Customers tend to trust print media considerably more than digital; in fact, studies show that consumers trust print ads 34% more than those found on search engines. This makes print a powerful tool for your marketing initiatives that shouldn’t be overlooked. However, for print marketing materials to be truly useful, they have to grab the audience’s attention and stand out from the competition.
You don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel to create print marketing collateral that stands out. All it takes is one unique idea—something to make a design distinctly your own.
Here are 7 tips and trends you can implement to take your print marketing strategy to the next level.
1. Experiment With Texture
People are more likely to recall an experience that engages multiple senses at once. In digital design, “texture” refers only to the visual patterns in an image—but in print, it’s often something the recipient can reach out and touch. Naturally, this works best when working in a medium that the audience is likely to hold with their hands, like a folder or brochure (as opposed to a poster).
The easiest way to give your piece a unique tactile quality is to choose a textured stock, such as felt, vellum, or linen. Certain imprint methods can also be used to add a tactile element. With embossing and debossing, your design is imprinted directly into the stock (either raised or depressed) for a look that’s visually subtle, but encourages tactile interaction. Embossing and debossing can be combined with other imprint methods, as well; “foil embossed” designs are especially popular.
Image Credit: Maya Liepaz
If you want to add substantial interest to your design, ask your printer about the best stock and imprint method options for achieving the effect you’re going for. Take a look at some examples of texture in design to inspire new ideas.
2. Get Creative With Typography
Choosing typefaces is a delicate art; any fonts you choose need to be legible, but they should also convey the tone and personality you’re trying to express. Don’t go for the default, “old standby” fonts just because they’re popular and readable. Browse font inspiration sites such as Typewolf or Fonts in Use to see examples of typefaces in action and get a sense of what else is out there. If you see a font you really like but don’t know the name of, use a font identification tool such as the one provided by FontSquirrel to track it down (or at least find one that closely matches the look you want).
Image Credit: Luke Freeman
3. Try a Unique Die-Cut Shape
When you picture a postcard, leaflet, or other pieces of printed marketing collateral in your mind, what shape is it? Chances are it’s a rectangle, and that’s because few marketing materials are very original in terms of shape. That presents a prime opportunity for you to create better marketing collateral and stand out by choosing a die cut that’s off the beaten path. Try cutting your collateral into a circle, an abstract form, or an object closely related to your business—for instance, a real estate business might send out house-shaped postcards.
Even if you don’t go with a shape that’s completely revolutionary, there are plenty of ways to make the form of your presentation materials stand out. Often, all it takes is something slightly out of the ordinary, like a die-cut window, an unusually shaped tab or flap, or an extra pocket. It’s the little things like this that make your presentation folders, binders, envelopes and other marketing materials truly exceptional and noteworthy. Don’t just buy the first piece you see; invest some time into exploring the various options available to you.
Image Credit: CompanyFolders.com
4. Employ Color Psychology
Whether you want them to or not, the colors you include in your design can have a dramatic effect on the emotional state of the people who look at it. Warm colors like red, orange and yellow create a feeling of passion and energy, as well as stoke the viewer’s appetite. Cooler colors like blue and green, on the other hand, evoke a sense of safety, security, and serenity.
When designing a printed piece, there’s a fair chance that it will use the business’s brand colors. If there’s any wiggle room, however, you’ll want to make sure you fully understand color psychology before making any particular hue a central element of your design.
5. Accentuate the Call to Action
Without a persuasive call to action, you’re relying on your recipient’s personal initiative to take the desired action—and that’s probably not a chance you can afford to tale. Not every piece of print marketing will include a call to action, but if it does, it may well be the most important part of the design.
Make sure that it’s not only written in a compelling way but also highlighted within the layout of your marketing collateral. You can do this by modifying the type (making it bold, underlined, or a unique color) or by adding other elements that accentuate the relevant text (like an outline or a splash of background color).
Source: Burton Creative
6. Localize Your Marketing Collateral to Your Audience
People are more responsive when they feel they’re being spoken to, not at. If you have the opportunity, including your recipient’s name directly on the collateral is a good way to get their attention. Of course, that’s not always an option.
What might be more feasible, however, is tailoring your marketing campaign to the audience it’s aimed at. If you’re targeting a campaign to a specific region, try including images of landmarks or cultural references specific to that area. Make sure you’ve done your research well; this technique will backfire if you get a reference wrong and people just end up seeing you as a phony.
7. Connect Print With Digital
With social media seemingly dominating the modern marketing landscape, it’s not a bad idea to seek out opportunities for your print and digital campaigns to intersect. One simple way to achieve this is to include details about the business’s social media presence in your printed collateral. Simply including icons for the sites where you maintain a presence is a good start, but again, you’ll be relying on your audience’s initiative to search you out. If you have room for it, consider at least including a URL or username to help them find you.
Alternatively, include a QR code in your collateral’s design. These will only be useful if the recipient has a smartphone on hand, but it’s a simple and largely unobtrusive way to connect them to your digital presence. Printing QR codes does require a few specific considerations, so make sure you keep those in mind as you plan your design.
With proper planning, print materials can play a vital role in any successful marketing plan. The trick is to find some way to set yourself apart, whether that’s a unique material, an offbeat shape, or a truly creative visual design.
Do you have more tips or ideas on how to enhance printed marketing materials? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Max is a SaaS enthusiast and loves actionable content that provides direct value.