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Looking Good in Print: How to Manage Your Brand

Here's how to manage your visual brand on a daily basis.

C. Marie Swift, 06/28/2006

So you have a great logo and stunning business cards. Your brand is developed so now you can relax and not worry about that again until you run out of cards or need to update the information on your letterhead, right? Wrong! Marketing-savvy advisors oversee their visual brand every day.

As with any investment, a logo and business identity package must be well managed if you are to maximize your return. Every time your business name or logo appears in print is an opportunity to reinforce your brand. Taking control of the details of your brand will help you make the most of these opportunities.
Begin with a Solid Foundation
Remember, your stuff should look like your stuff. So your first step to ensuring a consistent look is to have a well-developed brand. Ideally, you have worked with a marketing professional and experienced graphic designer to create a logo that expresses your unique qualities and the benefits you can bring to your target market.

The next step is to know your logo and understand what gives it that special spark that says it's your brand. A strong visual brand has a deliberate structure that can be built upon:

The logotype is the unique way fonts and lettering spell out the name of your company. Graphic designers spend more time working with these few words than any other aspect of brand development, selecting just the right font and spacing the letters just so. Usually they will create the logo in a computer drawing application and change the type from characters to objects that can be manipulated and altered in a unique way. In addition, using a drawing program to create a logo protects its integrity so that it cannot be unintentionally altered when being used in other applications.

Brand Mark
Nike's swoosh, Gerber's baby, and the NBC peacock are examples of well-known brand marks. Essentially, they are shapes, pictures, or sometimes monograms that partner with the logotype to form a logo. Not all logos have brand marks, but unless your logotype is outstandingly unique and dynamic, a special mark is recommended.

Brand Management Tip
Request a variety of logo file formats from your logo designer that can be used in almost any application, including: "Vector outline" .eps files, "RGB" color and black and white jpegs, and high resolution "CMYK" tiffs.

Tagline or Descriptor
Words that are not part your business name, but are used in conjunction with the logo are part of your identity. Whether it's a special slogan or a simple description of what you do, it should to be visually designed to reinforce the logo and maintain a consistent look whenever and wherever it appears.

Brand Management Tip
Request copies of your logo files with your tagline and also files of your tagline by itself. In addition, ask your designer the name of the font and any special spacing used for your tagline.

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