HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COLLATERAL FOR YOUR BRAND

branding marketing Jun 04, 2021
how to design and choose collateral for your brand

Brand Collateral is the collection of print and digital materials created from your Brand Assets. 

It’s used to promote your brand, and to connect with current and potential clients. 

It’s through repeat interaction with your Brand Collateral that your audience grows to recognize and remember your brand amidst all the distraction and noise online (and in the real world too!). 

Some common examples of Brand Collateral are things like business cards, social media graphics, workbooks, videos, thank you cards, banners, and pretty much anything you create that represents your brand.

How to Decide What Collateral You Need For Your Brand

Deciding what collateral you’ll need for your brand is a great first step to take when starting down the path to designing Brand Collateral. To determine what you’ll need, here are a few questions to ask yourself about your brand and your marketing efforts: 

  • Where will I focus my marketing efforts? 
  • What’s my client onboarding process from start to finish? 
  • How will I deliver my courses and programs?
  • What are my brand's other points of interaction? 

The essential pieces of collateral will depend on your unique brand. However, I find that for most fempreneurs just starting out, the collateral items they most often need, include social media graphics and banners, business cards, a lead magnet and brochure.  

How to Find a Collateral Designer

A collateral designer may or may not be the same person as brand identity designer.

A collateral designer doesn't usually design the original brand assets - but rather they design collateral based off of those assets. While your brand identity designer may design collateral too, having a separate collateral designer on your team can save you money, because they often charge less than the brand identity designer.  

My favorite places to look for good designers are on Upwork, Cloud Peeps, and in Facebook Groups where your colleagues hang out.

For Facebook groups, use the search function to look for a designer – usually someone has asked the same question in the past. For example, if you're looking for someone to design your business card, search something like "I need a graphic designer for my business card" and see what threads come up.

Then, explore the comments in past threads to find candidates and reach out to them via messenger. Explore their portfolio to make sure their style matches what you're looking for, and if it's going to be someone you work with closely, I recommend setting up a Zoom interview and meeting with a few candidates to find the best fit.

When You Should Try to DIY Your Brand Collateral

When should you try to DIY your collateral and when should you bring in an expert?

In most cases, the answer is always to bring in an expert - it will take a non-designer more time, and the results will be less impressive. If you bring in an expert, the collateral will look better, attract more clients and you can spend your precious time on money-making tasks that grow your business.

However, for new business owners or business owners on a tight budget, designing your own collateral can help you save some money. And like I always say, if investing in a designer for brand collateral means that you or your family won’t be able to afford food or rent, then just GET STARTED by doing it yourself, as best you can, and bring in a professional once you've picked up some momentum.

DIYing your Brand Collateral will be infinitely easier and turn out much better if you’ve already invested in a brand identity designer who has given you a comprehensive Brand Book detailing what your brand assets are and how to (and not to) use them.

Resources for Designing and Printing Collateral Yourself

If you decide that designing your own Brand Collateral is the path you want to go down, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re using the best resources available to help you design beautiful collateral. Here, I’ve compiled a few of the most popular resources for designing your own brand collateral and listed some pros and cons for each one. 

Canva

Canva is probably the most popular online design tool. With a free membership option, beautiful templates, and tons of customization options, it’s no wonder why. Canva’s free membership option comes with almost everything you could need to design beautiful collateral, and their paid membership option is affordable and comes with more than you would ever need to create beautiful designs. Plus, the interface is incredibly easy to use, even for beginners. 

However, Canva doesn’t allow for vector designs, meaning that the size is fixed and you won’t be able to make it too much bigger or smaller without it getting blurry – so, Canva isn’t great for designing logos that you may need to put on collateral of any size. However, if you have a fixed size you’re working with ahead of time, Canva has plenty of sizing options to give you a canvas large enough to beat the blur. On top of that, since it is such a common tool, a lot of the pre-made templates have been used time and time again and, if not used uniquely, will make you blend in rather than stand out. 

Canva Pro costs $12.99 when billed monthly, or $119.99 when billed yearly. 

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is fairly similar to canva, however the design options are a little bit more advanced. PicMonkey does not offer a free membership option, but the paid options have everything you will need for designing beautiful collateral, and a “pro” option that comes with even more. 

While the interface is slightly more difficult to use, it is easier to organize the elements on the page by simply clicking and dragging in the layers panel. It does have some inconveniences, like that it doesn’t save your uploaded photos between design sessions and the built-in organization system is somewhat limited. However, PicMonkey is my go-to and what I use to design everything that goes on my social media and website! 

PicMonkey Basic costs $7.99/month, and PicMonkey Pro costs $12.99/month.

Photoshop  

Photoshop and the entire Adobe Suite is a great option to use to design your brand collateral. This is what most professional designers use, and offers endless options for customization and creating something truly unique. Photoshop also offers a vectorization option, so that you can create beautiful logos that can be sized up or down, and manipulate files that you may want to use for collateral of different print sizes. 

However, Photoshop can be quite difficult to learn, as the countless tools and options can quickly become overwhelming. While there are online tutorials to help the learning process move quicker, it seems like there’s always something new to learn each time you log in. Not only that, but Photoshop offers no free options, and the paid memberships are not as affordable as the options mentioned above. 

Photoshop is available for $20.99/month, and can be bundled with Adobe’s other products for a price break. 

Printing Your Collateral

An important thing to consider when it comes to print collateral, like business cards and brochures, is where you’ll get it printed. While there are many options to choose from, my absolute favorite is Moo.com because their quality and customer service is outstanding.

Not only that, but they have almost every collateral piece you could possibly need, and offer a great amount of customization so that every aspect of your printed collateral matches your brand. For your next printing project, use this link for 25% off your first order

Want to save yourself the time and trouble of finding a collateral designer yourself?

I've already done the work for you! I've literally searched the globe and interviewed hundreds of candidates to find the best designers out there. When you work with me and my team, we have your back!

Foundational Brand Collateral comes standard for my 1:1 branding and website clients. If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level through beautiful design and collateral, check out the ways we can work together at this link.