I routinely look at what we are printing for clients, not just what we are designing. Most of the time this is a good thing. But…other times it is not. It's just collateral cluttered with superfluous elements that distracts from the message. So with some help, we’ve narrowed down the most often seen mistakes to a handful of points. Believe us, we understand it. Over the years as designers, printers, management and voters, we have seen these mistakes too many times.
You want to give your prospects as much information as possible! Wrong.
That impulse grows even stronger the larger the printed collateral is. It has more room; so you should put more things on it! The more a prospect knows about your campaign, the more they’ll want to vote for you. Right?
More isn’t always more and certainly isn't better. Potential voters are busy and they’re already being bombarded with marketing messages - respect that and utilize it to your favor. If you give them any reason to toss your printed message in the trash without reading it, they will.
So, with that let's look at the 6 things you don't want on your printed collateral material.
1.) CLEVER-BUT-CONFUSING HEADLINES/CONCEPTS.
NEVER sacrifice clarity for cleverness! Never!
If a potential voter doesn’t IMMEDIATELY know what you’re offering, they likely never will. They are NOT going to put in extra time or effort to figure out what you’re trying to tell them.
2.) TOO MUCH TEXT.
Don’t overwhelm your recipients with too much copy (words). Too much text is a turn-off. People need short, easily digestible copy with a clear hierarchy: A bold headline, sub headlines, bullet points, etc.
You know what they DON’T need?
3.) OUTDATED OR LOW-RES PHOTOS.
Photos that are low-resolution come across as unprofessional and diminish your rapport with voters. If your photos are poor quality, voters will assume you are too. If a professional photographer or a designer is not handling the shoot, your best bet is clean professional business attire.
If you have any doubt about what exactly that is, go to www.brooksbrothers.com. My first job out of college, my employer handed me a $500 gift certificate to there and told me it's just for work. At the time I didn't understand the importance of this gesture nor that I would carry it forward still to this day. But on that first day, when I walked into the conference room to meet everyone for the first time, I'm sure glad I didn't have my (only) go to suit on that I had worn to every formal the past two years. If yours is a tie with a mosaic design and a maroon dress shirt, do yourself a favor. A poor image is the first thing that recipients will see. The most talented graphic designers can't fix this and this then becomes a nightmare for them to design around. Most smart phones can take a good picture that’s high resolution enough to be printed on a postcard, so if you don’t want to hire a photographer, take 100 photos. Whatever you do, don't make this a hurdle for your designer or your campaign. Image sells.
4.) UNNECESSARY GRAPHIC ELEMENTS.
Collateral's purpose is FUNCTION, not form. If it doesn’t get your message across quickly, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is — it’s going in the trash! Sure, use some elements if you have room and it not only makes sense but compliments the design — but NOT at the expense of valuable information.
Again, same goes for photos. Use only the BEST ones — the one(s) that voter's can quickly identify with and convey you deserve their vote. If it doesn’t compliment your message, get rid of it
5.) TOO MANY PROMISES.
Test specific messages before you print and only use the ones that resonate with potential voters. Lose a voter’s attention and it dilutes their interest. Include two GREAT messages, not four or five so-so ones.
6.) GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION ERRORS.
It goes without saying that your postcard should be free of spelling and grammatical errors. But there are other, less offenses that you might not realize that can hurt your credibility. Capitalizing Every Single Sentence, is one of them. Misusing punctuation is another one. Avoid “unnecessary quotation marks” or too many exclamation points!!!!!!!!! It looks unprofessional.
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Patrick helped co-found the GOPgroup which has been widely regarded as one of the premier Republican print firms in the country. Patrick lends his expertise, insight and understanding of what will work and what won’t work from City Council candidates to State and Federal campaigns. He has overseen the design, production and distribution of collateral material for the past three out of four Republican presidential campaigns starting with Bush Cheney 2000. Most recently he oversaw the collateral needs for all eleven swing states in 2012 for Romney Ryan and the RNC.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"It had to be about my tenth phone call trying to get 10K post cards printed ASAP, as in yesterday. Someone said call this guy; they are your best chance. Not once in that call was it said that this can't be done. It was, this is what we need, here are the details. This allowed us to go from can we get this done, to this is what is needed to get it done. I went from frustrated to confident. Everything was handled with one phone call and an email."
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