passions of customers instead of on the unique product benefits their products bring.
For example, Pampers exalts healthy, well-rested infants instead of dry baby bottoms. Nike inspires people to overcome limitations instead of highlighting superior shoe quality. Harley sells people freedom without limits rather than offering a mode of transportation. And Cassell’s Hamburgers offers people a return to simpler days, including original chairs, tables, signage, and original menus hanging on the wall.
Want to enhance the emotional message your brand brings? Brand marketers suggest starting with steps like these:
- Treat prospects as people rather than buyers
- Give people multiple chances or channels to try or become familiar with your products
- Use ads with identity messages that motivate or move people
- Create a shared community among purchasers
- Inspire users to have dreams
- Offer messages that give people an experience, not just information
Create stories that allow your company to be part of people’s lives and appeal to every aspect of your customers’ personalities: their ego, needs, dreams, or general emotional state.
These connections can happen through music, artworks, logos, signage, slogans, sport, or anything that really ‘speaks to your customers.
Above all, emotional branding seeks to build lifelong partnerships between a business and its customers. Once someone is emotionally captured by a brand, they are more likely to stay loyal for decades.
Allegra can help you! Just click on the happy face to get a FREE copy of our latest Marketing Insider with great articles to build your brand!