Thanksgiving Tips for Graphic Designers

Thanksgiving is a time for thanks, but that's not the only theme you can draw on when designing promotional materials for this all-American holiday. Whether your clients are printing a postcard or brochure, you can help them gobble up the competition with the following Thanksgiving tips and tricks for graphic designers.

Be a turkey

Turkeys are often regarded as funny birds, evident by the slew of dancing turkey e-mails everyone received last year. You can be a turkey in your graphic designs by incorporating quirky family elements such as the uncle who spends Thanksgiving sleeping in an easy chair or the aunt who just has to have kisses from all her nieces and nephews. Identifying with your target audience is the fastest way to build their trust - even if you're having a little fun with it.

Howdy, Pilgrim

The story of the Pilgrims is known by every American-born citizen, and both the historical and mythical accounts are great resources to theme your Thanksgiving designs around. Whether your client is Squanto showing their customers how to grow their hedge funds or setting the table for a plentiful feast, you'll find dozens of images, icons, props and other sources of inspiration for your designs.

Carve the turkey

One of the easiest ways to make your clients' promotional pieces stand out is through die-cut printing. Try die-cutting your flyers or stickers into the shape of a turkey, cornucopia, Pilgrim's hat or anything else associated with Thanksgiving.

Leaf colors

Fall colors are a great choice for Thanksgiving designs, because they're naturally harmonious. Deep reds, yellows, oranges and browns draw thousands to forests every year for their sheer beauty; and smart use of the same colors in your design can attract nearly as much attention.

Of course, that doesn't mean you have to stick to these colors. You could just as easily take a Thanksgiving icon such as a Pilgrim's hat and color it like your client's logo, or, even better, try contrasting a bright logo against fall colors. With a little experimentation, you might come up with something new no one has seen before - the surest way to turn heads fast.

You can also try accenting your colors with silver or gold foil stamping for an elegant appeal ink alone can't produce. In today's world of online color printing, foil stamping is inexpensive and can make the difference between the dumpster and a sale.

Don't forget the stuffing

Encourage your clients to include special offers, deals, discounts and other incentives in their printed promotional pieces for a maximum return on investment, which will make them happy and help you achieve repeat business. If their offer is better than the competition's, and your design is top-notch, you can create a compelling postcard, brochure, poster, sticker or flyer that yields big results.

Remember to draw on holiday themes, but don't be afraid to add your own creative touch to Thanksgiving marketing materials. Add a great list and powerful call to action to the mix, and you've got a recipe for a Thanksgiving marketing campaign that will have you and your clients feasting for months.