Is your printed stationery gathering dust?

posted by Lauren Rauseo on: 04/05/09 in category: design | tags:

Do you know how often I’ve used professionally printed letterhead since starting LBK Designs? NEVER.

That’s probably because I never bothered to get any printed. You may think that is a little strange, seeing as how my entire business revolves around designing graphic collateral and printed material. And maybe there have been a handful of times where having a few sheets of stationery to mail with a fancy package would have come in handy.

But the bulk (and by bulk, I mean 99.9%) of my business communication is done by email. How do I present my clients with project proposals? After going over the expectations for the project in detail over the phone or several emails, an estimate is given in writing using an electronic template. How do I send invoices? Upon a project’s completion, my clients instantly receive a PDF in their inbox.

In case you’re not familiar with electronic templates, it’s not a technical term, and maybe other companies call them something else. For my purposes, an electronic template is basically everything that would go on a piece of printed letterhead — sometimes nothing but my company logo and contact info — presented neatly in the margins a Word document (and tested for color-consistent print-outs on low-grade printers). When it’s time send a proposal, project outline, invoice, or other standard document to a client, I simply open the template, add the specifics, click ‘send’ and I’m done. 

To make my life easier, I’ve created individual templates for each of my oft-used documents mentioned above; this way I can include repeated elements, such as client agreement footnotes or payment policies, and not have to start from scratch each time. I choose to create PDFs from the completed document, but sending them in Microsoft Word format is completely acceptable as well.

Not convinced? Here are electronic template benefits at a glance:

Of course there are certain businesses and industries where printed letterhead is the way to go, and I’m not saying to never use paper again. But before you order 5,000, 10,000, or 25,000 sheets, think about whether you are accurately estimating how much you’ll use (order about a year’s supply). And if there is any chance your address or phone number will change, wait until these details are ironed out.

And just in case I’ve discredited myself as a print graphic designer, keep in mind that I often offer my clients electronic templates as part of a company identity package, which can include traditional stationery as well.

About the Author

Lauren Rauseo is your one-stop shop for print design, websites, HTML email, and more. When she's not busy working on client projects, Lauren enjoys running, doing yoga, drinking a soy white mocha, and having a dance party in the living room with her kids. Shake it off, people, just shake it off.

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