A Blog for Entrepreneurs Looking to Create and Develop their Corporate Identity
Author: Carole Mancuso
Carole is a lead content developer for Brand Building for Small Business, a new venture, though she has been performing the art of brand building in some form since 2001.
She owns and runs Instant Invitation, which also operates as Inked Invitation through Zazzle. She designs graphics, develops personal and small business templates, and works to steadily build the company’s brand. Instant Invitation was established in 2014 and currently produces six-figure annual earnings with consistent year-over-year growth.
Carole spent 15 years in the corporate sector in the Communications department of now Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies (a national billion-dollar company). As Communications Manager, she was responsible for the company’s web site, online advertising, social media, and promotional email. When the desire to be close to family and closer to the sun brought her to Arizona (across the country from the company’s corporate operations), she began pursuing her own business.
She taught Public Relations and Organizational Communications courses at Wilkes University and Introductory Communications at Northampton Community College.
She is happiest while spending time with her husband and two children as well as their extended family and close friends. She loves the beach and all things wine.
Disclaimer: While we only recommend products we know and love, we want to note we use affiliate links and may earn a commission for purchases made through those links.
If you’re one of our loyal readers, you know we are big fans of the Corel Draw Graphics Suite, so we wanted to let you know about Corel’s Black Friday sale currently in effect. The Draw Suite is now available for $100 off ($399 from $499), and four bonus items are included for free (ParticleShop, ParticleShop Brush Pack Bundle, Painter Essentials 7, and WinZip 24 Standard).
Corel Draw is not one of those products that’s perpetually on sale, so right now is a great time to buy if you’re in the market for a graphics package.
As we’ve said in a number of our articles: if you’re a graphic designer by trade, Corel Draw is probably not your graphics editor of choice. If you’re a small business owner without a lot of graphic design experience who is choosing to do branding in-house, Corel Draw is a great choice. You can address all your web and print graphics needs and produce sophisticated, high-end products . . . for a fraction of the price of the typical designer preference, Adobe. (These days, most Adobe products are only available via subscription, and their special Black Friday price for their annual subscription paid monthly is $39.99 – $479.88 for the year . . . to be paid year after year for as long as you would like access to their products. For some people, paying that amount for the Adobe Suite is an ongoing invaluable investment. For others – like us, it’s like buying a Ferrari to take your kids back and forth to school.)
Fonts. Oh, how I love fonts. They can make the simplest design unique and elegant. With the right font, your company name can transform from mere words to a professional and striking logo. So, how does a small business owner make best use of their branding budget (mine is usually $0/mo) to obtain the fonts that are perfect for the job?
The obvious answer . . . you can search “free fonts” on google and see the results. Unfortunately, the majority of the fonts in those search results are “free for personal use,” meaning you can use the font for a decoration for your son’s birthday party but not to create your business’s logo. However, “free for commercial use” fonts do exist, you just need to dig a little deeper for these gems . . . or simply view the list below, because I’ve already done the digging.
A favored resource, I’ve recommended this site many times. About a thousand *free* fonts are available, and they’re presented in a wonderfully searchable format (it is google after all). You’re able to type in your sample text, select the size you want to preview, and choose your desired font characteristic(s); then, your search results populate accordingly. According to google, “You can use [the fonts] freely in your products & projects – print or digital, commercial or otherwise.”
While this web site does have fonts for sale, hundreds are also available free for commercial use (as they promote right in their company tagline). Fonts are organized by category (i.e., san serif, serif, display, etc.) as well as by other useful attributes (i.e., language, number of font styles included in font family, etc.).
Another site in which most of the free fonts are for personal use, you have to look a little closer to find the free commercial fonts. Click the “Font Categories” at top and within the “Special” section, you’ll find “Free Fonts for Commercial Use.” At the time of this writing, the count of free commercial fonts was over 12,000, so the choices are still plentiful.
I will provide a disclaimer that web sites from this point down are probably only recommended for true font enthusiasts (like myself). The casual font appreciator will probably not appreciate needing to create an account (albeit free) for access to the free font selection . . . or the regular emails that result (though you can unsubscribe to those; I personally enjoy seeing what’s new in the world of fonts from week to week, but that may just be me). Now that I’ve mentioned the inconveniences, the benefit is that these types of sites usually have nicer options available. If you decide to go this route, Font Bundles gives you access to everything in their “free fonts” section, including a new font added every week.
