The Corporate Identity Package Guide: What Is It & Do You Need One
However, recently I’ve noticed a new comer starting to steal some limelight in the digital marketing world. The “Corporate Identity Package” has recently gained traction among more specialized graphic and web design agencies.
Never before have I heard a product term that is both so highly intimidating and also extremely inaccessible. So here I will attempt to explain just what a corporate identity package is, who it’s for, what it’s got and why you don’t want to miss out on it.
The Break-Down: Not as Intimidating as it SeemsO
kay, the name is terrifying. Probably because graphic designers wrote it- we aren’t known for being great with words unless we get to write them with fancy brushes. Luckily a quite break down should offer some clarity:
Yuck. No one likes corporations. Even corporations don’t like calling themselves corporations. The word itself has a nasty, evil-lawyers-and-thugs connotation. But it’s actually a universal term for any business, company, organization, etc. In this case, corporate just refers to a group of people associated together for one or more specific goals.
This is one heck of a word. Check out our self-indulgent discussion of brand and what it means if you’re as much of a marketing nerd as I am.
I’ll try to keep it brief here: identity refers to “how we identify” as humans and as groups. I’ll explain like this. Imagine a business. Okay, now stop! What is the very first thing that pops in your head? Is it men in suits? Big buildings?
Or do you see your favorite hair stylist, your dentist, the barista at your favorite coffee shop? If it’s the latter, we should all take a page from those companies’ books. The fact is, they’ve managed to identify as relevant humans to you, their customer, with specific goals, values and reputation.
Identity refers to how people see your organization, and how it sees itself. How you present your goods and/or services and what you stand for. As Bernadette Jiwa phrases it, “We don’t buy things, we buy the story those things enable us to tell ourselves about who we are and what matters to us.”
Identity is that story.
Finally a straightforward one! Usually when agencies or designers offer packages, it simply means a bundle of services. In reality, most services are “packages.” Website design, for instance, usually involves design services, optimization, SEO etc…
In this case, a brand identity package ideally includes all the goods and services you need to craft your business presentation (skip to the particulars here).
Is a “Corporate Identity Package” Just For Corporations?Nope! Recall that corporate is really just a fancy term for organization, commercial or not. A faith-based or non-profit organization can benefit just as much as your classic brick-and-mortar establishment.
That’s because corporate identity design is not built to “sell stuff.” It’s built to share stories, information, and the reason for being. This is vital to communicate, no matter if you’re a small business owner, volunteer, or high powered CEO.
What Do These Packages Typically Include?Okay, I’ve been a little abstract with you. I promise from here we’ll be digging into the specifics. The following information is gathered from a comprehensive analysis of current offerings from mostly US graphic and web designers. Check out this Hongkiat report for a great visual representation.
A typical corporate identity package will almost universally include the following:
1.) Business Logo Design
The mainstay of corporate identity. Almost all corporate identity packages will offer creation or redesign/enhancement of your current logo.
2.) Business Card Design
The world is moving faster and faster to a fully online reality. But it isn’t there yet. And often times, a physical card on someone’s desk is much more powerful than an email in their bursting inbox. In fact, on average sales increase by 2.5% for every 2000 cards passed out (most packages will include at least 5000).
3.) Print Design
Use custom letter head and stationery to pull everything from an invoice to a sales letter into a cohesive visual whole.
4.) Web Design
These services are a little more varied, however if a designer’s package doesn’t include them, they can usually be added a la carte.
5.) Social Media Design
Profile images, cover images, and background/descriptions.
6.) Email Signature & Newsletter Custom Template Design
(A quick note: this is not to say the designer will actually write the email or newsletter- words are often not our preferred medium- but they will create the consistent look and feel for all your online correspondence)
7.) Other Print Design
Including such useful items like creative folders, envelopes, pencils or even CD printing!
Okay, this one doesn’t really deserve its own bullet point. Personally, I’m very skeptical of the marketing power of custom kitchenware… then again giving a mug to a favorite employee or client cannot hurt a marketing campaign. Because seriously, who doesn’t like mugs?
