How to Design Stationery that Makes a Lasting Impression

October 4, 2017

In an industry where websites are such a crucial way to get in front of your ideal client, tangible touchpoints like business cards and stationery can take the back burner. While we might think these print items aren’t as important as they once were in the industry, I believe that now more than ever before print can make a lasting impression that leads to stronger client relationships and more word of mouth referrals! A tangible touchpoint in a digital world truly stands out, and elevates your brand among others that opt for digital touchpoints alone.

But how do you create stationery that makes a lasting impression? It’s not as simple as hopping on a print-on-demand website and ordering 500 business cards. Instead, there’s intention and strategy that must go into your branded stationery in order to reach your goals, connect with your ideal client, and experience the return on that initial investment. As I design print collateral for my own incredible branding clients, there are a handful of steps I take for every project to ensure we’re creating stationery that’s meant to endure (and packs a punch!) And in today’s post, I’m spilling all my secrets just for you.

How to design stationery that makes a lasting impression via b is for bonnie design | #stationery #branding #graphicdesign

Build Stationery into your Client Experience

In order to first create stationery that stands out and represents your brand well, it’s important to first plan out a series of client experience touchpoints that incorporate print collateral organically. Build stationery into your client experience and you’ll be able to have a clear overview of what pieces you really need, quantities that will make sense, and printing methods that are worth considering. Not every client I work with needs business cards, stationery, branded envelopes, thank you cards, and letterhead. Some clients have all they need with well-designed business cards and thoughtful stationery. Likewise, some of my clients require in-depth pricing guides or welcome magazines as part of their client experience. Mapping out what your client experience is from the start of a project to the very end of your time together, and then going through and highlighting areas where tactile print collateral could come into play, will help set you up for success.

Keep it Simple

Over the years I’ve been creating high-end branded stationery for my sweet clients, I’ve learned quickly that some of the most memorable pieces I design are some of the most simple. Stationery doesn’t have to be busy or filled with complex design elements in order to be memorable. Often times, simple pieces made through a quality process deliver a finished product that truly stands out. When choosing the details you want to include as part of your stationery suite, explore the specific copy and design elements that will represent your brand well and nix any superfluous elements that don’t truly serve a specific purpose.

Get Tactile

If you’re following the suggestion above and going with a simple, clean design for your stationery, now is the time to get truly tactile with the stock you use! Think about how you want people to feel when they receive a handwritten note from your in the mail, or how you want them to feel when they take your business card in their hands for the first time. What specific emotions do you want to inspire? Believe it or not, the type of stock you use for items like stationery, business cards, and welcome guides can truly set the tone for how people will perceive your brand. A thick, textured cotton paper feels luxe in the hand, where a lighter, glossy stock feels modern in the right situations. And don’t even get me started on the types of textures you can choose from! Paper weight, or thickness, and texture are two fantastic ways to elevate your stationery to something truly memorable.

Choose High Quality Printing Methods

As you build upon the ideas above, finishing off your stationery with high quality printing method can make or break your design. If it falls within your budget, be open to exploring printing methods outside of digital printing alone. Letterpress, foil stamping, embossing, thermography, and screen printing are all elevated forms of printing that take a simple, clean design and make it something worth treasuring. Even if a more costly printing method like letterpress doesn’t fall within your budget, digital printing can bring many designs to life beautifully. In order to find the best printing method for your specific stationery pieces, be sure to chat with the team at the print shop of your choice. They’ll be able to make suggestions on what method will truly serve you best, and they’re often happy to weigh in if you ask them.

As part of my work with branding clients, I always include a complementary print consult as part of the process whenever we design any print collateral. Over the years, I’ve built relationships with some incredibly talented print shops throughout the country, and I truly want to see my clients bring their stationery to life through the best printing methods possible. So when we work together on their stationery, I offer suggestions on not only the best type of printing method for them, but I also suggest specific paper types and envelopes to ensure we’re selecting the best details for their unique brand.

If you’re ready to build a cohesive brand identity that intentionally ties in digital and tangible touchpoints to inspire connection with your ideal client, then let’s chat! I’m currently accepting new branding clients for the end of 2017 and early 2018, and I’d love to work with you to create an elevated brand that tells your story well. Get in touch to schedule a complementary consult today!


Photo by Hannah Haston Photography

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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