November 13, 2019

Your cover-to-cover guide to creating a brilliant branded notebook

Designing a notebook can be a gateway to upping your brand game. From building awareness, to connecting with clients and onboarding employees, here’s everything you need to design a cover-worthy branded notebook for your business (plus, some clever ways to use them, too).

Why design a branded notebook?

Your visual identity is the shortcut people take to understanding your brand. It’s in the emotions that your colors conjure, and the spark of association a customer feels from seeing your logo. 

But building a strong identity isn’t just about finding a signature font or choosing the perfect palette, it’s about getting your brand into all aspects of your business. Big and small. 

A branded notebook can be a simple but effective way of boosting your brand identity (and even revenue) in a whole host of creative ways. Big names like RedBull and Berkshire Hathaway have already stamped their name onto a hard cover, with the real estate giant looking to make great client connections, and the drinks brand to up their employee onboarding game.

So, a branded notebook is an impressive bit of company swag, but how can you use them for your business?

What can a custom notebook bring to your business?

Before we get onto the design elements you need to consider for your own first editions, here’s some inspiration on how to use them:

1. Page turning product launches

Got a new product or service that you really want to shout about? Including the announcement in a newsletter or blog post is a great way to get the word out, but designing a notebook to give away could be a clever (and useful) way to raise awareness that won’t get lost in a customer’s inbox. 

Think about how you could design the cover to showcase the product or service you’re selling. For some inspiration, check out how LA based artist and illustrator Carolyn Suzuki used custom notebooks to promote her unique print designs to clients.

2. Useful thank yous

It’s important to consider clients when creating branded products, but what about your employees? 

Helping your people feel more connected to the brand they work for brings positives for both employer and employee, and showing appreciation for their hard work can go a long way to making them feel valued especially over busy periods and for those working in customer support roles. 

Here at MOO, we tasked our in-house designers to create some bespoke Hardcover Notebooks for our own customer service team during Customer Service Week. It was our way of celebrating all of their hard work.

3. Memorable event takeaways

Does your business host events throughout the year? Maybe you’re a marketing agency sponsoring a conference, or a retailer showcasing their new product range ahead of the holidays. Whatever the occasion, providing some branded company swag for attendees is a great way of making sure they remember your name long after the complimentary canapés have vanished. 

Berkshire Hathaway’s California branch allow employees to order custom print products from MOO whenever they need them. This means they always have a stash of Stickers, Luxe Notecards and Cloth Cover Notebooks to take with them when meeting clients and attending events. As Judi Nield of the branch tells us, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

4. Onboarding your employees

First impressions don’t just count when meeting customers, they’re also important for new employees. Onboarding is an important part of getting new employees connected to your brand, and providing a kit full of useful stationary is a great way to get their first week off to a great start. Red Bull’s brand team told us, “All new employees get a four-day onboarding experience at our HQ, where they get acquainted with the brand.” 

When it came to designing a notebook, Red Bull echoed their iconic branding with a blue Cloth Cover, yellow inserts, and a red wayfinder, and It turns out employees can’t get enough. “Everyone wants one—I have to keep some of them hidden in my office!”

Create your own kit by including Postcards complete with your brand values, a custom branded Notebook, and some Business Cards with their new title and name for an extra personal touch.

5. Securing leads from trade shows

Trade shows and events are a competitive space, with lots of different brands competing for the attendees attention and once they have it meaningful conversations. A study by Marketing Week found that of attendees surveyed, more than 80% of leads collected at trade show received a follow up from the businesses they interacted with. 

Sending an email might be your first instinct, but gifting a branded notebook is an even more thoughtful and memorable way to say you’d like to stay in touch. Plus, a carefully considered design is a sure-fire way to show you take your brand seriously.

Top tip: Include a Business Card or Postcard with a hand-written note to really personalize your gift, and don’t forget to include your contact details.

6. Create your own limited editions

Find a great design and your custom notebooks could be desirable products in their own right. 

For example, if you’re a design agency, you could collaborate with other designers on limited edition runs to sell through your company website. It’s a great way of showing clients you’re passionate about design and authoritative in the industry, and it also provides your customers with something they’ll really value.

Choosing a customized notebook

All MOO Notebooks and Journals are made with premium Munken Kristall paper, and are crafted with unique Swiss binding that gives them a perfect lay-flat design when writing.

So, which kind of branded notebook is right for your business?

Hardcover Notebooks

  • Velvety soft-touch cover
  • Print in full color on the cover, spine and back
  • Customizable heavyweight paper top sheet
  • Customize with your brand colors, photography, logo and more

Hardcover Cloth Notebooks

  • Tactile cloth cover available in 6 colors
  • Make your logo shine with  gold, silver, black or white foil
  • Call attention to your brand name with blind deboss
  • Customize with graphics, logos, text and more

Softcover Journals

  • Soft card cover available in 8 colors
  • Add tactile details with blind deboss
  • Customize with eye-catching gold, silver, black or white foil 
  • Feature your logo, brand name, graphics and more

Customizing your Notebook

Once you know the type of branded notebook that will suit your business. it’s time to get on with the fun part designing. Here are 3 simple ways to make it yours:

1. Choose your colors

Including your brand colors is a really effective way to make your custom notebook feel unmistakably connected to your brand. 

Let’s say, for example, that your dominant brand color is green, and yellow and red are your secondary colors. You could use green as the color for the cover, and include yellow and red accents in the wayfinder and centre pages.

Check out how RedBull incorporated their brand colors when it came to designing a notebook.

2. Make your logo shine

If you choose a Hardcover Cloth Notebook or Softcover Journal Notebook, one of the design elements that you can play around with is foil.

Adding a hint of shimmer is a great way to draw attention to parts of your design that you want to stand out, such as your logo or brand name. Check out how Berkshire Hathaway added an opulent shine to their branded notebooks.

3. Show what you stand for

Hardcover Notebooks come complete with a customizable top sheet, so you have an extra space to tell your brand story from the very first page.

If you’re onboarding employees, why not design the top sheet that showcases your brand values, so they’re always front of mind. 

If you’re giving out your notebooks at an event or to a new client, include a personal statement that tells those new to your brand what you’re about. Whether that’s your mission statement, your passion, or a snapshot of the brand history.

Want some inspiration how some other big names designed their branded notebooks? Check out 5 brands with cover-worthy Notebook designs

 

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