Another site requiring a free account for access, this source is actually one of my favorites. They have a “Freebies” section of their web site, in which you’ll find a rotating selection of hundreds of free fonts. However, my favorite membership perk is their daily emails, each linking to a free font – only available that day. I enjoy having a free digital treasure delivered to my inbox each morning. Well, sometimes, the freebie isn’t a treasure, but I can just delete those; no hard feelings.
Similar to Creative Fabrica described above, you need an account for freebies, and they are regularly emailed to you. At Creative Market, however, you get one email per week letting you know about six available free goods, which can include fonts, graphics, stock photography, templates, etc. I would say in general half of the six free goods are fonts. One nice aspect of this site is that every time you download one of their free goods, its saved for you in your “Purchases.” If you download your free goods every week like I do, hundreds of fonts will be available in that section – all with a nice sort feature and large, graphic preview.
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Do you have a favorite source for free fonts (for commercial use) that I missed? Let us know in the comments section below!
Your business’s vision statement communicates your ultimate goal.
Since mission and vision statements are usually discussed in the same conversation, your mission statement is what you do, while your vision statement is the view once you’re done.
Below are a few formal definitions to elaborate on the concept.
According to . . .
[A vision statement is] an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.
Similar to a mission statement, a vision statement provides a concrete way for stakeholders, especially employees, to understand the meaning and purpose of your business. However, unlike a mission statement – which describes the who, what and why of your business – a vision statement describes the desired long-term results of your company’s efforts. For example, an early Microsoft vision statement was “a computer on every desk and in every home.”
“A company vision statement reveals, at the highest levels, what an organization most hopes to be and achieve in the long term,” said Katie Trauth Taylor, CEO of writing consultancy Untold Content. “It serves a somewhat lofty purpose – to harness all the company’s foresight into one impactful statement.”
Want to see those conceptual definitions in action? Below are a number of examples to scroll though to see the different ways famous companies communicate their vision.
Google: “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
Amazon: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Target: “Guided commitments to great value, the community, diversity, and the environment.”
Ebay: “To be the world’s favorite destination for discovering great value and unique selection.”
Nordstrom: “To serve our customers better, to always be relevant in their lives and to form lifelong relationships. And while serving our customer face-to-face is the foundation and hallmark of how we’ve historically served them, today customers seek our service in new ways. Speed, convenience, innovation, and personalization have become cornerstones of the customer experience. Guided by these new needs, we continue to invest in the cross-channel experience, combining the accessibility of pure online experience with the high-touch inclusivity of our stores.”
Versace: “To make women and men feel beautiful and empowered.”
BBC: “To act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.”
Netflix: “Becoming the best global entertainment distribution service; licensing entertainment content around the world; creating markets that are accessible to film makers; and helping content creators around the world to find a global audience.”
The Bank of New York: “Improving lives through inclusion, innovation and investing.”
J.P. Morgan: “Aspire to be the best; execute superbly; build a great team and a winning culture.”
Walgreens: “To be America’s most-loved pharmacy-led health, well-being and beauty company.”
CVS: “We strive to improve the quality of human life.”
United Way: “United Way envisions a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives.”
Make-a-Wish: “To be able to make every eligible child’s wish come true.”
General Motors: “To create a future of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion, and we have committed ourselves to leading the way toward this future.”
Tesla: “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”
Apple: “We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.”
IBM: “To be the world’s most successful and important information technology company.”
Starbucks: “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
Taco Bell: “To grow into the largest fast-food provider of Mexican style cuisine in emerging markets.”
Burger King: “To be the most profitable QSR business, through a strong franchise system and great people, serving the best burgers in the world.”
McDonalds: “To move with velocity to drive profitable growth and become an even better McDonald’s serving more customers delicious food each day around the world.”
ANATOMY OF A VISION STATEMENT
As you may have noticed, most vision statements are comprised of the same basic components. I’ll use our vision statement here at Brand Building for Small Business as an example:
While I have the different parts listed numerically for clarity, the order isn’t important. As you’ve seen throughout the dozens of examples, these components can look very different from one company to the next. All that matters is that you’ve clearly and fully communicated the vision of your company.
VISION STATEMENT GENERATOR
Now it’s your turn. Try creating a vision statement for your business based on the structure below.
