Consistency in Print — How to Get and Maintain It

Nothing speaks corporate image quite the way consistency does. We recognize it immediately in advertising everywhere — think of Bell. Every piece of material for this company — in print and on the web — subtly speaks the company name.

Each looks as though the same person has composed it. The external message can be widely different, but the internal one, the corporate one, is steadfast.

Your designer is key in developing your corporate image — but he is also there to advise you on how to maintain it. During the early stages of your work you’ll discuss typefaces, colours and page design — along with paper choices for print—but you’ll need to be sure that the choices you make are carried forward with consistency.

This is easier to control on the Web — where a limited number of people will be able to implement revisions to design and content — but can be a real challenge on the print side.

For example, you’ll want to check that the typeface you choose for correspondence is easily available (New Times Roman or Arial are good choices for those working on a PC) and that it doesn’t clash with the printed typeface on your letterhead or other collateral pieces.

This is the best time to review sample layouts of correspondence, as design can affect how you set your letterhead margins — a wide left-margin design can force your type into a deep right alignment, or compel you to ignore the design in favour of a standard alignment — either way, your page might look off balance. Discuss standard workarounds for these situations ahead of going to press, or choose an alternative layout that might be easier to use.

Your designer can also help you maintain a professional look by showing you when and how to vary or repeat features of the printed design in your everyday layouts (e.g. lines — rules — can be thickened, broken, dotted or arrowed).

They can also show you how the initial layouts can be respected to maintain consistency through the use of typographic treatments (e.g. hanging indents that align with headings or other elements of the letterhead; tables designed with consistent use of colour, lines and headings).

Once you’ve decided on a consistent use of typography, colour and supporting elements — create a “style guide” that notes all your decisions, and post it to your intranet, or send it out with sample layouts to your staff.

The finished result of this exercise will help to create a consistent look across all your communications, leading to a coherent and professional image for your company.

Take a moment to review the look of your stationery, print materials and website. Do you think they are consistent? Please contact us if you would like to know more about how to create and maintain your company’s corporate image.

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