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Postcard Design Essentials

What could be more important than postcard design? Postcards are one of the most affordable and highly effective direct-mail marketing strategies. Postcards work for every industry, business to business and business to consumer. The best postcards incorporate simple, proven design techniques that attract instant attention, reinforce a message and funnel attention to an offer and call to action.

The following postcard design tips will help you take your postcard designs to the next level of profitability:

Enhance the message

The ultimate goal of your postcard design is to highlight your message to motivate your audience to take the next step in the purchasing process. Start with your headline: Make it big and bold, and contrast it against the background. Use shapes, lines, boxes, fonts, and colors to help the most important parts of your message stand out. Your design should lend a natural flow from the attention-getting headline, through features and benefits, and finally to an offer and clearly defined call to action. When someone receives your postcard, they should know in seconds why they should consider taking action; and your design and layout are crucial to this end.

Balance visuals

As with all design, white space is your friend. Resist the temptation to show off your graphic design skills with a cacophony of graphic elements if you can simply enhance the message and move on. The last thing you want is for your design, however beautiful, to distract readers’ eyes from the content. Again, your design should work to enhance and reinforce the message, so incorporate a few graphics and colors that capture your tone and style, but make sure the message is the focal point of your piece.

Don’t forget the back

Many designers waste the space on the back of the postcard, despite the fact that two-sided postcard printing is nearly as affordable as one-sided postcard printing. The logic for designing on the back of your postcard is simple: Most postal carriers insert postcards into mailboxes backside-up because that’s where the address is. This means that the back of your postcard is prime real estate for introducing your offer and/or highlighting benefits. The key? Enticing your audience to turn your postcard over and take action.

Know the rules

The U.S. Postal Service has certain rules for all direct mail, including those that pertain to your indicia and backside layout. In addition, printing and mailing companies use varying methods to address postcards, which will also affect your layout. Before you begin your postcard design, consult the post office and your printing/mailing company so you can avoid potential layout conflicts that waste time and money.

Use a template

Take advantage of free postcard layout templates to streamline the design process. Postcard templates indicate your safety area, cutlines, and bleed lines so you know that your finished postcard will look as hot off the press as it does on your computer monitor. Don’t forget to design your artwork in a resolution of at least 300 dpi for the best quality printing.

Postcards are undoubtedly one of the best ways to promote your company’s products and services, especially for small businesses with a tight marketing budget. Keep these postcard design tips in mind for a successful campaign that not only gets noticed, but achieves results.

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