Here’s another example for good measure . . .
Have any questions? As always, we’d love to hear from you. Scroll below to the “Leave a Reply” section. Happy vision statement drafting!
You can work to provide the best customer experience imaginable – sealing a rainbow and a hug with your perfect product in its perfect packaging – and you will still have the occasional unhappy customer. Sometimes, the issue is simply bad timing . . . a perfect storm in your customer’s life that culminates with your product underperforming in some perceived way (that’s more often a result of the person’s current frame of mind than actual underperformance). Sometimes, the fit isn’t a good one; the product or service isn’t what the individual expected (possibly even because he or she didn’t pay enough attention to the sales pitch or product specs prior to purchase). Regardless, one day you will be on the receiving end of bad publicity from an unhappy customer, and you’ll want to know the best way to handle the situation. Below are some different approaches with the selection of the right one dependent upon the specific circumstances of the bad press.
Sometimes, no response is the best response.
I have had a really hard time with this one in the past. It’s just so against my nature to not share my point of view. However, this approach can be the right choice when . . .
The customer discredits themself in the process . . . either by sounding a little crazy, exhibiting below average intelligence, or complaining about something that clearly isn’t the product’s fault. In other words, if your average person would read the quote, review, or feedback from the individual and not be convinced (for whatever reason) that your product was at fault, then just walk away. Your work is done. No input needed.
You have the potential to do more harm than good. Whenever you receive bad publicity, take a step back and try to look at the big picture. Does this negative press have the potential to negatively affect sales? If so, by how much? For how long? If the potential fallout is minimal, walk away. Count your losses and call it a day. Another important variable . . . how angry does this customer seem to be? When helping my son with his science homework recently, I was reminded by Newton that all actions have an equal and opposite reaction. If you counter your opposition, the chance always exists that they will find another way to strike back (especially if you’re dealing with one of those customers in the midst of that perfect storm in their life).
Turn an unhappy customer into a happy one.
This route is my favorite. When you see a problem that has a solution, strive for resolution. Regardless of whether you saw the complaint on facebook, on yelp, or in your local newspaper, the approach is largely the same. Reach out to the customer, let the person know you saw their issue, apologize for the misunderstanding (usually one exists in these situations), and try to remedy the problem. Upon reaching happy conclusion, I never ask for the individual to undo their negative press. Simply apologize, fix the problem, and thank the person for giving you the opportunity to do so. The majority of the time, the person will not only undo the negative, he or she will rave about your customer service. However, do be prepared for the small minority of people who have had their issue resolved and do not undo their bad publicity. In those cases, you then need to decide whether the potential fallout is bad enough that you need to take further action. If so, read on.
Mitigate the damage.
Sometimes, your customer’s problem is unsolvable (or he/she is unmoved by your solution) AND the associated publicity does have the potential to substantially impact your business. In those cases, you need to act, BUT always approach these situations with great caution. If you choose to respond by providing a quote to the reporter doing the story or as a direct response in a public venue (facebook, yelp or other review web site, your product web page, etc.), be sure to do the following:
First and foremost, be respectful. Do not speak at all negatively about the person or situation. If you do, readers will empathize with the customer. They will picture buying your product, having a problem, and being spoken to in that same negative manner.
Apologize . . . carefully. Despite whether you feel you’re at fault, your customer feels he or she has been wronged in some way. You have a public victim. That said, you’re probably not looking to claim full culpability either, so choose your words carefully. Apologize: for the misunderstanding, for the terrible experience that’s been endured, etc. Don’t say, “I apologize that my product was the cause of a terrible experience for you.” The difference is subtle but important.
Address the situation directly. This is the time to share your side of things. Nicely explain the issue from your perspective. Your goal is for a potential customer to hear both sides and agree with you . . . or at least feel your fault is limited enough that they would still patronize your business. I dug up two examples for you of 1-star reviews I’ve received that I felt warranted a response.
Focus on increasing your positive publicity. Work to counteract the negative message that was conveyed. For example, if a customer’s complaint of faulty workmanship on her home got media attention, try to get press coverage on all the beautiful work your company has done. That could mean applying for some recognition in your field (annual awards, etc.), which could then be promoted. Another route would be to introduce a new guarantee on your workmanship, which could be publicized. If you’ve done a job that was unique or special in some way, you could try to pitch the story to a reporter as a feature. In my line of work, when a product gets a negative review that needs to be addressed, I send messages to other customers who have purchased the same product, asking if they would be willing to share their experience. During this pandemic (while sales were at their worst for me), I needed to take this step. Here was my message:
Hi there. I would like to personally thank you once again for your purchase. During these hard times in particular, the fact that you are purchasing products from small businesses means so much — to me and my family. So please accept my sincerest thanks.
