Postcard Design Tips and Creative Samples for Inspiration
At times like these, when short attention spans and rushing for deadlines seem to be the status quo, the postcard can be very effective for marketing or personal communications.
For one thing, since the postcard was essentially created to be sent without the envelope, a colorfully-designed postcard won't get lost in the barrage of white envelopes that's likely to come with your recipient's mail. Even the corner of a postcard is likely to attract someone's eye in a pile of bill envelopes.
Along with that, a postcard's relatively small size makes it important for designers to maximize what little space they have to get their message across. Without enough space to write lines and lines of text, a postcard has to say everything briefly and concisely. Now this may be a test of a designer's skill but if done well, it can almost be magic.
Seeing as how postcard design has some bearing on the efficacy of communication, we would like to help you get the most out of it by offering you some useful design tips.
Tips and Tricks to Designing Your Own Postcard
1) Write a clear and concise headline - A good rule of thumb is : don't dawdle. Unfortunately for the more verbose of us, postcards aren't the venue for long-winded explanations. The idea is to get your audience immediately so say your piece quick and make it catchy, if you can. One other reason why you have to get your message out there as soon as someone lays their eyes on the card is -let's face it, people rarely keep advertising materials and there's a chance that yours might get dropped in the bin -but if they see the entire content right away, then they can't unsee it.
2) Use relevant images - It's a great idea to make your postcard look good by including photos or illustrations. Just make sure that they don't detract from the message you want to convey.
3) Compartmentalize - Seeing as the whole idea is about being succinct, you might want to concentrate on one idea per postcard. Talking about too many things in such a small space can only lead to confusion and cluttering. So pick one product or service to advertise and create the central design around it.
4) Know where to stop - Negative space (or whitespace) is your friend and clutter is the enemy. Filling every bit of white on the card with words or pictures might not be a good thing as it may wear the eyes out right away. Imagine a pizza with all sorts of toppings -including gumballs, malted milkballs, and pencil shavings. Not exactly appetizing, right? It's the same way with postcards.
5) Eye Trails / Directional Forces / Movement - Make your message flow. Have a distinct beginning, middle and end to your design by directing the eye towards certain elements of your postcard. Not only does this help communication but, it's also generally more aesthetically-pleasing if your design isn't all over the place.
6) Use a photo editing or graphic design application While it is technically possible to design something using a word processor, for items like postcards which are very dependent on images and visuals it's better to use photo or graphics editing software. A word processor has many design limitations and tends to compress images, resulting to low-quality images. Don't forget to set your graphics software to CMYK so you can get more accurate colors on your print-outs.
7) Include the 5 W's and 1 H. - Where, What, Who, When, Why, and How? These are the most important pieces of information that your audience must possess. Without these, your message might not be fully understood. The only time you might forgo these is if your postcard is mostly decorative.
8) Answer the questions : “What do I do?” and “What do I get if I do?” Don't forget to include a call-of-action and a clear incentive. People are likelier to do something if there's proper motivation for it – think about it, would you shell out your hard-earned money for no apparent reason?
9) Consider your printing options - As early as the conceptualization stage, you can start thinking of how you're printing the postcards. Do you want it in matte or glossy cardstock? What postcard sizes does your printing company offer? Is it something that you can mail as is, or does it need an envelope? More importantly, if you want all the bells and whistles, is it still within budget?
10) Keep to the USPS mailing regulations - Sure, you have a pretty postcard, but it won't do you any good if you can't mail it because it goes against the post office's rules. Be aware of what you need to put include on your postcard. That way the only reason it doesn't get to the recipient is if the dog chases the mail carrier away.
Postcard Mailing Tips
To further convince you of the merits of using a postcard, and to light a fire in your imagination we've also compiled a few examples of the uses of postcards. We hope that these can help you come up with a look that's uniquely yours.
Film Promotion Postcards
Event Invitation Postcards
Design Studio Postcards
Holiday Greeting Postcards
To learn more about postcards or see more examples, you can visit the following pages: