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Creating Sales Tools That Build Your Brand When designing your marketing materials, know which elements you need to keep consistent to build a branded company image.

By John Williams

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If you're like other entrepreneurs, you know a good logo is important to branding your company. Let's say you already have a great logo. Then what? You need to create a variety of marketing materials that'll help build your brand.

How can you do that? In a word: Coordinate. All your materials should graphically connect to one another. They should convey the same look and feel, include common images, and evoke similar emotional responses in your customers. When viewed side by side, your stationery, brochures and other promotional materials should look like a cohesive family.

Of course, your materials don't need to match each other completely, but some elements should remain consistent from one piece to the next:

Color: Color is one of the most important components of brand identity because it plays a large role in memory retrieval. Choose a primary color (preferably a Pantone Matching System, or PMS, color--ask your printer about it if you need help) that's appropriate for your company's image, then use it as the dominant color on all your marketing materials. You can also select a secondary color to use as well, but make sure you use it sparingly. Preferably, the dominant color you choose will appear in your logo. You may find a book on colors and their perceived meanings helpful when selecting your dominant color.

Key Graphic Elements: Consistently use distinctive symbols, shapes and borders that convey the image you want to communicate. For example, a high-tech company might feature bold, angular graphics, while a clothing store might use rounded, soft shapes. Selecting some similar basic graphic elements helps customers recall your brand faster. Also, choose a photographic or illustrative style and stick with it. Black-and-white photos, for instance, are often a unique way to make an impact while setting your brand apart.

Fonts: Select just a few fonts for use on all your materials, including at least one primary serif font and 1 primary sans-serif font. (Serif fonts have "feet" at the bottom of the font, like Times New Roman. Helvetica is an example of a sans-serif font.) These two fonts should be the ones you use most frequently. Serif fonts work well in paragraphs and most text blocks, while sans-serif fonts should be reserved for headlines, numbers in charts, very small text and text reversed out of a color. You should avoid using more than two different fonts within the same document.

Messaging: The tone of your copywriting helps convey your image. Use the same voice on all your marketing materials. For example, is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it expensive or exclusive? Be more formal. It also helps to create a tagline or positioning statement--something memorable, meaningful and concise that summarizes your brand or your offering. Taglines often appear under a logo.

Logo Usage: Your logo is your brand's most basic graphic element. It should appear on all your materials, and, when possible, it should appear at the same size and be placed at the same location on the page. Proportionate resizing is OK, but your logo should never be altered or redrawn. Consistency is paramount.

Remember, awareness and recognition are keys to growing your business. Creating a family of marketing materials that tie to one another helps differentiate you from the competition and builds brand loyalty.

John Williams is the founder and president of LogoYes.com, the world's first do-it-yourself logo design website. During John's 25 years in advertising, he's created brand standards for Fortune 100 companies like Mitsubishi and won numerous awards for his design work.

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