You’d be surprised by how often we are asked by our branding clients whether or not to get official letterhead printed, or whether using a digital letterhead is enough. There’s no question about it, in this day and age, there is no reason why your firm shouldn’t at least be using digital letterhead. Every law firm uses letterhead in some form, whether printed or digital. To confuse matters, digital letterhead can also be printed. However, it’s not an either/or situation: digital letterhead is definitely a must. It is a very cheap and targeted form of brand reinforcement for your firm, plus it adds a level of professionalism and brand consistency to your correspondence that once set up, is almost maintenance free. So what is the difference between print and digital?
Digital letterhead is a template that is designed and set up in your word processor, typically MS Word, with your firm-logo/graphics and firm address built into the header and/or footer. This allows your lawyers and staff to send official communications via email while maintaining brand recognition and consistency. Of course, digital letterhead can be printed by whoever receives the document, but the quality of the print will be completely determined by the capabilities of the physical printer being used and whether the printing is done in black and white or in colour. The design will also be affected, as office printers are usually limited by at least a quarter inch margin, meaning your design does not have the option to bleed off the page. Make sure your designer coordinates with your IT personnel, or whoever will be using the letterhead the most, in order to ensure any technical considerations (such as office printer capabilities) are incorporated into the design while keeping the template user-friendly.
Printed letterhead, on the other hand, has been designed and taken to a professional printer who then produces the physical sheets of paper complete with firm branding. This paper is then fed into your office printer for use whenever you need to print and mail official documents. This ensures that whatever documents are sent out on official printed letterhead are as consistent with the brand, and with each other, as possible. Make sure that whatever design you come up with ties into the look and feel of your digital letterhead to maintain brand consistency.