Brand Guidelines & Colors For Promo Items

We do a lot of work with companies of all sizes. Promotional products, and particularly USB Flash Drives are so widely used that there isn’t a company that doesn’t find some application for them. Whether it is pens for the office, or giveaways for the trade show, or client gifts, businesses get their names out there with all sorts of promo items.

When companies start getting into promotional product marketing, one of the first challenges is color. This seems easy, right? If you haven’t thought about it, it’s not. Here is a scenario that is not terribly uncommon.

The Color Problem in Promo Marketing

A client calls us and wants a new custom USB design for an upcoming trade show. But, they want the colors to match the background on the banner they’ve been using for the past few years.

The color is “blue.”

If you’ve ever been paint-shopping, you know there is no color “blue” anymore. “Blue” is a family of colors. So is orange, green, yellow, red…

We inquire if they know which blue? Do they have a CMYK, or PMS, or hex color code? Often, no, they do not. But, what they can do is take a picture of the banner and email it to us.  

You know where this is going, right? Every camera “sees” and records color slightly differently. Every monitor displays color slightly (or even drastically) differently. What we see on the screen doesn’t really match the actual color on the banner.

In these cases, we do your best to find a way to match the color as closely as possible. But, there will be some variation.

Brand Guidelines

Most big businesses or well-known brands have Brand Guidelines. These tend to be long documents that detail every aspect of the brand’s color, fonts, logo, placements, context, etc. If you have a question about how a logo can be used, the answer is in the brand guidelines.

The  One-Page Brand Guidelines

But, Brand Guidelines aren’t just for the big players, and certainly, don’t have to be overly elaborate or long. For small companies, a one-page document that has a few basic elements can make executing your marketing much easier.

What Goes Into Brand Guidelines?

  1. Your Colors. The primary color and secondary colors. Use both examples and the PMS, CMYK, RGB, Hex values.
  2. Your Font. It doesn’t have to be a fancy or custom font. You are looking for consistency once you’ve selected it.
  3. Your Logo and its variations. You may have a logo that incorporates your name, and an icon or mark. Show how these can look if separated (some applications are not large enough for an entire logo)
  4. Taglines. These can change but set a tone for your communications.

Using Brand Guidelines

Brand Guidelines make communicating with vendors much easier. If your banner background color was properly selected, it would be one of your brand’s secondary colors. You wouldn’t have to try to match it, nor dig for paperwork to see if you can find the instructions for the original print production job. It is consistent. All you need to do is let the promotional product vendor know what the PMS code (or other) is.

But, it goes well beyond color. Your logo file is all set, along with how it can be displayed on the item. Tagline(s) are ready to go, and you know what font to use. By creating a simple one-page Brand Guidelines document, you can quickly share your specs with marketing vendors and get on with your other tasks.

9 Essential Employee Engagement Survey Questions

9 Essential Employee Engagement Survey Questions

Are your employees enthusiastic about working in your office? Do they take ownership of their roles? Are they actively involved in your company’s success? One of the most effective marketing tools you have is an engaged employee base. Customers respond better to happy employees, stay longer and are more loyal. However…

According to a recent Gallup poll, your employees are probably not.

Only 33% of US employees report being engaged at work. Low engagement leads to decreased productivity and increased turnover. In other words, how engaged your employees are can significantly affect your bottom line.

But how do you know if your employees are engaged? The easiest way to determine employee engagement is through carefully selected employee engagement survey questions.

What does it mean to be engaged?

Engagement and happiness are not necessarily the same thing. Although employee happiness is extremely important, you can have a happy employee who’s not very engaged. They come in, do their job without complaint, and go home.

Engaged workers do tend to be happier than disengaged workers, but it goes beyond that. Engaged employees are absorbed in their work. They’re enthusiastic about what they do. They take pride in actively helping their company succeed.

Here are 9 employee engagement survey questions to help you determine just how engaged your workers really are.

How satisfied are you at work?

Workers who aren’t satisfied are less likely to be engaged. Get right to the heart of the matter by asking your employees if they’re satisfied with their jobs.

Include a rating scale (“Very satisfied”, “Somewhat satisfied”, etc.) to determine the exact level of satisfaction. Consider including a place for workers to leave open-ended comments if they respond with anything less than “Somewhat satisfied”.

How likely are you to refer someone to work here?

When you’re excited about a new movie you just saw, or an amazing meal you just ate, you want to tell everyone you know about it so they can try it too, right?

The same goes for the company you work for. If someone isn’t happy with their job or doesn’t feel a connection to their employer? Well, then they aren’t very likely to tell a friend about a job opening at their company.

Do you feel like your work is appreciated?

Unfortunately, only 21% of employees report feeling strongly valued at work. That low number suggests that not enough leaders are praising their workers, which can lead to low levels of engagement.

If you find out that your employees don’t feel appreciated, consider coaching your leaders to provide regular recognition.

Do you feel respected?

Creating a culture of mutual respect means that employees feel valued by both leaders and coworkers. If you discover that there’s a lack of respect in your organization, that could be a large component of disengagement.

Consider things like team-building activities, coaching on diversity and conflict resolution. This creates a culture of respect.

Do leaders acknowledge your feedback?

