“So, what is collateral?”

That is the most common question I receive when clients are going through our onboarding process. I use the onboarding time to get to know the clients, but to also explain to them what the full brand process looks like and answer any questions they may have.

The problem with collateral is there are a million choices to choose from. It truly depends on what type of business you have, if you operate more digital or in-person, if you rely on email marketing, blog posts, both or neither.

Collateral comes in many shapes and forms, essentially. It is a design that accentuates and adds to your brand and speaks to your business. It is often seen as print design (business cards, fliers, marketing materials, etc.), but that has changed tremendously over the past few years.

The problem is, not many people have changed their perspective on collateral, so it is up to you to stand out. Here are a few tips:

1. Make sure you have print collateral


A common problem is that the world is going digital, and so everyone sinks their marketing into 100% digital as well. This is NOT the way to go. Have an even mix of print and digital collateral.

If you’re a photographer, for example, maybe that means you have a blog header, email header and business cards designed. You use the same header for your blogs every time you share photos from a recent shoot, but maybe you change out the wording or a photo in it. You use your email header for your email campaigns and your business cards for networking, in-person marketing, shows and to leave at local businesses that want to support you.

For something more digital, such as bloggers, you still need to make sure you have something for print. Just because your business is mainly online, you still should be networking in-person or sending out thank you cards to those who guest blog or invite you to guest blog. In that case, you might choose a Pinterest graphic for your blogs, a branded thank you card and an email header and footer design.

2. Convert your print designs to digital

    This is your opportunity to stretch your designs beyond what they were intended to do, as well as show some creativity. Take your business card design and convert that into an email signature or website footer. Take your printed pricing guide or welcome book and make it digital so that people can download it from your website or look at a pricing guide on your “Work with Me” page that stands out from all of the others.

3. Think outside the box

Where else can you put your collateral that isn’t typical? Can you create a custom stamp for packages? A great place I recommend to get these is Hello World Stamp. Can you create a business card that’s die cut or embossed or foiled so that it stands out from the rest? Think outside the box. It’s all about leaving a lasting impression.

So what do you do with these tips?

Start now by brainstorming. List all of the collateral you have in your business now. Do you have any print collateral listed? If not, think of all of the in-person interactions you have with your business or if you sell physical products. Where can your brand be infused in those situations? Then, look at your current collateral and see how else you can use it and transform it. Finally, take a hard look at what you are using. Does it stand out? Would you keep it or remember it if it was given to you or you saw it pop up in your email?


Any other ideas or just want to chat? Email kayla@designsbykayla.com.

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