Do you need a design plan for your new business? This brief guide explains how to create a design plan for your printed business materials: letterhead, business cards, self-inking stamps, post-it notes, postcards, and more. If you are just getting started, the process below will help you with the design aspects of your business. Since the design you select for your printed materials is one that will represent you throughout the lifetime of your business, it may be the most important part of your business plan.
While you are getting ideas for your business image, what to call it, and how to describe it through your printed materials, it is important to outline the stages for your business design. Your outline should include researching your competitors, creating design plans for each piece of printed material, review of commercial printers and their services, selecting a theme, and completing the ordering process.
Research Your Competitors
In today’s market, competition is fierce. Before you being to design an image for your business, get some ideas from your competitors. Use the internet to search for businesses offering the same or similar services as you plan to offer. Looks for aesthetic aspects as well as functional aspects of the web pages you visit. Store a list of what you like, including the internet links, so that you can refer back to them in the future as you complete the design process. In terms of aesthetics, look for overall web page design, colors and themes, images, typefaces, and style. In terms of functionality, look for effective navigation, chunking of information, search features, ease of use, and visual readability.
Designs for Printed Materials
Enter a brief design plan for each of the printed materials you will need for your business and the goal for each one. For example, if you listed letterhead, business cards, self-inking stamps, post-it notes, and post cards, include what each printed material will need to include toward the success of your business. Naturally, you will be using a consistent theme for each of these components.
An example of this section in your design plan might look like this:
The goal of my business card will be to interest my potential customers and display my company web site and contact information. My business card needs to include the following elements:
- Business Phone
- Email Address
Select a Commercial Printer
Use the internet to search for commercial printers. There are many commercial printers to choose from for your printing needs, but it is important to identify these key services:
- Offset printing method for business materials
- Paper types and weights suitable for each specific business material
- Ability to upload personal designs you created using Adobe or other software programs
- Predesigned templates to assist in design needs and eliminate copyright issues
- One week or less turnaround time for most orders
- Good shipping services and terms, shipping directly to your door
- Excellent customer service in case you need help
Check out UPrinting.com to place an order where these key printing services are available!
Select a Theme
Selecting a theme for your business materials may begin with a logo, some colors you like, an image you saw, or a predesigned template you located on the commercial printing web site. You can design your own materials using Adobe or other software programs and upload the design on the printer’s web site, or you can select from thousands of predesigned templates and just fill in the blanks. Once you have a design selected, you can use the same design for all of your matching business material.
One advantage to using a predesigned template from the printer’s web site if you do not have to investigate the copyright issues involved with images, typefaces, colors, and other aesthetic design elements. Keep in mind, if you design your own, you must review the copyright regulations for anything you see on the internet.
Complete the Ordering Process
Once you have created a successful design for your business materials, leave the rest up to your commercial printer. They will offer a proof so you can ensure the final result is what you expected. Then they will ship your materials directly to your door. For your future orders, they will store your design in their database so you don’t have to start over. Once you’ve established a rapport with your printer, you can rely on them for your future printing needs.
Design Plan Takeaways
Below are some takeaways for getting started with a theme for your business design plan:
- Start with some design element you like! A color, typeface, image, or relevant graphic.
- Search the internet for these specific elements. Watch for color themes that impress you or typefaces that pop.
- Review business card templates, blogs (like this one), social networking sites, and related business web sites for design ideas. Example: Take a look at the 101 Creative Business Card Designs blog to view some bold and amazing designs.
- Consider proximity, alignment, contrast, and repetition when creating your design theme.
- Screen your design. Print a draft of your design ideas directly from the online ordering page and share them with your colleagues. Get reactions, make notes, and then head back to the templates page to tweak your design.
- Establish a business connection with a commercial printer that offers the key services outlined in this guide. Leave your professional image in the hands of your commercial printer!
About the Author
Marsha Jones is a contributor at the BusinessCards.org Blog, which provides design advice and tips for business card printing.