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The purpose of stationery items such as business cards and letterhead paper are easy to understand, but when you get into the realm of items such as leaflets, flyers and brochures the waters get a bit more murky. There’s a huge variety of printed advertising and marketing materials available, and the best purpose for each kind isn’t necessarily intuitive. With that in mind, here’s a reference guide to help you decide what materials will best fit the needs of your business or advertising strategy.

Business Stationery

There’s not as much call for business stationery these days, when everything from orders and receipts to letters and memos can be sent via email and other digital methods, but still there are a few items of business stationery that virtually every business should still be using.

·       Business Cards: virtually all businesses and sole traders benefit from using business cards. They’re perfect for handing out to clients, for networking at professional and social events, and for other situations where you need to provide contact information.

·       Letterhead Stationery: even if your business doesn’t send out many letters, keeping a small stock of A4 and envelopes with your own letterhead is a quick and easy way to signal professionalism in all your business communications.

·       Compliments Slips: similar to letterhead stationery, typically A6 size, compliments slips are great for adding messages when a formal letter isn’t required.

Advertising Materials

Many people think of these printed advertising materials as being somewhat interchangeable, but that’s definitely not the case. The purpose of brochures and pamphlets is quite different from that of leaflets and flyers, and different again from that of newsletters. Print ads are something else entirely of course, and have their own unique purpose too.

·       Leaflets and Flyers: these single-page materials are typically A4, A5, or A6 in size depending on requirements, and they have a wide range of uses. Along with brochures and pamphlets they’re useful for providing quick information in waiting rooms or reception areas, handing out to customers with their purchases, or providing to people who make enquiries.

·       Brochures and Pamphlets: these larger format items can pack a lot of information into a relatively small space, so they’re ideal for providing detailed information on products or services or even on your business as a whole. Provide them at reception or the front desk area, anywhere the information may be of use, and have them to hand at exhibitions, trade shows, and other industry events.

·       Newsletters: there’s no other format more suitable for direct mail, thanks to the ability to provide plenty of information in an easy-to-read style. A newsletter can resonate particularly well with certain age groups, because their relative rarity allows them to evoke a sense of nostalgia—an emotional reaction that helps you forge a link to your customers.

·       Print Ads: online advertising may be growing in importance but there’s still lots of scope for print ads both in magazines and newspapers. This format lends itself well to advertising sales as well as simply letting people know your business exists. Choose larger format short-term print ads for sales and promotional events, and smaller longer-running adds to keep your business in the public eye.

Large Format Advertising

Large formats such as posters, banners, light boxes and other display elements are perfect when you have something important to say and want to say it in a way that gets lots of attention. These kinds of advertising are especially popular in retail shops, trade shows, and exhibitions, where getting attention is the name of the game.

·       Posters and Banners: these large format printed advertisements are perfect for use in a wide variety of locations. Use them to focus attention on specific products inside retail spaces, or use them at trade shows and exhibitions to create an eye-catching display. With plenty of space on the average poster there’s room for information and graphics, and the large format grabs attention from a distance and makes it all easy to read.

·       Display Stands: like posters and banners, display stands are a great option for drawing attention to specific products or information both in retail spaces and at industry events. By choosing stand components with a light-weight modular design, it’s possible to create custom displays that can fit into a variety of different spaces.

·       Light Boxes: this kind of advertisement can go virtually anywhere, thanks to the protection that the box provides. They’re great for drawing attention inside retail spaces, but equally effective outdoors, outside the shop itself or elsewhere in the local area.