4 Signs You Probably Need OneHopefully the gist of a corporate identity package is clear now. You likely already have some idea as to whether or not your organization needs one.
Here’s four indications that you should read further:
1.) I don’t have a brand guide.
Another term that sounds fancy but isn’t really. A “brand guide” is simply a set of guide lines for artists and writers explaining how you want to present your brand to the world. It can be as detailed as font types and colors, or as broad as company values and mission statements.
Not having one usually indicates that your image is not consistent across channels. Would someone looking at an invoice recognize the sender from your business card? Does the website flow seamlessly with the brochures or logo? If not, a package might be what you’re after.
2.) I’m a start-up.
You’re also many designers’ most favorite type of client. You are a clean slate, and new enough to the market that most branding has yet to truly begin. This gives the designer much more freedom to create all the components you need, properly and correctly, the first time.
Keep in mind, however, that as a new business, you probably don’t need quite all the bells and whistles of a more established firm.
3.) I’m not happy with my brand/current materials/level of awareness.
Of course everyone wants to see their organization grow and flourish. There’s always room for improvement. But if you feel you’re stagnating, it may be because you are not generating enough leads, closing enough clients, retaining current clients, etc…
If so, a rebranding or strengthening of your current brand may be the solution you need. In the most extreme cases, you can conduct current analysis and reinvent yourself to become the most valuable solution to your current and prospective clients.
4.) I want a new logo.
A new logo is a huge step for currently established brands. It is likely already on most of your promotional material and online presence. And if they were designed well, the colors, fonts, shapes and composition of the old logo are all over everything. If you want to shift your identity while maintaining consistency, more than just the logo will need to change.
2 Signs That Mean You Probably Don’t Need to BotherThe key here is that these are package deals. Certain components can often be substituted, but in the end it is a multi-project deliverable, hopefully at a lower price than each individual design combined. Depending on what you need and where you want to be, it might be overkill.
1.) I want a new brochure/business card/letter head, etc…
Unlike the logo, these are fairly easy to redesign and reproduce. The brand guidelines are already there, it is simply a matter of addressing the issues and creating a superior- yet consistent- product. There’s no need to change everything else in the process too.
2.) I need to update/redesign my website.
Websites are this weird combination of business card, brochure and online hub for all your content and info. If you are primarily interested in an updated web design, using the same logo and brand guidelines, it may be in your best interest not to purchase a full corporate identity package. Instead, I recommend finding an experienced designer and begin a focused website design project.
Ihope there’s been enough information in here to help you make a decision to pass on pursue a corporate identity package for your business. If it’s the later, here’s a few words of advice to help you find a designer (or agency) that will best suit your needs.
These days, there is virtually no type of information you cannot send over an internet connection. This is a huge advantage to designers, as we can send and receive visual as well as textual information in milliseconds.
However, nothing quite beats a face to face interaction. If your situation permits, I highly recommend looking up your local talent before moving afield. The advantages are two-fold:
First, people generally live in communities with other similar people. Trying to explain a visual aesthetic with words is hard enough. Similar culture and business expectations can help facilitate this communication.
Second, technology is only as good as the person using it. Time pressed individuals are often unable to check their email or dropbox every hour for each of your edits. And if they do, they may have clarifying questions that draw out the communication process further. Walking into someone’s office instead gives you full access to immediate feedback.
Agency or Freelancer?
As a current agency employee and previous freelancer, I’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly of both. The type of designer you need is quite dependent on just that- your needs. Here is a quick rundown of which may be best suited to you:
You need a freelancers or small agency if…
- The project is relatively small (4-8 designs)
- There is an official Brand Guide to Follow
- The designer(s) is/are local
- You are not pressed for time
You need a mid-sized to large agency if…
- The project is relatively large/ has a lot of moving parts
- Your brand is established and requires a full reinvention
- You are on a tight time table
Best of luck! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or shoot me an email.