An additional step that is very meaningful is leaving a review. IF you have the time available AND you were happy with your purchase, I would greatly appreciate you taking a few minutes to write a positive review for the product. I think people often don’t realize how important an impact their voice can have — especially for a small business.
If you didn’t end up loving your purchase, please respond to this message and let me know. I can either help you troubleshoot or I can personalize your product for you (if applicable), and I can work to improve the product for future customers.
In conclusion, I sincerely hope you never have negative press. (For a good article on proactive prevention, check out Great Customer Service is a Zero Cost Strategy by Business Management Blog.) For the unfortunate though likely day that you do encounter an unhappy (and vocal) customer, I hope this article makes you feel a little more prepared. Have any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you. Scroll down to “Leave a Reply.”
The first time I attempted printing on envelopes was when I was doing Christmas cards about six months after I had started selling envelope templates as part of my invitation business. By time I designed the template for sale, the product had already been requested multiple times, and I finally caved. Something about the process intimidated me, and I was very reluctant to enter the market. And I was right . . . to an extent. I’ve been selling envelope templates for years now, and a number of them are best-sellers. That said, I encounter customers who experience issues with the process on a very consistent basis. If I am spending multiple hours assisting a customer, almost guaranteed I’m working with someone who is trying to print on envelopes.
Going back to my first time, I, too, had challenges, and printing perfection probably came after (similar to some of my customers’ experiences) about two hours of fighting frustration. I write all this not to scare you off but to properly prepare you. For most how to’s, I go on about speed and ease. This is not that kind of introduction. You will most likely be confused and annoyed at one or multiple points in this process. If you’ve got a fighting spirit, you may even be tempted to physically confront your printer. However – if you’ve got endurance, you will most likely prevail!
You could also be one of the lucky ones. Many of my customers have raved about how wonderfully easy the process was for them. I’m always a little secretly envious in those situations. Hopefully, that, too, will be your experience.
Regardless, whether or not you initially struggle and ultimately succeed or immediately win the day, you will pretty much be an envelope printing wizard going forward (until you purchase a new printer of course). Now, the process is old hat for me and is SOOO much quicker than writing out addresses and SOO much nicer looking than labels (yes, I’m an envelope snob now, sure, but we all have our faults). So . . . if you’ve decided you want to plunge forward, I commend your gumption and encourage you to read on.
1. Open Microsoft Word and select New > Blank Document. Click the Layout tab, press the Size button, and choose Envelope #10 (which is a standard business-size envelope). Then, click Orientation and select Landscape. Finally, click Margins, select Custom Margins, input .6” for Top and Bottom and .86” for Left and Right, and press OK.
2. Next, add your logo. Click the Insert tab, select Pictures, and choose This Device; then, navigate to your logo, select the file, and press the Insert button.
You’ll probably need to adjust the sizing. If so, just click on a corner of the image and drag DIAGONALLY to increase or decrease the size as needed. (If you drag other than diagonally, you could resize your logo disproportionately.)
Then, click in the open space to the right of the logo, press enter to add a line space, set your font properties, and type your business address. (I went with Calibri font in size 7.5 and expanded the character spacing by .5; I fiddled a little with the options until the address lined up just so with the logo.)
3. Select the Insert tab, click the Text Box button (in the Text section at upper right), and choose the Simple Text Box.
Click the Shape Outline dropdown and select No Outline. Type in your recipient’s name and address (or just input placeholder info for now). Then, select the outline of the shape and click the Home button to set the font properties of your text box. (This time, I went with Calibri in size 11 centered and expanded the character spacing by 1. I also selected Remove Space After Paragraph from the Line and Paragraph Spacing dropdown.)
At this stage, I just fiddled with the font properties a bit more. I decided to center the text, extend the character spacing by 2 pts, cap the name, put the zip code on its own line, and extend that character spacing by 5 pts. I also moved the text box move down a bit.
