As the Fall approaches, I can’t help to be excited about all the conversations I’ll have at the Domtar Paper booth with countless creatives at such shows as the Brand New Conference, Adobe MAX and Project Peacock Print Fair Toronto. It’s so much fun to hear how graphic designers from all over North America count on our Cougar® and Lynx® papers to elevate their brand and make their message memorable.
Often, the conversation goes back toward our promotions. “This is beautiful! How can I get my printed piece to turn out like this?” is a phrase I hear more times than I can count. The good news is, creating an impactful printed piece for your client, brand or even yourself is absolutely achievable.
On a recent Podcasts From the Printerverse episode titled Creating an Impactful Promotion for Your Biz, I outlined advice on planning, creating and executing on an awe-inspiring printed piece. Here are the highlights:
- Consider the Plan – The most significant mistake many creatives make when working on an ambitious printed piece is not considering the overarching marketing plan and jumping straight into the design. Before beginning any promotion, I always consider where the piece fits into the overarching business strategy and form a plan on business goals and objectives for the printed piece. These considerations will help you establish a project budget, allocate resources and set parameters for measuring success.
A quick note on measuring success: In many cases, any thought of measurement is something creatives often leave to marketing or their client. In my opinion, this is a mistake. By working together and considering ROI during the design phase, a designer will be more likely to deliver a return for their client, which can both elevate their reputation and lead to more high-profile design jobs.
- Determine Creative Objectives – Whether you’re a freelance designer that runs your own business or a designer that works for a large corporation or agency, four things need to be considered in developing your creative objectives for an impactful printed piece:
- Your capabilities and strengths
- The competitive landscape
- Your target audience
- Your budget
These considerations will not only help you create a dynamic creative solution that truly stands out, but they may also help you in creative decisions along the way, such as deciding which printing method is the best fit, choosing paper and determining post-process techniques.
- Form a Squad – If you’re a designer with the plan to create an ambitious printed piece, choosing the right printer is a must. When I create a Cougar or Lynx promotion, I look for printers that want more than just to finish the job so they can move on to the next. I need someone who will act as a true partner that I can share my goals for the project with and will work with me to push boundaries, advise me along the way and create something truly outstanding. Choose a printer that you feel comfortable spending time with and is patient answering all of your questions.
- Design and Execute – During the design and execution phase of a printed promotion, think about your audience. With every decision you make, consider what your audience likes or dislikes, the phrases they use and what their goals are. The more you know about your audience, the more successful your printed piece will be. With our Cougar and Lynx promotions, my goal is always to create an inspirational experience in print that captures the designer’s attention, encourages them to explore possibilities in paper and acts as a resource. This surprises many creatives, but I actually consider the entire omni-channel experience when creating a paper promotion. While in many cases the printed piece is the highlight, I also consider the various touchpoints I can add with such platforms as video, social media, email and trade shows that broaden the experience and deliver maximum exposure.
- Encourage Sharing – The best advocate for your promotion is your target audience, so why not encourage others to share their experience? This is what we do with The Gallery. By offering the creatives and printers that trust our paper a place to share their creations and inspire others, Domtar generates excitement about print with the creative community. Personally, I also find The Gallery inspirational and rewarding—I absolutely love seeing all of the creative ways designers use our paper!
- Gather Feedback – Measuring success is one thing, but gathering first-hand feedback from members of your target audience is also very important. I gather the most feedback at tradeshows and events—it’s the part in the promotion lifecycle that I love the most! I always walk away from each experience with fresh ideas on how to push the boundaries even further next time.