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IdN Volume 24 | No 4 – Branded Stationery and Collateral

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Is it all about selling a brand or establishing an identity? And what is the difference anyway? The line that separates the two seems to be fast disappearing and many people these days would have difficulty differentiating between them.
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IdN Volume 24 | No 4: Branded Stationery and Collateral –  Much More Than Just A Minimalist Business-Card

IdN Volume 24 | No 4: Although it’s curious to think that mainly paper-based stationery still has such a large role to play in this Internet Age, it undoubtedly epitomizes that trade-off: it should look good while providing a basic amount of vital information — name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail, etc. This is where the struggle between form and content takes centre-stage.

Is it all about selling a brand or establishing an identity? And what is the difference anyway? The line that separates the two seems to be fast disappearing and many people these days would have difficulty differentiating between them. If a brand is about the relationship between a company or a product and its customers, identity could be said to be about building a memory structure around that brand through consistent, engaging artefacts that reflect a series of values.

Branded Stationery & Collateral
This stationery, be it paper and writing materials, note pads, envelopes, letterheads or, crucially, name-cards, is on the front-line of the battle to impose an attractive image, to make a memorable impact. But for it to become part of a brand, it must have a consistent theme that conveys the look and feel of the major message meant to be imparted. Every brand’s artefacts should add value to an overall concept by expanding its emotional territory.

The role of “stationery” has therefore been inexorably widened — to include identity-based collateral such as promotional items, T-shirts, smartphone cases, coffee mugs, mouse pads, cardboard tubes, USB devices and so forth. They all serve to imprint an image, reminding recipients of what you stand for or simply that you still exist. However strikingly minimalist its message, a simple name-card alone just doesn’t cut it any more.

In this issue, we have talked to 38 creatives who have designed stationery for their own and other companies. Since it is something you will almost certainly have done — and will have to do again — we think you’ll find both their comments and their work inspiring.

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