Business Stationery Design: Building Your Brand

We talked recently about your logo being just the tip of the branding iceberg, and I wanted to give you a graphical example of how important all of your branding materials, in addition to the logo, are.

You might think that once you have a logo, you have a brand. Not so! As you can see from our early business stationery design explorations, Aeolidia could have been very different, even keeping the same logo.

We decided on our logo (it was hard work, as you can see here!), and then set to work making the whole brand come to life, starting with our business stationery.

These ideas were too feminine

The following two ideas were striking and beautiful, but I ultimately nixed them for being too feminine and too mainstream for Aeolidia. The splots, on the left, are so dear, and remind me of ocean life. The coral, while elegant, was just too elegant, and gave me too much of a “sophisticated older woman’s desk set” vibe. Ha ha, or is that just me?!

Aeolidia stationery design


Colors will change the tone

With the mission to make the design more gender-neutral, Mariah came up with the waves pattern, which was an instant winner! Even after nailing down the logo, pattern, and basic design, we found that changing the colors a bit gave an entirely different feel. Below is the first waves idea, and then a version where Mariah altered it to use a crisp navy – so different!

Aeolidia stationery design

We settled on a soft charcoal grey on cream, but you can see that just switching cream envelopes for charcoal, below, makes a difference in how luxurious and unique the stationery feels.

Aeolidia business stationery designAeolidia business stationery design


Approved stationery designs

We decided that the charcoal envelopes made the look, and below are the designs we sent to the printers. These are a great mix of feminine and masculine, with the colors providing a “hint of history,” as Sarah described it.

Aeolidia business stationery design

Here we have business cards, custom printed pencils, thank you cards, pattern-lined envelopes, metallic gold badge stickers, return address labels, and a little metal badge gift for our clients.

The package just came from Mama’s Sauce with all this stuff in it, and I almost swooned! I’ll show you photos of our print design once we have them ready. As always, get in touch with us if you could use some work on your brand presentation.

Oh, and hey! I’ve been sharing this kind of stuff on our newly revitalized Instagram account!. Please follow Aeolidia on Instagram. I’d really appreciate it! I’ve been neglecting that one for so long that we hardly have any friends on there. Come keep me company, and see some peeks at what our stationery looks like in real life.

About the Author

Arianne Foulks is a popular educator and small business enthusiast. As a champion for creative brands, she has a 15+ year reputation for thoughtful redesigns that help businesses level up. She loves having a problem to solve, and has focused throughout her career on building online homes for fascinating people. She is raising boys, will walk any distance, always has a pile of novels by her bed, and was once bitten by an elephant seal.

View more articles written by Arianne >

  1. Aeolidia I think your new branding is really eye-catching. Love the charcoal envelopes.

  2. I’m swooning with you…this is beautiful. I have to say that I am curious as to how much actual letter writing/snail mail you really do. Didn’t think there were too many of us out there still these days. Congratulations! I’m a huge fan –

    • Thank you, Karen!

      I rarely send letters, so I turned down Mariah’s beautiful letterhead design. It was going to cost a lot to print, and just gather dust, alas! You’ll see letterhead didn’t make it into the final designs.

      We do send (hand-written) thank you cards out to each of our clients, so that’s the cards and envelopes. We went with postcards for those. We are also working on a welcome kit and a thank you gift. Super exciting!

      • It really is exciting…this is the fun part of brand-building, at least for me it is. I fully believe in the power of hand-written communication. I send out sample packages to prospective customers and include a hand-written note with each package. I continue to be amazed by how many people end up wanting to work with me based solely on the fact that I took the time to find out their name, spelled it correctly, and wrote them a note about me, my company, my products and why I think they would be a good fit for their store. I also love the fact that you’re working on ways to thank your clients. These are the actions that matter and will be remembered. We actually send out thank you gifts for a handful of attorneys, realtors and a mortgage lender, and they always say that the thank you gifts are the best referrals for new business. I admire you and your company…I really do. Well done.

  3. Looks amazing! I’m curious about the content change on your new business cards. On the earlier version it’s longer, but quite catchy. Why did you edit it down?

    I love the new look, and especially because it’s beautifully rooted in the older branding!

    • I’m surprised you remember the old one! I decided that business cards are almost always going to be given to people with some frame of reference, so they didn’t need that much stuff on them. Either I will be handing them out in person or a client will be referring us to someone.

  4. I didn’t remember, I can see it in a pic from post. hee hee

  5. Jenna says,

    Impressive! Do pass along to Mariah that I do love love love love the wave design!

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