These days, personal branding is a must. It’s how you sell yourself to potential clients and employers. It’s how you set yourself apart from dozens or hundreds of other candidates with equal skills and passion. To have a truly stellar personal brand, you must not only love your work; you need to diversify the media through which you present it. Here are five reasons why print is an invaluable asset to your personal branding efforts.
Print Makes Your Work Tangible
People are more likely to remember what they see and hold than what they read on a screen. For this reason, as well as the cultural over-saturation of digital media, many people prefer holding a printed piece in their hands. Your online portfolio is great for showing off the volume of your work to a prospect with some time to spare. However, when you need to get your foot in the door quickly, a postcard or brochure of your work makes it satisfyingly tangible for the viewer. The more varied channels you go through to present yourself to prospects, the more likely they are to remember you.
Print Shows That Your Work is Versatile
Most people can’t tell from looking at a screen if the design that they’re seeing would print well. Even experienced designers still need to go into “edit mode” to check things like color contrast and image dpi before they can clear a file for its first print run. Likewise, if all of your work samples are online-only and you’re showing them to a client who relies heavily on print, you aren’t revealing all that you can do. Physical media provides unlimited creative opportunity that your prospect might never see from you otherwise.
A high-quality print piece demonstrates that you know how to optimize colors, typography, and other factors to make yourself look good on and off screen. If you’ll take that effort to make yourself look amazing, clients will know they can expect the same wow factor when they hire you for their project.
Print Keeps You Relevant
Print has definitely made a comeback from the not-long-ago days when everyone was sure it was on its way out. Between new clickable paper technologies (which promise to be a snazzier alternative to QR codes) and the success boom of printed media like The Atlantic, print has proved itself far from dead. Show that you’re aware of its enduring power by displaying some of your own media in printed form. Utilizing the strength of print, combined with your sense of the strength of your own brand, will show prospective clients how relevant you are in your market.
Print Helps Your Online Efforts Go Further
Electronic media does have this advantage over print: it makes it easier for things to go viral. When you’re starting out as a designer, exposure is one of your best friends. Therefore, what better way to get more online exposure than by using your offline efforts to direct people back to your Web presence?
It takes precious little space to add a social media handle, portfolio URL, and email address to the bottom of one of your finely-designed print pieces. This way, your printed ad serves as a teaser to lead viewers to find you online, where you can really show off your work. In this digital world, developing new and creative print ideas can take your personal branding to a higher level of professionalism — important for any designer who’s looking to build a strong reputation.
Print Gives Your Work Longevity
What kinds of communication are you likely to hang on to the longest? An email from a good friend is a nice thing to save in a folder somewhere so you can go back and read it occasionally. Realistically, though, you probably have 647 things to do whenever you turn your computer on, and it’s rare to have done everything that you meant to by the time you log off.
A letter from that same friend, though, is different. It’s not just words and a nice feeling. It’s your friend’s handwriting, the paper, the marginalia, and the crossed-out words that you can still almost read. It’s a physical marker of a particular time in your friendship, and you can pull it out whenever you want. No booting up necessary.
That feeling is akin to the kind of foothold you can get in a potential employer’s life when you have something tangible to leave behind. Print just sticks around longer than digital media (even the kind you save and fully intend to get back to. We all know how often that happens). Create a brochure that highlights your talents, or another beautiful print that your recipients will enjoy looking at. Attach business cards of exceptional quality for quick reference as well. A memorable design greatly improves your chances that they’ll save it because it’s pretty. Then when they need to hire someone in your line of work, your contact info is right there. When you can present something like this, the impression you leave behind is even better.
So how have you integrated print into your personal branding efforts? If you haven’t, have you thought about it?
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