Top Design and Marketing Tips from a Branding Expert

This month, we wanted to share some general tips relating to your graphic design that we've come up with over the past year:

Always include an address on your business card, even if you are operating a small business out of your home - it greatly increases your credibility and makes you look much more established! If you're concerned about privacy, a Post Office box is a great way to go. When signing up for a Post Office box, consider using a "Mailboxes" store instead of the Post Office - you'll get a street address instead of the typical "P.O. Box", and the store will accept shipped packages from UPS, FedEx and other carriers for you, so you won't need to give out your home address as a shipping address.

Never be caught anywhere without business cards again! Carry a supply of cards in your car so that if you can restock when purse or wallet stash runs out. The same applies for brochures, articles, promotional postcards, samples, informational flyers, and presentation folders with information about your company and capabilities - you never know when you'll have an opportunity to hand them out!

Look for ways to make producing your designed materials less expensive. Need a business card and brochure? Why not combine the two into a folding business card and save on the printing costs? Is your logo designed in so many colors that printing becomes too costly? Try having materials printed digitally by an online printing house like psprint.com or vistaprint.com - they're often much more cost-effective for materials printed on white paper stock. If you want to print on a specialty paper, consider converting your logo to a one- or two-color version just for your printed materials - unlimited colors on a website don't cost extra! We're always thinking up creative ways to save our clients money, and we're happy to offer many more suggestions like these based on your individual needs - just contact us with your questions.

Do you want the professionalism of having a printed letterhead, but don't expect to write 500 letters (the minimum quantity for most printers)? There are two options to avoid this: Design a letterhead that can act as a base for your printed invoices, flyers, report or proposal covers, articles, client intake documents and everything else! This way, all of your materials will be professionally branded - and you'll go through "all that letterhead" quicker than you think! Or, recreate your letterhead design as a Microsoft Word template, so that you can print sheets one at a time from your desktop printer. Just pick up a ream of specialty paper from the local office supply warehouse to avoid that "home printed" look.

If you frequently drive for your business, or if your parking spot happens to be on a busy street, make the most of it by having a set of car magnets designed and printed with your logo, phone number and website address on them - they make a big impact, spread the word all over town and, after the initial investment, it's free publicity!

We hope these tips help you promote your business.

About the Author

Erin Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer of elf design, is a brand identity and graphic design expert. She has been helping small businesses grow with bold, clean and effective logo and marketing material designs for over a decade. elf design offers the comprehensive graphic and web design services of a large agency, with the one- on-one, personalized attention of an independent design specialist. Erin works closely in partnership with her clients to create designs that are visible, credible and memorable ? and that tell their unique business stories in a clear and consistent way. For more information about elf design, please visit: Logo design at http://www.elf-design.com

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