How NOT to Design a Postcard

Thanks to today’s software and online options, it’s pretty easy for anyone to design and print postcards on their own. Yet the process can still be filled with pitfalls for those without a graphic design background. Below are some of the most common errors – any of which just screams “amateur hour.” And that’s an especially big problem if you’re promoting your product or service to potential clients who just might happen to have their own in-house designers… or who regularly outsource their marketing materials to a professional design firm!

1) Don’t get too “creative.”

There’s creative, and then there’s “creative.” The first is the talent that graphic designers are born with, and/or the skills that graphic designers nurture through years of practice and training. The second is the impulse among non-artistic folks or inexperienced designers to use five different font styles on a single mailer because… well, just because they can. If you’re not supposed to use all these fonts, they probably wonder, why does the graphic design program come with them??

2) Don’t use every bit of white space.

The areas of a postcard that do not include text or images are as much a part of its design as the areas that do. The point of “designing” a postcard – or any other marketing item – is to balance words and images and white space to achieve your business’s message as effectively as possible. What if the background of your postcard is blue, or green, or yellow… not white? Same rule applies. The point is that you’re not helping get your message across in a powerful way by filling up every square centimeter of space on the paper.

3) Don’t ignore standard postcard specs.

Don’t think you can save money by using a lighter paper stock for your postcards – you might find your entire mailing returned by the post office! And don’t ignore standard dimensions when laying out and cutting your postcards. Standards are usually there for a reason.
Postcard mailings can be highly effective when done right. Whatever your budget, make sure you aren’t letting rookie mistakes turn your well-intentioned efforts into a waste of your hard-earned money.