Play with Full Color Printing Formats

Ever get designer’s block? Ever find yourself suddenly paralyzed by the fear that a print design will go out into the world and pass through, totally unnoticed?

One way to mercilessly crush both of these problems is to get outside the box of your chosen format. Print design can get cramped or stale when we force ourselves to think that a particular promotion demands a particular format. For example, the ultimate unit of event promotion is the poster, right? And the business card is useful only as a wallet-stuffer, right?


By playing with the conventional standards defining what a given print format is suitable for, stale campaigns can start to pop, and designer’s block can become a thing of the past.

Case #1 – The Event Invitation

Need to send out 1000 invites? Don’t automatically think “greeting card.” A recent Hotcards project found our designers creating rock star-promo-style flyers that acted as a party invitation.

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CDs or DVDs in lieu of invitations can also create a similarly stylish effect. Very slick, and the perfect way to get party-goers in the mood.

Case #2 – The Product Brochure

Instead of puzzling between two-fold or tri-fold, consider a greeting card format for your next brochure. The card can be designed as an invitation to try your product or service. This is a great way to combine an aggressive sales technique with classy, entertaining style.

Case #3 – The Direct Mailer

Stop stuffing envelopes. Consider, instead, a sheet of stickers, or a full color poster, for your next direct mail campaign. These should be designed as a subtle promotion that simultaneously offers recipients an appealing graphic design that they can enjoy in their home or office. Designer brands and trendy bands both use this art/promotion strategy to great advantage.

Case #4 – The Mini-Flyer

Looking to the flyer as a cheap advertising vehicle? More popular and slick in this marketing climate is the creation of a splash page, accompanied by palm cards advertising the URL. These mini-promotions fit in a wallet just like a business card, they can carry bold designs that most business cards would never dare, AND they’re even cheaper than flyers!

These are just a few ways in which conventional formats can be turned on their heads. Using print promotion formats as a design element draws attention to the uniqueness of an advertising campaign and allows designers to peel away the layers of convention that can hamper creativity.