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Creating a consistent style across your collateral is critical to building a brand identity that allows your customers to instantly recognize your company and distinguish it from others. In this course, designer Steve Harris shows how to design print assets like business cards, letterhead, and envelopes that build brand awareness and catch the reader's attention. Over the course of the design process, he shows how to create a complete package in Adobe InDesign and output it for professional printing.
When you're building brand collateral, it's essential that you maintain consistency throughout all of the visual elements. This includes colors, fonts, logos, and even subtle details such as rounded corners or the alignment of text. Customers or potential clients need to be able to identify your brand immediately and easily, so make sure that all of these individual elements fit together into one nicely crafted package. First of all, I recommend that you have a logo file handy at all times when you're working with your brand.
This file that I have opened in Illustrator is an AI file, and it's really the perfect format to be working with for Adobe InDesign. If we preview the file, we can see that it just has a white background and it's just our standard logo. I've saved this out as an AI file and I've placed it in our Assets folder. With the file in our Assets folder, we can easily place this AI file throughout any document that we need, such as our business cards or letterhead. This is going to ensure that you're not rebuilding your logo from scratch every time, or you're not using a low-resolution version of it.
The AI file is a high-resolution vector file. Even though you've drawn your logo in Adobe Illustrator, you may not be able to use this vector format in other software, such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. In that event, we can simply File > Export our image out, and we could save this as a PNG, which we know uses transparency. So, it will show up quite well in other software. Or we could select another file format, such as a JPEG or a TIF.
Next, we need to make sure that we're using the same fonts. When I built the Red 30 website, I used a couple of web fonts. These web fonts were in the Adobe Typekit library; however, they're also available in the Google free Web Fonts library. And we can actually download these fonts to our computer to make sure that they're the same on our print documents. First, I'll search for PT Sans. You can see that it's available here, and I'm going to add it to my collection. Next, we'll search for Lobster, which is one of our main headline fonts on the site.
This is it here at the top, and we'll add this to our collection as well. You can see that now we have two font families added to the collection. In the top-right corner, we have an Download Your Collection option. I'll click that, and we'll download the font families as a ZIP file. I'm going to open them automatically with our archive utility. Now that we have our fonts open, we can install them on our computer by simply clicking onto the font and clicking Install Font.
That's going to make sure that we have a version we can use in InDesign. If you're working on a Windows computer, you can install your fonts easily by just dragging them and dropping them into the Windows Fonts folder. That will install them automatically. Next, I'm just going to install PT Sans by highlighting all of them and dragging and dropping them into Font Book. Once I've dragged and dropped the fonts into Font Book, we have a dialog that comes up here just saying that some problems have been found with the fonts. However, I'm just going to check them and install them.
There, now they're installed on our computer and we can use them in our InDesign file. Next, we need to talk about color swatches. In InDesign, we have the ability to export a color swatch automatically into a file called an ASC, an Adobe Swatch File. In our Swatches palette, we can select two swatches that we've created. If we highlight them both and in the top- right dropdown menu click Save Swatches, we can save these swatches out anywhere. I'll just save them to my desktop and call them Red30 and click Save.
Now, when we create a new document, we can click into our Swatches panel, click Load Swatches, select those same swatches that we just saved, and click Open, and they automatically appear on our Swatch panel. This way we are making sure we use the same color throughout all of our documents. In the event that you're not using InDesign to build your brand collateral materials, you can actually use the same colors very easily by just referencing the specific color formulas.
If we double-click on one of the swatches we've established, we can see that it gives us the specific breakdown of these colors. And we can choose CMYK or RGB or any other combination. So let's reference these colors. We have cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. If we bring up Microsoft Word, we click into the Colors dropdown and we select More Colors, we have the ability to adjust specific sliders. So, if we click our color sliders and we change this to CMYK, we can enter in these same values: 69, 72, 79, and 73. And click okay.
And what this has done is made sure that this is the exact same CMYK color combination, which should print fairly similar to what we've established in our InDesign file. Lastly, I'd just like to recommend that if you're working in InDesign for all of your collateral materials, that you simply copy and paste elements between all of the different documents. You can see I have business cards open here. If we copy the logo element and we paste it into another document, it's going to appear in the same way. So, let's just make sure we're copying and pasting throughout all the documents we have.
Remember, consistency in the tone and style of your collateral are key when building a complete branded package. By spending some time upfront setting up a color palette, selecting corporate fonts, and even preparing or sourcing a proper logo, you'll find it much easier to build a consistent brand. If you plan on hiring a designer to build all of your printed material on website, it's often a good idea to use that same designer for all of these elements, to avoid any potential stylistic changes that they may have from one element to another.
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