Your mission: To create a consistent brand through matching marketing materials.

If you’re just starting your brand, this is simple – watch for a post later this week talking about how to create consistency when you design new materials.

If you’re working with an existing brand, you have to start by figuring out if your printed and online materials match. Here’s the easiest way to do that.

Gather printed copies of all of your marketing materials:

  • If you’ve had things professionally printed, then this should be easy as pie.
  • If you have Word documents, PDFs or other print on demand materials, then print out a copy of this for this exercise.
  • For online materials like your website, sales pages, newsletter, Twitter page, blog and everything else, go ahead and print copies of those as well. You should be able to print from your web browser, or email program, but if you have difficulties, you may want to take a screenshot of your materials and print those.

Make sure that you catch everything!
Don’t forget your Powerpoint presentation template, your shopping cart header, your invoice template, your ebook covers – your mission here is to gather absolutely everything that your logo appears on.

Lay it all out on a big, flat surface
If you have a white sheet to use as a background, lay that down first so that you can look at everything on a clean background. Then, spread all of your materials out. The order here doesn’t matter. You just want to be able to see everything in one place.

Step back and really look at it all
Questions to ask yourself here:

  • Does one piece stick out from the others?
  • Is there a big and obvious division in style between the printed and online materials?
  • Are your colors and fonts consistent?
  • Is the layout and general placement of elements consistent?
  • Do the backgrounds and patterns match?
  • Do the photographs all have a similar look, style or feel?
  • What doesn’t match here?
  • Do all of these materials look like they come from the same company?

Bonus points: Ask someone else
Find someone and ask them to take a look at your materials with the same questions in mind. Having a different perspective can really help the process. And, you’ve probably spent a lot of time looking at your materials, so having fresh eyes look at them can be very revealing. Ask them to be brutally honest – you’re not looking for compliments on your materials, or for them to “go easy” on you – you need to know 

Super bonus points: Ask a designer
If you really want to know if your materials are consistent, gather them all up (digital files are fine) and send them off to a designer. It’s often best if you do this with an impartial designer – one who didn’t design your materials to begin with. Why? Because then you’ll get those fresh eyes to look at your materials from an outside perspective, and that will help them to see what’s not working in your family of materials.

I offer consistency consultations, where I review your materials and provide a report on how you can improve your consistency to make your marketing materials more effective and powerful.