Promote Yourself

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do this summer is update my promotional postcards. For my Advanced Problems in Illustration class, we were told to make three different card designs and come up with a list of at least twenty different places to mail them out to.

I’m definitely not ready to mail them out yet. I wasn’t incredibly pleased with how my cards came out. They were a little clunky design-wise so I decided to check out some examples of other artists promotional cards to see what they came up with.

Here are a few of those different solutions

The Card Canvas – So everyone knows there’s a front and a back to the postcard. What if the front was just a print reproduction of your best work? An oldie but a goodie, it’s been done and done again because it works. Having your art fill the entire space of the card’s front side is going to catch someone’s attention for sure.

The Mini Gallery – Say you have a really unique or consistent style, or maybe you have a couple works that work really well together. If you can’t just choose one image to put on the front, why not put a bunch? I mean, try not to go over four or five because, if course, the more work you put the smaller it gets. This option is like one of those appetizer samplers you can get at a restaurant. It allows you to show off a little bit of everything.

The Ambitious One – This one requires a little extra work and maybe a little extra funds. While double-sided postcards can be effective, everyone does them. Why not set yourself apart from the crowd? You can always create some kind of interactive packet for potential clients. A short booklet, a pack of “trading cards”, anything you can think of really to make that good first impression.

The Logo – This is a more minimalistic design and probably not the best route for painters, illustrators, and sculptors. This option is best suited for graphic designers seeing as their logo is probably one of their best portfolio pieces.

The Selfie – Two birds with one stone. Show off your skills as an artist and introduce yourself at the same time. A self-portrait will give the potential client a better idea of not only what you look like but of what your personality is like as well. Just remember to be quirky and fun, not vain.

The Handmade – This requires a bit more work but could save you a bit on printing costs. Traditional print making and letterpress is really popular right now. It might be a good idea to carve your design into a linoleum block and print up your own postcards. There are always other ways of making original handmade postcards, but try not to come across as too scrapbook-y or gimmick-y. Remember, we’re (or will be) professional artists so your cards should be just as professional.

Additional Tips

  1. Try to make the card look so good that the receiver will actually feel bad about throwing it away.
  2. Make sure your information is clear and concise. If your info is hard to find or follow, people aren’t going to go out of their way to figure it out.
  3. Consider including some basic information on the front of you card along with your art.
  4. Typography and design are important. If those aren’t your thing, grab your graphic design buddy and have them make sure your fonts work before you send it off to the print shop.
  5. Everyone likes an interactive design. While not 100% necessary, it might be something worth considering.
  6. You can put an image on the back-side of your postcard, but remember that the reverse is typically printed in black and white to reduce printing costs.
  7. The back of a postcard is pretty standard. Sure you can break away from the conventional design, but remember – it is still a postcard and that stamp’s gotta go somewhere.
  8. We were told that if we send out fifty cards, we might get one response. If you don’t get any business from your first batch, try again. Persistence is key.
  9. Look into different print services. Different printers have different prices and specs so make sure you’re shopping for the best deal and that you’re getting what you want.

Well that’s about all I can offer you in terms of idea starters and advice. No matter what kind of art you do, promotional cards are always a good idea. Better yet if you can design them yourself! Well… I’m off to go refine my design!

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