The Bridge - July 17, 2017 Print

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3 Rules for Effectively Integrating Electronic and Printed Materials

By: Bob Yamami Senior Sales Representative, All State Legal

Technology – and therefore electronic media – has taken over our lives.  It seems everywhere you go people have their heads down interacting with their phones or tablets instead of with each other.  Many have claimed that traditional printed materials are becoming extinct because of our advances in technology.

Take these statements for example:

  • 1920’s: Radio will replace print
  • 1950’s: TV will replace print
  • 1980’s: The computer will replace print
  • 1990’s: The Internet will replace print

While print media has declined, it’s obvious that these predictions did not ring true.  In fact, we are starting to see the opposite occur.  The market is turning back towards print in order to stand out more in this electronic age.  Using both print and electronic communications in an integrated marketing effort can add greater responses and return.

Learning the differences between the two and effectively coordinating them ensures the strongest branding effort and results.  However, making your electronic and print materials “match” is not exactly the answer.  There are many differences in the two mediums.  We are going to focus on just two: viewing and interacting.

Viewing Printed & Electronic Communications

One of the biggest differences between print and electronic communications is how people view them. Holding something physical in your hand — a piece of paper, a business card, a brochure — is a much different experience than viewing something on a screen.

While print and electronic communications can share the same visual look, where and how these materials are viewed play a big role in how each will be designed and used.  For example, a traditional business card has two sides that typically show contact information along with some limited additional information.  However, a digital business card can more easily expand to include a photo and links to bio pages, social and blog sites to increase engagement.

Interacting with Printed & Electronic Communications

Printed materials add a tactile level of interaction which can affect the way a person reacts to the material.  Using a textured or substantial paper stock or printing effects like engraving, embossing and foil-stamping adds to the tactile experience and increases memory.  While electronic materials cannot include traditional tactile elements, they can include additional visual aids to increase the interaction such as audio, video and other types of animation.

Interaction with printed materials is usually limited to flipping or unfolding a page.  Conversely, users can get lost clicking through links to find more information when using electronic media.

Now that we understand the differences between electronic and printed materials, let’s discuss how they can work together to brand your firm.

Rule #1 – Your Logo & Name Should Always Match Exactly

It really is the cardinal rule of branding – your logo and name should always match – no matter where they displayed.

Electronic communications are fairly easy to update and the update is immediate.  Printed materials, on the other hand, take a little longer to come to fruition. Once an item goes to the printer, it’s not going to change barring a decision to re-design and re-print, so more care is taken in proofreading, designing and updating printed materials.

While it is tempting to update or alter your logo and name in electronic formats either before or, perhaps, without updating your printed materials, your brand and business will suffer.

Picture this – one of your attorneys hands out a business card to a potential client.  The potential client then searches the firm name on the card and is presented with a site that has the same firm name, but a different logo or a similar name with different colors in the logo.  This will leave the potential client wondering, “Is this the same firm?  And if it is, if they can’t get the easiest details consistent – their own firm name and logo – how will they handle my business?”  This could potentially damage your firm’s reputation.

Do the logo and firm name on your website, blog and social media match your stationery, business cards and even billing statements?  Do they match what is printed on your announcements, invitations and brochures?  Is it the same as the email communications you send out?  Do they match your office signage? Are they the same shape and color (or an approved black and white version)?  If the answer to any of these questions is no or if you are planning to rebrand, it’s time to do a brand audit and build a plan to ensure that your materials will match.

Rule #2 – Your Materials Should Complement Each Other Visually

Your printed and electronic communication materials should visually complement each other.  Both use typography, images, shapes, lines, color, etc.  So many of the same best practices apply to each.  However, based on what we learned above, people interact differently with printed and electronic materials. Therefore the application of certain visual elements must be altered.

While your logo and firm name should be an exact match, the colors may need to be altered.  Color displays very differently in printed formats versus on a screen.  Plus, printed color may appear different based on the paper stock and print medium used.  And the color on electronic materials may vary based on the individual device’s settings for brightness, contrast, etc.  Your designer and printer can easily adjust for this to ensure a cohesive look.

The same holds true for fonts or typestyles.  For printed materials, a serif font can be more readable.  However, clean sans serif fonts are easier to read in electronic format.  Simply create standard complimentary fonts and use those consistently within each medium.

Images and other embellishments can be used consistently in each form.  For instance, if you use periods in your phone and fax numbers in print – you can do the same electronically.  And images that you use to reinforce your brand culture easily translate into both mediums.