It’s one thing to ask people to share their opinions. It’s another thing entirely to take that feedback seriously and actually do something about it.

When workers open up to their leaders but are ignored, it creates an environment of negativity and distrust. But when leaders can show employees they’re taking their insight seriously? Then it opens the lines of communication and engagement.

Do you feel your work directly impacts the business?

Do your employees feel like their work makes a difference to the company’s bottom line? If not, they may wonder why they’re even there.

To increase engagement, ensure your employees understand how their role relates to your organization’s goals and impacts the business.

Where do you see yourself in 1 year? 5 years?

If your employees don’t see themselves growing and evolving within your company over the next few years, you have a problem.

Determining that your employees have no plans to stick around could have a huge impact on engagement.

Are you proud to work here?

Do they hem and haw when someone asks them where they work? Or do they proudly announce your company’s name?

If it’s the former, determine what it is about your company that’s making employees feel that way, then consider what improvements you can make within your organization to change it.

Do you feel supported by your team?

Feeling engaged in the workplace goes beyond just how people feel about their leaders and company. It also includes peer relationships.

If employees don’t feel like their team members support them, their engagement is sure to drop. That could also indicate a larger issue within your culture that needs to be addressed.

What do I do with the employee engagement survey questions?

Sending out these survey questions once is a great start, but it’s not enough. At the very least, you’ll need to send it out several times, although we recommend making this a regular habit.

First, use the responses to analyze how engaged workers are now. Then, put a plan in place to address areas of low engagement. Then, by surveying them at regular intervals, you can see how engaged they are several months from now. This helps to determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Keep in mind that solutions are often not about giving a gift, or providing an award once a month or once a quarter. Employees often cite lack of processes and systems to support their work. For instance, with some of our promotional product clients, we see that upper management will not plan ahead for tradeshows. Rather than invest in promotional items at the beginning of the year, they hold funds on quarterly or even monthly basis. The front line employees then have to go through the procurement process 4 to 12 times a year. While a small example, these little instances add up.

If you are willing to look at systems and processes as well as awards, recognitions, and incentives, you will find more ways to help your employees and it won’t be long before you see your employees’ engagement levels increase.

Neat Twist to the Custom USB Flash Drive

When we work with clients to a design Custom USB flash drive, we normally look at imprinting or etching the design on the material. This works well. But, with Baby Face Portraits, we had a neat opportunity to use printed label stickers.

The process of applying stickers works a best when the flash drive shape has a flat surface, in this case somewhat recessed. This particular design was full color process and included nuances of shape, lines and colors.



As the surface is twisted, the USB Flash Drive extends from the side of the unit. This protects the flash drive when not in use and makes it very convenient to carry.

Baby Face Portraits uses the custom USB flash drive to share the image files with their customers. It is a great way to ensure the images are continually associated with the company, and adds some extra value to their customers who can use the flash drive for purposes in addition to storing the image files.

See why USB Credit Card Flash Drives are a best seller

Credit card usb flash drives are among our best sellers. The attraction is the versatility of the credit card shape. With the large flat surface, nearly anything can be imprinted.

The three styles are the  metallic usb flash drive,  the click card usb and the flipper credit card usb. With the click card flash drive, the usb slides out of the card, and then ‘clicks’ back into it for safe keeping. With the flipper, the usb drive remains connected to the card, and simply ‘flips’ the usb out and then flips it back in. The metallic is… well, metallic.

Our customers have used these flash drives in some really creative ways. While it has nearly always involved sharing information, you can see how the medium becomes the message with the credit card flash drive’s large imprint area.

Examples of USB Credit Card Flash Drives

Citizen, ever the classic watch really says fashion with the way the artwork applied. This is a full color print on a white body.


citizen usb credit card flash drive

IBIS really made their credit card usb stand out with deep contrast of blue on white. This really took advantage of full color printing on the white body to make the creative pop.

IBIS credit card flash drive

IBIS credit card flash drive

The x-lite creative tells you what the product is. If your product is not well understood or know, using the creative to communicate what you do is key. X-lite does this phenomenally well with their flash drive creative.


xlite usb credit card flash drive

There is something about a metal surface the implies strength. Shake The Nation used this to its fullest with the credit card usb flash drive.

Shake the Nation credit card flash drive

Shake the Nation credit card flash drive

Photography reproduces very well on on the body of the flash drive. On this example the Littleton/englewood credit card usb applies four photos and all look really sharp. On the opposite side, they provide a wealth of contact information in addition to the files saved onto the drive itself.

city of littleton-englewood-full color print-usb credit card

city of littleton-englewood-full color print-usb credit card

The Terri Lynne foundation makes a striking impression for their charity event. This credit card flash drive used deep red to stand out.


Terri lLynne child foundation-credit card-flash drive

Terri Lynne Child Care foundation-credit card-flash drive

Finally, simple can also be impactful. This World Bank associated charity is clear on the association and the purpose with simple artwork and copy.


The World Bank- Poverty Lab - credit card usb

The World Bank- Poverty Lab – credit card usb

For creativity, the credit card usb flash drive  really can’t be beat. If you are interested in a project with the credit card usb flash drive Contact us,  we’d love to work with you.