This is one of my first freelance projects, and it was completed for a company called AutoSpa, which was a car care and grooming business based in Roma, Queensland. For reference, when I started the project, this business was alive and running. Unfortunately, only a day before I finished the design, I had learnt that the business had gone into liquidation, therefore meaning my design wouldn’t end up being used in a professional setting. However, I ended up completing the design anyway, so I could still show off my freelance work that was completed in response to a brief from a real-world business.
The brief for this small project was simple, and it included designing a new letterhead for their company. The owner stated that he wanted one that would look better and more professional than the one he already had. Therefore, my job would be to improve upon an original letterhead and design one that would be professional, while still communicating the services that this business provides.
The process for this project was quite small and brief, as it only involved doing some conceptual research, lo-fidelity sketching, and hi-fidelity letterhead construction in Adobe Illustrator. Even though this was a small project, I still wanted to stay in the habit of sticking to a process, which is why this project has three simple stages that I followed. Considering I hadn’t designed a letterhead before, my conceptual research started with watching Linda tutorials on designing letterheads that can be used in PDFs, and Microsoft Word documents. Furthermore, I also looked at some examples of professional letterheads. In particular, I tried to specifically look at examples of businesses that do work similar to AutoSpa Australia.
The first iteration which I designed in Adobe Illustrator was fairly minimalistic, making use of only the logo, and some icons for the phone number, email address, and social media links. The concept behind this iteration is that I wanted to match the icons and footer margin with the colours in the logo, which mainly consists of blue and white. One of the main problems I had with this iteration was the social media icons, and the fact that the letterhead looked too minimalistic to me. Firstly, when compared with the rest of the page, I believed the social media icons to be too bold, especially with the shade of blue that had been used. Furthermore, after thinking about it twice, and comparing it to my contextual research, I decided that putting social media links in a letterhead was probably unnecessary anyway, considering I already had an email address, physical address, and phone number for the user to refer to if they were receiving a letter from this company. Secondly, I thought the letterhead looked too minimalistic mostly because of how big the logo was at the top of the page. Because the AutoSpa logo is naturally overpowering because of its bold colours and large, circular typeface, I realised that it was taking away from everything else on the page. To fix this, the solution would be to either make the logo smaller at the top of the page, add some more colour around the margins, or both. I decided to do both, adding more colour around the margins, and making the logo smaller. In addition, I decided to take out the social media icons and links, making more room for the phone number, email address, and physical address at the bottom of the page.
The final iteration of the letterhead design took on my own personal criticism that I had on the first iteration, and used it to make it much better in my opinion. The noticeable changes in this final design is that I made the logo smaller and centred it better at the top. I also took away the social media icons (Facebook and Instagram) and links, and re-designed the icons for the phone number, email address, and physical address, so that it more suited the logo, and the company it is representing. To add on, I also added a margin line at the top of the page, sitting between the logo and the body text. I did this because I believe it frames the body text better for the person reading it. Finally, I also added some blue columns to the outside of the page, simply to add some colour and make it look more professional. Figures 5 below shows the final iteration in Adobe Illustrator, and figure 6 shows what the final product would look like in real life, with placeholder text. Overall, even though the final product can’t be used considering the business went into liquidation just before the design was completed, I believe I have created a professional letterhead that reflects the business I have designed for, and their values and services.