Top Ten Design Tips

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Letterhead & Business Card – My Brand

With my new logo set, I instantly began work on both the letterhead and the business card, as my experience with creating my celebrity documents gave me a bit of an advantage.

Using the same sizes of the Boris Johnson versions, I created the templates of the letterhead and card. Unlike the Boris versions of the designs, I decided to not use a double side design, as I felt that the idea of using it would be both unnecessary for my own image, as well as a cost issue due to me being just a graphic designer, and thus I would not be able to afford the same amount of ink as someone such as Boris.

The overall designs of the letterhead and business cards where much simpler than Boris’s, as I decided to go with just logo and contact details for these designs (plus a single green circle on the business card just to break up the design a little more). I did this for both the previous money reason mentioned previously, as well as to make the design a bit more similiar to the designs of examples I have seen before.

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Letterhead
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Business Card

Despite the very simplistic style of the two designs, I am quite pleased with how they have both turned out. Unlike the Boris designs I did before these two, they seem a bit more straightforward and to the point. I will go further into my thoughts within the summery.

Thumbnail Design Tests – My Brand

With a large majority of the thumbnail designs I have been creating in my book not really hitting the mark for me, I decided to move straight using illustrator for the design tests in hopes of triggering an idea from some type layout experiments by quickly using a digital platform.

I started off creating various layouts of my initials using a default typeface.

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After trying with a default typeface, I then found a very interesting typeface called “—“, which has a much more fluid style compared to some of the other typefaces available.

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Taking a very strong interest into this typefaces I decided to begin experimenting with background shapes which would add graphic to the overall design, as I did not want a just type logo. However, at this point in time, I was very worried about the possibility of over-simplifying the design of my logo and thus continued looking for options.

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Becoming a little desperate for ideas, I tried going back to something I was familiar with when creating logos, which ended up being foxes, an animal which I greatly love and felt as if it could somehow be incorporated into my design. Along with the foxes themselves, I also added a full version of my name using the type the previous attempts.

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After a brief discussion with a fellow classmate, I came to realize that I did not have to worry about a design being to simple, and that a simple design may be even more effective than a more complex one. Using this, I went back to the original designs I created and picked out my faviourt of the bunch (that being the top-left of the green circles). However, I also really like the new typeface created during my fox designs, and so I decided to bring both the main design and type together as one logo.

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Looking back now, I absolutely love how this design turned out, and simple yet attractive the design is in general, with the solid green and black type being effective on any background. I will surely use this logo within the upcoming final pieces.

Creating the Compliment Slip & Business Card

Following up with the final designs I created was the compliment slip and Business card, which thanks to the  letter head also turned up quite quickly. (Due to the simplicity and shorter creation time of these two designs, I will be discussing both of them within this post.)


For the compliment slip (as well as the business card) I first went online in order to research the average sizes for the document itself, finding them to be around 210mm x 99mm (and 180mm x 55mm). Using these measurements I was able to create the suitably sized documents.

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Using letterhead as another template for the compliment slip, I began taking the various assets of the letterhead and fitted them onto the page. I decided to swap around the placement of the banner and logo on the compliment slip as I did not want to create a carbon copy of the letterhead, and so I rearranged the assets into a more tidy layout.

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I noticed that while placing the contact details, they seem a bit too empty or alone in the corner, or possibly just out of placed due to them being open in the edge. After a little think, I decided to try and “enclose” the text by placing lines similar to the logotype to if would solidify the text, which surprisingly, it did.

After getting that out of the way I finished up the slip by placing the necessary “With compliments” quote on the lower half of the page.

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Next I moved onto the business card. This time I had a slightly different idea of what I wanted to try for the business card itself. Using the same resources from the previous two items, I started off by using the Union Jack as the background of the card. Due to the size requirement of the logo (since the text must be large enough to read), I decided that rather than try and fit it over another banner on the top/bottom, it would work better for me if I instead placed the Jack to the sides with the logo for the center.

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Next I placed the logo within the center of the flag, using a white block in order to split apart the text of the logo and the colors of the flag. I repeated this process again for the backside of the card, which has the contact details in a blank box.

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With both these formats now finished, I can now say that I have finished the celebrity side of this branding project, and am ready to go full force into my own side of branding. I shall go into detail about my thought with these results within a future post.