4. Be sure to save your file at this point to be accessible whenever you need to print an envelope.
And now, on to the tricky part. . . .
5. Go to File > Print. Once on the Print screen, be sure Envelope #10 is selected from the Page Size drop down.
Load your envelopes in your printer (according to your printer specifications). Take a picture so you remember your placement.
Print. If the addresses printed upside down, on the wrong side, not on the envelope at all, etc., adjust your envelope’s placement in the printer accordingly. Take another picture (so you can keep track of what you’ve already tried).
Once you know the proper way to line up your envelopes in your printer, be sure to take one last picture of the right placement for future reference . . . for the next time when can be an envelope printing pro.
That said, good luck . . . and try to be patient (or at least try to make it a little fun . . . maybe do a shot between each fail).
A seemingly infinite number of resources exist on branding, and a similarly large number of small business resources exist. Once you narrow in your search on resources for small business branding (and of course eliminate those who want to offer you that service in exchange for a fee), a much, much smaller pool exists. Well, we scoured the Internet for some of the most valuable of these resources for fellow small business brand builders and compiled the best of the best for you below . . . .
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Pexels – “The world’s first inclusive free stock photo & video library”
While you need to attribute credit to the photographer (as you can see in the example pictured above), you get access to a really impressive selection of *free* high-resolution stock photography. The images can be used on your web site, in advertisements, flyers, etc. Pexels is absolutely a must-have in your bookmarks.
This blog is right up our alley! The articles discuss branding from the perspective of small businesses and even provide DIY tips in some areas. If you view the “Articles by Topic,” you’ll see they’re conveniently categorized into the following sections: “Find Your Niche,” “Dream It,” “Create It,” “Grow It,” and “Manage It.”
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Google Fonts – “Making the web more beautiful, fast, and open through great typography.”
About a thousand *free* fonts are available, and they’re presented in a wonderfully searchable format (it is google after all). You’re able to type in your sample text, select the size you want to preview, and choose your desired font characteristic(s), and your search results will populate accordingly. According to google, “You can use [the fonts] freely in your products & projects – print or digital, commercial or otherwise.”
We use the vector and graphics editor, CorelDraw. While the suite is powerful and much cheaper than your standard graphics package, the cost is still pretty steep in the $500 ballpark. I read a few articles on free vector-editing programs, found Inkscape (https://inkscape.org/) to be highly recommended, and gave it a go. The free program seems to have all the features needed to get the job done. (And, they make a number of tutorials available, including one on the basic tools: https://inkscape.org/en/doc/tutorials/basic/tutorial-basic.html.)
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AmEx Blog > Branding – “Hone your presence, online and off. Carve out a niche that customers and clients respond to, and help build a seamless brand, from the color of your logo to the personality of your social posts.”
AmEx has a vastly extensive blog for small businesses. While Branding is only one section within, the quantity of information could easily qualify as a blog of its own. While the section could benefit from some organization, dozens upon dozens of articles as well as videos offer valuable branding insights for small businesses.
While Microsoft dedicates the prime real estate of this page to promoting their “premium” content, hundreds of free options are available. If you browse by category, you’ll see brochures, business cards, flyers, invoices, newsletters, and more. While you’ll certainly want to customize any template with your business’s brand elements, these “off-the-shelf” options often make a great starting point and save you a lot of time and effort.
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The Noun Project – “Over 2 Million curated icons, created by a global community”
Ever wondered where to go for icons that could be used as part of your brand identity or marketing materials for a very minimal cost? A number of options exist, but I like https://thenounproject.com/. They have a large selection and charge nominal, one-time fees per icon. (We obtained the hammer for our logo from this source for $2.99.)
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DIY Marketers – “An Online Magazine for Overwhelmed Small Business Owners on a Budget”
The author of the blog shares her origin story:
Back in 2008 I got a call from MSNBC asking me to be a part of a pilot program they were doing for entrepreneurs. The idea was to bring a TV crew to “our offices” and see how we were able to create all this amazing content and to teach another small business owner how they can market themselves on a budget. I was sorry to tell them that the Ivana Taylor empire ran from my living room with my 3-person staff of Me, Myself and I. The first thing they asked me was how I was able to do so much on a budget — and that’s when DIYMarketers was born.
