Halloween Tips and Tricks for Graphic Designers

Many graphic designers love designing Halloween promotional materials, and it's easy to see why: with so many themes to experiment with it can be a lot of fun - especially if you enjoy a walk on the wild side. Halloween is one of the biggest sales seasons of the year; and because many advertisers are competing for the same markets, you need to help your clients' promotional postcards, brochures, stickers and flyers stand out against the ghoulishly keen competition.

Here are a few Halloween tips and tricks for graphic designers that will help you do just that:

Find a new haunt

Jack-o'-lanterns, skeletons, monsters, witches, vampires and werewolves - while they're favorite American icons they can get a little tired and overused by the time the Halloween marketing push draws to an end. Still, these beloved ghosts and ghouls shouldn't be ignored, since many people expect you to market with them - and to do so cleverly. To make a bigger impact, try straying from the normal colors. You could design a pumpkin using your client's logo colors, for instance; or imagine an evil witch or vampire colored like a well-known competitor.

If you're responsible for everything from postcard concept to postcard printing, you could toy with the idea of creating a new monster that represents a specific problem. If you were selling golf clubs, for instance, you could make your theme "Don't get caught by the Bogey-man."

Glow in the dark

Or at least, give that impression. Foil stamping is a great way to make your designs shine with brilliance and help your promotional pieces attract immediate attention. For that glow-in-the-dark look, you could try foil-stamped eyes against a black background.

Of course, that's not the only look you can achieve with foil stamping; the brilliant fall colors of Halloween, its characters, and its legumes add plenty of opportunities for foil-stamped accents that help your designs leap off the paper.

Carve it up

Just like pumpkins attract more attention once they become jack-o'-lanterns, your designs have a better chance of standing out if you have them die-cut. Consider die-cut printing and have your flyers cut into the shape of a jack-o'-lantern, witch, ghost, monster or other ghouls for maximum effect. You can even use this method with more serious campaigns: try subtle lines combined with clever copy to pull this one off. Even the most conservative client's printed materials will benefit from die-cutting one or more rounded corners on their designs.

Scare up sales

Halloween promotional materials should be designed to sell, not simply play with clever Halloween themes. Try to encourage your clients to offer special offers, deals, coupons and other incentives and use a clear call to action to drive their return on investments. Remember that a well-designed campaign not only brings success to your clients, it brings it to you through repeat business.

So pull out all the stops and test your Halloween design mettle this year; learn about the folklore and history of the holiday for inspiration, then go to the drawing board with a clear idea of what you want to say. Most of all, have fun and let your creativity take over for compelling designs that sell.