What PS4, Xbox One, and iOS7 can teach us about print design.
There’s been some good and bad talk about the design of some new products coming out. iOS7, Playstation 4, and Xbox One all have very modern and sleek designs… almost to a fault.
Particularly, iOS7 and Xbox One have been criticized for taking such minimalist approaches, that there’s nothing really about them that sets them apart from the competition. Both have been applauded for putting function over form. It’s not all positive though. iOS7 for instance has shaken of the skeoumorph leather and other real life visual cues but at the expense of interesting visuals and too much empty space. Additionally, theXbox One’s physical design is a very clean and sleek black box, however, criticism has started that it is just too plain. There’s nothing about it that says Xbox, just another black box near the television. Learning from Apple and Microsoft, print designers can try to keep their work clean and organized, while learning from the mistakes, not letting it become boring or providing too few design cues.
Meanwhile, Playstation 4 is very clearly a Playstation. It follows after the Playstation 3’s basic lines, but modernizes it. Sony has minimized the impact of the styling to fit in visually with users’ home theaters, but still has a dynamic shape from certain angles. There is criticism that the box is still catering to the stereo typical gamer, young males, by looking like something out of a science fiction movie. As the gaming community changes into a more diverse one, Sony may be trying a bit too hard to appease the traditional gaming demographic. Print designers will want to take heed. When designing print work, can you balance clean, minimal design with thought provoking and interesting design? Print designers might seek to balance the need to appeal to your existing customer base and expand your customer base past the traditional norms.
All that being said, all three tech giants are huge steps forward for modern design. Billions of people are going to be positively affected by the trends these companies have set by advocating and popularizing useful design elements. The positives and negatives will be refined in future iterations of Apple, Sony, and Microsoft’s products and other companies will adjust their designs, some of which have inspired these designs will in turn be inspired (by the good and bad).
So you have leads and customers now, you have a mailing list. Depending on the size of your mailing list and your budget, you may want to, or have to, trim the list down to size. What list will yield you the best results? Here’s some ideas Read the rest of this entry »
I want to mail to more than one area around my business can I do this? Do all of my Every Door Direct Mail postcards have to go to the same post office?
What is variable data printing?
Variable data printing is where each piece of printing is personalized for each intended recipient. Until recently, large scale full color printing was done on traditional printing presses. These presses place ink on paper using plates. Every piece printed would have exactly the same content. But if you wanted to send your contacts personalized communication, you had to send letters. Read the rest of this entry »
What do you need to do to make your postcard work for you?
1. Copy for your Postcard
You want something that is attention grabbing, easy to read, and clearly tells the interested parties what to do next. We’ve written about grabbing attention of readers with good headlines, clean, easy to read content, and calls to action before. You need to make sure that there’s not to much clutter. How big is the card and how much text will fit on their neatly?
Now that you have good content (in an appropriate amount), you have to layout the card itself. You want the card to look professional, this is your representation of your business to customers and you want to attract as many as possible. Customers are more likely to trust a company that looks like they have their act together. Read the rest of this entry »
Every Door Direct Mail allows you to get very low postage rates. To do this, the requirements are simple. The cards have to be bundled with facing slips and submitted with easy to create paperwork. You have to bring them directly to the post office delivering the cards, up to 5000 per post office per day, or be submitted through traditional direct mail routes by a permit holder. Finally, they have to be the proper size. This changed recently, it used to be a standard flat, but now it is a special EDDM size.
The EDDM postcards have to be:
1. Taller than 6 1/8″ on the short side
Longer than 10 1/2″ on the long side.
2. AND can’t be larger than 12″ by 15″. Read the rest of this entry »
If you read our posts about design, you’ll notice a a few key points that repeat. You want a clear message, a catchy headline and visual layout, you want to add some type of value, and you want to clearly instruct customers what they should do next if interested.
The Cusano’s Baking Company postcard does all of that. The design is clean, it blends the classic looking fonts and logo and modern layout seamlessly. They took a chance with those fonts. You’ll often here designers say script fonts are too hard to read, but they didn’t go overboard with a handwritten font, and they kept it consistent. There’s not too many fonts going on.