For me, this story exemplifies all we can accomplish in the world of DIY, investing money from our businesses in growth instead of hiring others to execute the tasks we can accomplish ourselves. And the blog itself doesn’t disappoint. While the design is a little overwhelming, you’ll find oodles of insight and “how-to’s.”
Disclaimer: While we only recommend products we know and love, we want to note we use affiliate links and may earn a commission for purchases made through those links.
If you’re a graphic designer by trade, Corel Draw may not be your graphics editor of choice. If you’re a small business owner without a lot of graphic design experience choosing to do your branding in-house, Corel Draw is a great choice. You can pretty much address all your web and print graphics needs for a fraction of the price of the typical designer preference, Adobe. Since you’ve landed on this page in your travels, you probably already know that. Your stumbling block may be that blank page within Corel that you’re staring at while wondering the quickest and easiest way to get professional-looking business cards designed, printed, and ready to hand out. We’ll take you step by step through the process.
A Quick Note About Versions: I’m using Corel Draw 18. As long as you’re using a version in that same vicinity (i.e., 16, 17, 19, or 20), your view should look pretty similar to the screenshots included throughout these directions.
1. From within Corel Draw, go to File > New. You want an 8.5 x 11” portrait page that’s CMYK and 300 dpi:
2. Select the Graph Paper Tool:
Input 2 columns by 5 rows:
Draw the graph in any size and then switch to the Pick tool:
Change the size of the graph to 7” wide x 10” high and then type “p” to center the object on the page:
Double click the Outline Pen at the bottom right of the screen and change the color to dark gray, the width to hairline, and the style to dashed:
Then press Ungroup Objects with the graph still selected:
3. With the layout of your business card document ready, Go to File > Import and navigate to an image of your logo and click the Import button. Then, resize as desired and place your image within the top left rectangle. To ensure your logo is perfectly horizontally centered within the space, select the logo first, hold down the “shift” key to be able to select multiple objects, select the rectangle, at which point you can deselect shift; then, press “c” with both objects selected.
Select the Text tool so you could begin adding content:
Click anywhere on the page and type your name; press enter and add your title; then, continue adding the rest of the details you would like to show on your business card. I’m going to include my title, phone number, email address, and web site. Finally, set the alignment of the text to centered and choose your font and font size. I’m going to use Calibri, size 11 for my name; size 10 for my title; and 7.5 for the rest of the information.
Move the text to the desired spot within the rectangle and horizontally center the two (click the text, press the ”shift” key while also selecting the rectangle; then, press “c”):
Now, you’ll want to adjust the spacing a bit. With the text selected, press Ctrl + k to break each line into its own text object. Then, I’m going to stretch out the character spacing of my name from 0% to 150%. To do so, press Ctrl + t to edit the text properties.
To ensure the two words don’t run into one another with the extended character spacing, I’m going to change the Word Spacing from 100% to 450%:
For my title, I’m going to use 50% character spacing and 250% word spacing.
Next, I’m going to select the phone number, e-mail address, and web site – pressing the down arrow key a few times until I’m happy with the placement:
4. And now we’ve got one business card in place! To distribute the card design throughout the page so they can be printed ten at a time, select the rectangle you’ve been working on along with all the content inside and press Ctrl + g to group them together. Press Ctrl + d to duplicate the business card:
Keeping the newly created business card selected, press the “shift” key while selecting the top right rectangle; then, press “e” to vertically center and “c” to horizontally center:
Select your two business cards and press Ctrl + g to group the two together and then Ctrl + d to duplicate them both:
With your newly created group of two business cards selected, press shift while selecting the second rectangle in the first column, and press “t” to top align the objects and “l” to left align the objects:
Repeat that process until all the rectangles are filled with your business cards:
5. Save your file and print; be sure to set your Print Quality to the best available option.
When choosing your paper, I recommend a quality cardstock between 80 and 100 lb — any thinner, and your business card will be too flimsy; any thicker, and you risk problems using the paper in a conventional home printer. A matte versus glossy finish is really a personal preference, but you do avoid any potential for fingerprints on a matte stock.
Then, cut! For the cleanest and straightest edges, use a paper cutter.
A Note About Fonts and Colors: While the instructions described above will achieve the simple and modern design pictured, you can (and should) customize the look for your business. If you’ve been brand building from the start, you already have a Style Guide in place, and everything you create for your business should reflect the guidelines you’ve set for your logo usage, fonts, and colors. If you’re new to branding, be sure to review our story on The Role of a Brand Style Guide.
