January 6, 2009 | Branding
Your brand should be apparent in as many places as possible. Considering that most businesses frequently use Microsoft Word to write proposals, reports, estimates, memos etc. You need to make sure that your Word files are continuing your brand as much as possible.
Electronic Letterhead Template
When you have your letterhead designed, also have an electronic version developed. This will put the graphic elements (logo, contact information, company name, etc.) into the Word file. These should be placed graphics, not typeset in Word itself. This will assure that the typographic treatment exactly matches your printed letterhead. Depending on the layout of your letterhead, these elements can be placed into the header & footer areas of the page, or pulled into art boxes.
When your designer established your corporate identity, one or more corporate typefaces should have been selected. Many times, these are fonts that a design firm owns and uses on their Mac but may not be installed on your computer. So, make sure you let your designer know that you want the fonts available for your use as well. There are a few fonts that only run on Mac but not PC (or vice versa) so it is best to make this clear up front. That way, you can buy an additional license for your computer system be able to use those fonts in your Word files.
Limitations with fonts
However, you need to realize that if you send a Word file to someone who does not have a special font, it will likely default to a more common font such as Arial or Times. Your font will work when you are working with a printed file, or if you save a doc as a PDF. Therefore, whenever it is critical that you maintain your brand, send documents as hard copies or PDFs.
Other design elements
This electronic letterhead should also take into consideration margin size, font sizes for body text and headlines, line spacing, etc. These styles and settings should be put into one master template file. Once all this is taken into account you should create two versions. One version has everything included: the graphic elements of the letterhead plus the styles for type. The second version does not have the letterhead elements and is used for printing onto pre-printed letterhead.
Create template files
To create these master files, your designer should set-up the Word file and save it as a template (.dot) rather than regular file. When you receive the template, open it and before doing anything, do a “save as”. You should be prompted to save the file in your Projects Gallery. When you then want to create a document with using these file instead of choosing “new” choose new from the project gallery.
These master files should be distributed to anyone in your firm who uses Word for client contact. This helps to build a consistent and professional look for all communication.