There is a ton of good advice on direct mail graphic design out there—but very little on the mistakes that you should avoid. We’ve collected the 10 most common mistakes you should watch out for.
Cutting Costs by Not Hiring a Professional for Direct Mail Graphic Design
Professional direct mail graphic design can mean the difference between campaign materials that rock your response rate and those that fall flat.
No one wants to spend more than necessary—and you shouldn’t! But if you want top quality in your mailer, then it is usually a good idea to use a professional designer so that you get the best results.
- UV Coating in the Addressee Area
One big consideration that many people do not think about is UV coating. Many printers may automatically apply a UV coating for protection from the sun. If the area for the addressee and recipient information has this coating, it can complicate printing individual names and addresses.
- Complicating Your Message
One common mistake that a large percentage of direct mail campaigns include is complicating the message. Marketing and advertising studies show that short and simple messages, headings, and components generally work best for direct mail.
If your product or service is complex, no problem. Break it down into its component parts for those who want to read about it. Those who don’t want to can just skip over it. After all, “The more you tell, the more you sell.”
But when it comes to stating benefits, hitting emotional hot buttons, and calling your customers to action, go simple and direct. You don’t have to treat your audience like they’re stupid (and you shouldn’t!). But don’t over-complicate things, either. Simple and direct does the job every time.
Want more great advice on writing copy? You can find advice from some of the best minds in copywrting in this copywriting article on Copyblogger.)
- Using Generic or Low Quality Images
The images that you include on your mailer will reflect on your business. If you use generic or low quality images, consumers will see these attributes in your company and products as well. You want to portray an image of quality and trust with consumers, and one way to do this is to use images that are creative, unique, and very high quality.
- Failing to Coordinate Colors
Part of any graphic design project should always be color coordination, whether you are creating a postcard mailer or a 100-page catalog.
Pick 2-3 theme colors that go well together, as opposed to many different colors. If you try to add every shade of the rainbow, you will just make the mailer look crowded 90% of the time. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are few and far between.
- Adding Too Many Font Styles and Sizes
One aspect of direct mail graphic design is your choice of font styles and sizes. You will obviously want your headings to be larger than the rest of the copy, but don’t try to add too many different styles and sizes in the same mailer.
Consistency is important here. You may want a different font for headlines & sub-headers, and another one for order forms or lift pieces. Just don’t overdo it!
- Failing to Perform a Final Proofread
Once you have all of the desired direct mail graphic design elements in place it is extremely important that you do a final proofread and check for any errors that you may have missed before. It’s easy to overlook this step when you’re ready to just get your mailing out.
But a final proofread is almost guaranteed to catch an error or two. As you know, catching these errors makes your piece look more professional and together.
- Not Taking Into Account Size & Weight from The Beginning
It’s important to take into account your mailing costs from the start. No one wants to go through the time and expense of creating a mailing piece, only to find out at the very end that it’s impractical to mail! This should be one of your first considerations, if not the first—even over direct mail graphic design!
- Becoming Too Creative (!)
There is such a thing as being “too” creative when it comes to direct mail graphic design. The issue here is that you don’t want to depart too much from what has been proven to work in the past.
You certainly want to try your own variation(s) on what works. In fact, this is what can really boost your response rate! Just make sure you stick to the basic design elements that work best in your market.
- Not Assessing the Overall Impact of All Elements Together
Once you think you have the finished direct mail graphic design that you want to use, take a step back and look at all of the individual elements combined into a whole. Each individual element may work great, but together everything could seem off or less than professional. How does your mailer look as a whole?
What direct mail graphic design mistakes have you made in the past? Let us know in the comments.
(You can also view more of our articles on graphic design if you want to know more.)