Where to Begin? Once you’ve made the decision for your business that you are going to build your brand from the ground up, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed. I certainly did. In this post, I reflect on the beginning of my journey as I learned to focus on branding even while in survival mode.
What’s in a Name? This piece examines some of the considerations in selecting the right name for a well-branded operation.
Design Your Own Logo This tutorial provides a very hands-on approach to building your logo. Whether you are considering a totally new design or simply looking to adjust, adapt, and tweak an existing one, these tips (including where to find needed tools) should prove useful.
Know Your Audience A very basic but essential part of any branding exercise should be to make sure you know your audience and choose branding elements that properly reflect their characteristics. This article reviews some of the basics for you to consider.
How to Create a Mission Statement Need a little inspiration for crafting that ever-so-important message? This post includes a couple dozen great examples along with an exercise that breaks down the components of a good mission statement to help you develop yours.
The Role of a Brand Style Guide Once you have completed each of the above activities BUT BEFORE YOU BEGIN BUILDING BASIC TOOLS LIKE BUSINESS CARDS OR LETTERHEAD OR INCORPORATING THE ELEMENTS INTO MARKETING OR ADVERTISING EFFORTS, take the time to create a style guide that puts into writing the most basic rules that must be observed to properly build the visual element of your new brand.
In an earlier post, we described how easy creating your own business letterhead can be in Microsoft Word. Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be worth . . . a whole lot of words!
We really wanted to be able to show how easy some of our DIYs really are, and how better to do that than in live action? (The task of creating letterhead is done in about two minutes.)
So welcome to our first video . . . . Hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you! Just scroll down to the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Every business should have a custom thank you card on file – the piece gives you the opportunity to express appreciation to your customers, employees, business partners, or anyone else deserving of thanks while reinforcing your business’s brand; also, I love gestures that have double-duty impact at minimal (almost no) cost.
So, in case you don’t already have one of these gems saved on your hard drive, I’m going to take you through the process of making a 2-on double-sided 5×7” branded Thank You card in Microsoft Word.
1. Open Microsoft Word and create a New Blank Document. Change the margins of the page by selecting the Layout tab (at the top), clicking the Margins button, selecting Custom Margins, and changing the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margins to .25 inches.
2. Click the Insert tab (at the top), click Text Box within the Text section, and select Simple Text Box. Click the outline of the rectangle, hover over the center handle of the bottom line, and click and drag downward to increase the size just a bit. Then, right click on the rectangle, choose More Layout Options…, click the Size tab, input a Height of 5”, select Absolute within the Width section and input 7”; click the Position tab and uncheck “Move object with text” from the Options section. Next, right click the rectangle and select Format Shape. Format the Fill as No Fill and the Line as a Solid Line, Black, 1pt in Width, and Dashed. Now your text box is ready to be customized.
Click the content within the rectangle, which will select everything, and press delete. Set the alignment to centered by pressing Ctrl + E and then type “Thank You”. Press the enter key to advance a couple lines spaces and then insert your logo (Insert tab > Pictures > This Device > browse to the image file for your logo > Insert).
Now you’re obviously going to want to do some formatting. I decrease the size of our logo to 1” in height (the width automatically adjusts proportionately), change the font of “Thank You” to Candellion in 80 pt. and add some line spaces.
3. With the rectangle selected, press Ctrl + C and then Ctrl + V to make a copy. Click and drag the outline of the second rectangle to move about a quarter of an inch from the bottom of the first and horizontally centered on the page (indicated with a green guideline).
4. Duplicate the page: press Ctrl + A to select all the content on the page, press the Insert tab (towards the top), click Blank Page in the Pages section (at top left), and then Ctrl + V to paste the content from the original page onto the new page.
Next, go to the second page and delete the content of the text boxes. You’re going to want to type your message here. (I used the Calibri font in size 11.) Copy and paste the content from one text box to the next (or type different content) and then remove the border of each box. (When you print double sided, the printer will offset the reverse side some small amount and the boxes won’t line up perfectly; therefore, you can just leave the boxes on the front as your cutting guide.)
5. Save your file, print double sided on card stock, and cut!
Good luck. Stay safe.
If you have any questions or comments on this topic, we’d love to hear from you. Scroll down to the comments section at the bottom of this page.