The smaller the company, the less likely there's enough budget to hire a full or even part-time graphics person. Still all companies need someone to be the gatekeeper of all public-facing publications, be they paper, electronic or digital.

Here's what most companies do in the beginning.

They hire a freelance designer to put together a basic package of marketing materials; starting with a logo and letterhead incorporated throughout sales folders, brochures, business cards, etc.

At the same time, a web designer is hired to to put together the company web site and gets a package of jpegs from the first designer to keep the look consistent online and offline.

Good start!

But, only a start.

Here's where the wheels fall off; PowerPoint presentations, fliers announcing events, a print advertisement thrown together at the last minute, etc. etc.

Employees from various departments usually think to use the company logo, but they just take it off the web site and it's not as clean as the original jpeg. They know the company colors are orange and blue and they eyeball the shades while designing a flier that will be copied off 2,000 times to be handed out at a trade show.

After a few years of this, the freelance designers are long gone. Nobody remembers who had copies of all the original art work last. The look has been copied and slightly changed so many times, there are now several looks and no consistency.

Sound familiar?

You need a graphics police, in house! I used to help small organizations put together their web sites and marketing materials. I had a constant mantra then and will repeat it now,

Someone on staff needs to be the keeper of:

- All original artwork and graphics
- All the original colors used in the brand (as in exact RGB shade and HTML color)
- The printing company that filled the first order and others that have followed since (try to find one and stick with them).
- The company hosting the company site and vital account information like the username and password to get in and make changes.
- Someone in-house needs to be trained to make basic changes to the web site (change copy, insert a picture, etc.)

In addition to that, someone on staff (perhaps the same person) needs to be the graphics police. They need the power to sign off on every PowerPoint, flier, tradeshow handout, company banner, print ad, company branded promotional giveaway, even the signage on the company vehicles.

The graphics police have only a few laws to enforce, but they're important to the success of the company brand.

1. Keep the logo, look, feel and color palette consistent across all media platforms from print to digital.
2. Make sure every tasteful opportunity to brand the company name, logo and web address is done so at all times!
3. Double check and triple check every piece of copy that is used in all those materials to make sure the grammar and spelling is perfect. Nothing looks more unprofessional than bad grammar

...though I'm sure that I am guilty of it all the time on this blog.

Do as I say and not as I do.