Letterhead - Professional Business Identity!
You have a name for your business and now you just need to build a professional identity to represent your new company in front of your customers. Once you have had a logo designed, you'll need to get business cards and letterhead designed for your business.
Business cards will give you a professional image when you meet your customers face to face (and will also serve as a flyer when someone recommends you via word of mouth and passes your business card on.)
Letterhead will serve to give your company the image it needs when you want to contact your customers by post - for example, when you are sending an invoice or a new catalogue to your customers. If you think about this from a customer's perspective - if no letterheads were to be included, it would make your company look very unprofessional and therefore untrustworthy (meaning less chance of a repeat sale.)
Letterhead is usually printed on a Lithographic (Litho) press. This gives it the best possible quality, and at high quantities litho printing is the cheapest option. For lower options, it is likely that your letterheads will be printed more cost-effectively on a digital press. This used to mean a compromise in quality, but digital printing today on some of the more modern digital presses (for example HP Indigos) will bring a quality difference that is very difficult to notice. The format for your letterheads will invariably be A4. This is the UK standard for desktop printers and measures 297mm x 210mm. Paper selection is important - since you will most likely want to run this paper through your printer, you will need a paper stock that is 130gsm or lower. Also, since you'll want to print on it and perhaps sign your letters at the bottom of the page, the paper type is important - normal or silk paper can be written on, while gloss cannot.
Now for the design of your letterheads. You're only going to want to print or write your communications on one side, so this means you probably only want them printed one-sided. This will likely save on cost, too. So what should you include on the front? The most important thing to have at the top of the page is your company name and logo - this is the first thing that your customers will see and this will give prominence to your brand. If you are only intending on using a little bit of colour in your design, this is the place to use it. At the bottom, you want to make sure that your customers can easily find out how to contact you. Include your main company telephone number, your website address (if you have one), your fax number and perhaps a company email address (for example email@example.com.)
There are also legal requirements for what you need to include on your letterhead in the UK. These are simple but vary by type of business:
- As a sole trader, you are allowed to trade under your own business name or choose a different business name. However, if you choose to represent yourself on your letterhead with a different name, you also need to make sure that your own name and business address is included somewhere on the design. If your business is a partnership business, you need to make sure that your letterheads includes the names of all partners and the main office address.
- If there are too many partners to fit within the design of the document, then you are allowed to state where a list of all these partners can be found.
- If you have a limited company (Ltd) your letterhead must include the following:
- The full registered company name (for example Fred Jones Ltd) and place of registration.
- The registered company address and the address of its place of business (if different.)
- You do not have to name the directors on your letterheads, but if you name any of the directors, you must name all directors.
- Finally, if you are a charitable company and your name does not include the words 'charitable' or 'charity' then you must include this on your letterheads.
Taking the above considerations into account, you should be able to quickly put your own personal letterhead together. Create the right image when you send out documents, let people know who you are, where you are from and how they can contact you!