Below is a sample corporate identity design I found on flickr, probably done for inclusion in a designer’s portfolio. What I really like about it is that the logo is presented on a variety of promotional items in addition to the typical letterhead, envelope and business card. My guess is – even though snail mail is probably declining as a part of business communications and promotional product use is increasing – many companies and agencies neglect to take this into account when designing a corporate identity. In our experience, it is not uncommon to find large, sophisticated companies that have detailed branding guidelines for print and web that don’t have something similar for logo merchandise.
Because of some of the unique challenges of using various imprinting methods (e.g., pad printing, laser engraving, embroidery), on a wide variety of items of different colors, shapes and sizes, this can be a big oversight and lead to inconsistent branding. Knowing what logo you will use when you only have a small printing area (like on a pen), or can only print in one color or what thread colors most closely match the PMS values of the colors in your logo are all great things to know ahead of time. Actually designing with these in mind will help you get the best results wherever you decide to put your logo.