Creating the Letterhead – Boris Johnson

With my logo and ideas now set, I believe that it is now finally time to put my plans into action and create the final designs for my celebrity Boris, starting with the letterhead.

Using the previous prototype version of the letterhead as a template for the final design, I was able to quickly have a set layout for my letterhead off the bat, with the only notable change being the updated logo.

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After having tweaked with some of the information layout a bit, I noticed that the top of the page looks rather a bit baron, even with the logo. Thinking back to my earlier research, I realised that the best thing I could add to fix this was to add a theme-fitting banner to spruce it a bit up. Keeping with the theme of the logo, I decided that the logo would be another British flag.

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Next I felt like going even further with the design by using other features I noticed from the examples within my research. The one feature which I could remember myst however was the use of a design on the backside of the sheet, which again, keeping with the theme of the design, added in the form of a large, full-page image of the Union Jack, complete with the logo in its centre.

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With the front and back of the letterhead now finished, I know believe that I have completed the letterhead design for this part of the project. Looking at it now, I feel fairly satisfied by how well the design seems fitting to the theme of the celebrity and things such as the banner help make what could have been an empty page into something a bit more interesting and attractive.

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Letterheads, Business Cards and Compliment Slips – Research

I realised today that I have yet create a post on what the final piece(s) will become, with those being the final letterhead, the business card and finally a compliment slip. Here I will show the research that I did on what each of these products are and look like. In order to first understand what each of the 3 formats do, I looked online to read about how they are used within a business setting.


First I researched the letterhead. A letter is, in the simplest ways, a template design for a letter which can be used continuously in and out of a company. The letterhead will always have the logo of the company on the front of the page in some place or another, usually on the top, as it is the first place that the reader will look when reading the letter. A letterhead will also contain various contact details and an address for the company itself, so that the readers informed about how to contact the company as well as how to contact them.

While looking at various examples of letterheads (thanks to a Graphics Gallery book by Strathmore), I noticed that many of their designs had very simplistic or flat out empty pages that had little to no graphic design on them, or at least on the front of the page, as several examples I found had designs on the backs of the letterheads. Thinking about it, the reasoning behind this choice in design may be to conserve ink for mass printing, or simply because they left out any unnecessary design on the page, something I may need to consider when creating the final designs.


Next I looked at how businesses design their business cards. Being the format I am most familiar with, I already knew roughly how business cards are literally condensed pieces of contact and address details who are used to inform people who pick them up on how to get more information about the company or even give them a brief explanation on what the company does. Using the examples I had, I mostly found that the designs for the business cards where simple and mostly to the point, with only a small amount of design in the form of the logo or banner.

I may not fully go with this sort of design style as I typically feel as if the card should have a bit more flash than a letterhead or compliment slip (which will only be sent to clients) as it would be mass used for both clients and members of the public, and would therefore need to stick out against all the other business cards around them.


Finally I looked at what a compliment slip is and are they designed. Compliment slips, from what I found are basically slips of paper with the same information as letterheads, which are given to give enclosure to other materials given from a company. The only other difference from a letterhead they have is how they all have the quote “With compliments” or “With my/our compliments”.

This format is mostly designed in the exact same way as the letterhead, usually having a banner and logo equipped to it as well as the same contact details and address.


With this new information in mind, I now have a few more ideas which I can possibly use for my final designs, such as banners, logo placement and information of which to use.

Boris Branding Questionnaire?

Due to me having a little trouble trying to pick a suitable design for Boris’s final brand design, I have decided to do a questionnaire for the opinions of my classmates in hopes of finding a popular choice among them. I have chosen to use a questionnaire for this test as it is the most efficient way of recording a large amount of answers within a short time.

Here is the questionnaire sheet I created for this task:

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From the results I received (several shown above), the majority of answers voted for the 2nd design I created, which was the design that I was mostly leaning towards myself. Answer reasons mostly revolved around how well it depicts Boris as a British member of the Government and how recognizable he appears.

One point that someone mentioned about the appearance of Boris himself was the possibility of slightly changing the color of his skin and eyes, as they noted how is known for having “a pig-skin, red face and bright, yellow hair”. In response to this comment, I quickly tried out a new version with these points in mind, and actually noticed an improvement in the resemblance to Boris.

I am very with the result of this questionnaire as not only did I get an easy answer to my question, but I was also able to improve my design as well.