A Guest Post by Victoria Rose Martin
Last month I covered the process of building an online marketing presence. This month I want to discuss traditional marketing materials such as business cards, postcards, and brochures. You might be saying to yourself “in this digital age how important are print pieces?” Well I am here to tell you that they are very important!
Imagine you’re at an art show and you walk into a booth of an artist you simply adore. Don’t you just love it when they have a stack of postcards or business cards with a great photo of their work with them? Do you take the cards and maybe even post them on a wall in your studio for inspiration? Well if you love print pieces from other artists then chances are that people who love your art want cards from you.
If you’ve been following the past few entries I am sure you have created a brand or identity for yourself. Perhaps you’ve designed a logo or if you’re like me you’re going to use your name or initials as a logo. Set the text in an easy to read typeface in a color that complements your artwork and at the same time reflects your unique personality. Once you develop a brand be consistent and use it repeatedly because customers will grow to recognize brand and remember who you are. For example I wouldn’t start marketing myself as Victoria this month and then next month as Ms. Martin. Although it might be appropriate it wouldn’t be consistent and people wouldn’t know who I was. Branding yourself should be about recognition and repetition.
So where do you begin? Make a plan, what do you envision on the front of the card? How about the back of the postcard? What is the purpose of the piece? If it’s job is to inform then you may want to have a brief bio or statement on the back. If the card is for a specific event be sure to include dates and times. Do you plan to mail the card or pass it out by hand? If your goal is to mail then be sure to check the USPS guidelines and be sure to leave room for address and postage. And most importantly, don’t forget contact information and spell check.
Once you make up your mind on what you want on the card your options are to use a template from an online printing company, design your own pieces, or hire somebody to do it for you.
The first option is visiting an online printing company such as VistaPrint, UPrinting, or 48HourPrint where you can design your pieces online or upload your own graphics. Make the front of the piece all about your work. One high-resolution image works the best. Don’t over do it either. You wouldn’t want to show every piece you’ve ever made on the card, more than 3 pieces will look cluttered. And that goes for typefaces too, generally don’t use more than three. A word of advice when searching for an online printing company, check the shipping rates because some offer really cheap printing and whack you on shipping. Do your homework. Often I will Google the company name followed by the word complaints and I gauge whether or not I choose to give them my hard earned cash. For example, if I see 1,000 people have written that CompanyX ripped them off I would go elsewhere.
The second option is to make the pieces yourself. There are plenty of free open source design software options such as Photoshop Express, Pixlr or Google Creative Kit. Yes, there will be a learning curve but once you get the hang of it think of all of the money you’ll save doing it yourself. And I believe that educating oneself is one of the best investments in life. You might also want to check YouTube for video tutorials for learning the program. In the end you’ll be able to alter images of your art or create compositions that are ready to hand over to a print company.
And lastly, if it all sounds too overwhelming hire an expert. Let’s face it you might be too busy and simply don’t have the time to do it yourself. If you do a search on Etsy you’ll see plenty of graphic designers offering their services for really affordable rates. Be sure to read their guidelines in reference to what is provided. Or call a local college and ask if there are students interested in freelancing.
Get busy taking pictures and writing a bio, and next month I am going to demonstrate how to design a card using Adobe Photoshop.
Victoria Rose Martin is an artist and designer currently living in South Florida. She is the Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. You can visit her website at: VictoriaRoseMartin.com.
For more about marketing your artwork, check out the 2013 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market.
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