When you review your materials, be cognizant of the answer to the questions, “Can I instantly recognize my firm?” and “Do I look different than my competitors?”.  If the answer is no, it’s time to redesign to make these items complement each other.

Rule #3 – Keep Your Message in Mind

The main difference between print and electronic materials is that print retains its form until, of course, it is reprinted.  In contrast, electronic materials, information, images and videos can change frequently.  So be sure to use each medium for the right message.

Use websites and other electronic materials for alerts, news and other information that changes regularly.  But be sure to add reference to the electronic materials in every printed piece to increase and drive readership.

Use more general information in your printed materials. This will allow these pieces to have a longer shelf life so you can print larger quantities at a lower price per piece.  Content that reinforces the permanence, culture and dedication of your firm is perfect for printed pieces.  Strategically distributed print can help spread the news about a new partner or attorney, an event or seminar or a recently-won award.  But, again, don’t forget to include short, memorable web/social media addresses to drive traffic and increase engagement with electronic content.

Use traditional business cards and digital business cards together for the greatest impact.  Printing your digital business card URL on your physical business cards will encourage engagement.  Often these are displayed with other contact information – e.g. phone, email and vcard for the digital business card.

Making it Work

In order to keep your printed and electronic materials in concert, create a brand standards manual that includes all approved logos, firm name references, colors, fonts, treatments and more.  Consult your designer and printer for help.

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Understanding Balance Sheets & Financial Statements – Oh My! Tools for the Non-Financial Manager

August 08, 2017
11:45 AM - 1:15 PM

Reed Smith, LLP
101 Second Street, Suite 1800
San Francisco, CA 94105

Join this live group webinar to obtain information that will help you better understand your firm’s financial position, help you make more informed decisions and improve your firm’s profits.

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A Business Matters Program - Emerging Technology in Legal

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ALA News



ALA’s Regional Legal Management Conferences provide identical education in two locations, and include networking opportunities and roundtables based on region. The high-caliber educational content is geared toward the needs of legal management leaders and functional specialists.

These conferences feature:

  • Insight on hot topics in today’s legal industry
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Business Partner Profile


455 Market Street, Suite 1170
SF, CA 94105
415-391-2060 (C) 510-366-1408


What is your title, the name of your firm, and how long have you been there?

CEO/President; Pathways Personnel; 21 years

How did you find your way into the position you hold with your company?

Word of mouth.  That's how things got done in 1996!

What do you love the most about your job?

Helping people better themselves professionally and the competitive nature of Recruiting.

How did you come to be a BP of the Chapter?

I heard about the organization from a client.

What are your hobbies?

Sports, movies, wine and anything my 10 year old daughter likes.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

A lawyer!

What was the greatest moment of your life?

May sound corny but it was honestly when my daughter was born.

What's on your playlist?

Anything by Train, Imagine Dragons, Cold War Kids and Meghan Trainor.

What are you reading right now? What’s your favorite book or character?  Whose your favorite author?

Stephen King: Mr. Mercedes.  The Stand.  Stephen King.

What’s your favorite app? What’s your most used app?


Describe an ideal weekend getaway for you.

Anywhere in the Napa Valley or Lake Tahoe.

What’s your favorite place outside of California?

Fort Lauderdale.

Do you collect anything?

Sports Memorabilia; Wine and Art.

What is your six-word memoir?

Nobody is the boss of me.

What don’t you have time for that you would like to pursue?

Creative writing.

What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

Tough times don't last.  Tough people do.

If you had three wishes what would they be?

To never be far from my daughter.  My wife's mom would still be alive.  Our dog would live as long as we do. 

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2017 Call for Volunteers

Association of Legal Administrators
Call for Volunteers
Apply for a Committee or Leadership Role Today

As with any association, volunteers are the heart of ALA. It is because of the dedication and expertise of more than 100 volunteer leaders that ALA is able to provide its members with the high-level education, networking opportunities and resources needed to effectively manage law firms.

ALA is looking for ambitious members who are interested in serving on one of its many committees or in a leadership role. Every position has a different level of responsibility and time commitment. Check out the various roles and activities for the standing committees, conference committees and leadership roles.


Self-nomination is not only allowed, it is encouraged! Individuals interested in serving in a volunteer role within ALA should apply by September 8.

NOTE: President-Elect and Director candidates are required to include a completed candidate questionnaire with their application.

Learn how to expedite the application process.



Do you know a member or business partner that may be interested in a volunteer role? Submit their name and contact information by July 31!

Shortly after receipt of your submission ALA will reach out to the individual with information regarding potential volunteer service and encourage submission of an application. 


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