Rules! There are no stinkin’ rules

Okay, maybe a couple and we shall explore some here. It is coming up on back to school time and school means discipline and discipline means rules. You know, I was years and years out of college before I stopped thinking of September as the beginning of the year. For me it’s early June. Never mind, I have my reasons. Rules. Back to the rules, a fine rule to have is concept. As in, have a concept. That seems obvious but look around you, clearly it is not obvious. What do I mean by, have a concept? I mean have a firm grasp of your message, how you want it to be perceived. Let’s use an example, an un-sexy example. For whatever reason, my favorite un-sexy business is payroll companies. While I like getting paid, I just don’t find the details at all interesting. For those of you that find payroll and its endless details enthralling, bless you. All right, my payroll company is highly successful. I said it was un-sexy not un-lucrative. I need to put out oh say, an annual report. Things are great at my payroll company. I want to paint a rosy picture. I might even use this piece as a recruitment tool for talent or lure for capital. So I want to look smart, productive and worthwhile. How do I do that? Let’s start with what you don’t do. You don’t use stock photos of people. Use photos of your people. Good photos of your people doing work things, at a meeting, colleagues conferring, not making copies, not hanging around the coffee machine, not talking on the phone. Use really good quality photos; hire some one if you have to. It will be worth it. Don’t use cartoons or cartoon-y drawings. You can use drawings, if fact it could look great with drawings as a unifying concept and theme. Be sure they are strong well rendered drawings. Don’t use novelty typefaces, don’t be cute, be solid, be dependable, be some place you’d deal with or some place you’d want to work. Have an idea, think in metaphors; are you a ship who’s weathering the economic storm? Are you the wise oak that’s seen it all and perseveres? Or perhaps you are quick and modern like a computer circuit board or microchip. Develop a concept.

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