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5 Elements of Design to Improve Your Postcards

May 22, 2014

Elements of Postcard Design

Do you need help designing direct mail postcards to promote your business? From white space to color, the most effective direct mail postcards use timeless elements of design to create the right impression with their target audience.

In this guide, we’ll share five tactics that you can use to incorporate design elements like spacing, size and color into your direct mail postcards to encourage your target audience to read, understand and respond to your promotional message.

Use size to define importance and guide readers

Size is one of the most important elements of design for marketers. Your audience will instinctively read the largest text on your postcard first, making a big, easy-to-read headline essential.

Use size to define the most important elements of your postcard and present your marketing message. Your bold, eye-catching headline should immediately explain what you’re offering, while subheadings and captions should support it.

Remember that not all recipients will read your postcard from front to back. Use a large, clearly defined headline that explains your offer’s key benefits on the address side of your postcard to make sure you connect with every recipient.

Use color and contrast to command attention

Color plays an incredibly important role in defining your product or service. People naturally associate certain colors with certain feelings: red with urgency, blue with trust, green with wealth, and so on.

Use color to your advantage by selecting a color profile that emphasizes your company’s best qualities and frames your offer in the mind of your audience. Avoid using three or more colors – focus on simple contrast between a pair of colors or shades.

Support and explain your message with subheadings

David Ogilvy, known as “The Father of Modern Advertising,” broke the text elements of an advertisement down into an interesting hierarchy. The headline was the most important element, the subheading next, and the caption and body third and fourth.

Not everyone will read your body text, but nearly everyone that reads your headline will also read your subheading and caption. Use these two pieces of text to give your readers more information and convince them to continue reading your postcard.

Headlines grab attention and copy converts, but subheadings play an equally vital role in your postcard: they bridge the gap between attention and interest. Use size, color and persuasive language to make your subheadings as effective as possible.

Use white space to help your ideas stand out

White space is one of the most powerful design elements in your toolkit. When your postcard lacks white space, readers often struggle to know where they should focus and which direction their eyes should travel in.

Do you remember the classic Volkswagen ads? These iconic advertisements used white space to guide readers from headline to image to copy. White space can be used in your postcards to achieve the same flow from one element to the next.

Define your call to action with a line or border

Mailing direct custom postcards without a call to action is like throwing money away. No matter how persuasive your copy or intriguing your offer, readers are unlikely to take action unless you guide them through the sales process by telling them what they should do.

Make your call to action stand out by underlining it, printing it in a bright color, or framing it with a border. You can also encourage a specific type of action using the right line style – think of how a dotted line encourages you to cut out a coupon.

Take a design-focused approach to postcard marketing

Without the right design elements, even the most persuasive postcard is unlikely to perform well. Use the five design tactics in this guide to create an eye-catching, sales focused postcard for your next direct mail marketing campaign.