Of course, they put the headline on the back. You may not be able to pull that off, because headlines are usually what gets people to look. Businesses selling food don’t have that problem. The use of reds and the pictures of bread steal the show. I have to be honest, I originally picked up this postcard to look at it because of the tasty looking bread. It was before lunch, but who am I kidding? We’re always hungry around here. Read the rest of this entry »
How can a insurance agent or agency use direct mail?
We all know that sending a note or postcard to clients or potential clients can be an effective way to get them to call you and renew or sign up for a policy. Here’s something you may not know. By using professional mailing service providers, you can save almost twenty cents per mailer on postage by mailing the cards for you. All you need is to mail at least 200 letters or postcards at a time.
How does direct mail for insurance sales work?
All you have to do to get a direct mailer out for your insurance company is prepare artwork, get it printed, figure out who you want to mail to, and get them to the post office… Easy right? Wait, that’s a lot to handle when your trying to run your day to day business too. That’s why you find a printer who does the design and mailing in house. You don’t need the hassle and extra expense of dealing with all of these parts or a bunch of different companies.
Design Process – Provide them a logo and a picture, and they will design the postcard for your needs. Look at their previous designs, are they making stuff that looks bad, does it look like art work, or does it look like effectively designed, simply communicated marketing pieces? Samples are usually a good way to determine if you will get effective design. The message should be simple, an announcement, a special, some humor or information. Don’t for get the headline and call to action. Once the artist lays out the piece with your information, they will send you a “proof” which you will then review and approve or instruct them make changes to it. There’s usually 1-2 rounds of changes, and then it goes to print.
Mailing List Selection – If you have list of current customers great, this is often overlooked. You can sell them more services, saving both of you time and money. It’s also good for positive brand exposure, just reaching out to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays or some other greeting. If they feel good about you, they’re more likely to renew and refer.
If you don’t have a list that you want to target. Focus on one product, then target a group that will be most likely to respond, buy from you, and like your service. You figure this out by looking at your current customers and determining which factors are associated with their buying from you (income, home ownership, etc). If you work in a demographically homogenous area, you may want to think about skipping the list and doing Every Door Direct Mail. If your area has various income levels in small areas or high rates of renters to owners, you’ll set up some guidelines and your mailing company can help you with a list.
If you’re using a professional service for your mailing, then you’ll get the savings from printing and mailing in bulk and you completed your part. Now you can go back to calling and beating the pavement, until the leads start coming to you.
Mountain Dew recently followed a long line of companies who misused advertising to accidentally offend people. As a small business owner, you’re not concerned with big named celebrities pasts, but there are lessons to be learned from this debacle. Do you think that you can do better at reaching out to new people? We think you can. Appealing to the needs and desires of potential customers is more connected to other identifying demographics than it is to the color of their skin.
Get to know your customers and potential customers. Take the time to study the demographics, but more, start conversations with potential customers. You can’t just pitch your product with language you hear or styles a group uses. Mimicking the desired customer base’s characteristics is just as ineffective when used from economic demographics or location as it is when using race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality, it’s just not as offensive. This type of message or imagery in a video or printed postcard is going to be viewed as pandering or, worse, as mockery or ridicule. Read the rest of this entry »
Staring with a larger card for an Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign, the possibilities are infinite. What can you say? What should you say? Sometimes with a large space to fill, there is the temptation to put anything and everything on the card. However, this can be too much information for the typical consumer to process. Many advertisers fall into the trap of thinking that varying and changing their message will relieve boredom and keep buyers interested. If you study the most successful companies like Coke, Apple, or GM, you’ll see that they carefully continue to hone and craft and the same basic message over and over again. Everyone knows that Maytag stands for reliability. These companies stick to the point and drive that point home with a call to action. There is an important lesson there for EDDM marketers too.
4 Points of Good Every Door Direct Mail/EDDM Design:
1) Pick a theme or promotion for your mailing. Is it a sale, grand opening, event or particular product or service? This decision basically sets the purpose for your EDDM campaign. Making it a single purpose will be more effective than a general “brain dump” of “here we are and here’s our entire menu of products and services.” Read the rest of this entry »