In the second of our four-part series, we’ll talk about designing your postcard for maximum impact.

Don’t overcrowd. Too much information crammed into a too small space confuses the reader and is perhaps the most common cause of less-than-expected postcard results. Make sure your design works with the format, not against it, by paring down to a just few strong elements.

Design in some white space. In your process of un-crowding, leave some empty (“white”) space around the key elements. Many studies of reader behavior have shown that this breathing room improves readership and comprehension.

Keep the copy short. A postcard should be one single announcement or call to action, not a complete explanation of your product, service or offer. (That’s what your website and sales literature are for.) The longer the copy, the smaller its type size will have to be to make it all fit; and the fewer people will actually read it. Edit it down and scale it up until it’s understandable at-a-glance.

Use an arresting image. A big reason why postcards are the most successful direct mail format is that their content is immediately visible, not hidden inside an envelope. Maximize that advantage with a unique, powerful graphic that will stand out and stop recipients in their tracks.

Stay clear of the USPS read areas. Another consequence of trying to incorporate too much information is that design elements might encroach on the clear spaces for address and indicia required by the Post Office scanning equipment. The USPS will automatically reject any mail that can’t be scanned, and the money you spent producing the postcard will go down the drain. Our Click2Mail templates clearly indicate these areas, but it’s something to watch out for if you’re designing your own card from scratch.

Colorize it. If you’ve been sending black & white postcards, go for even bigger impact by adding a shot of color. Three ways to do this at Click2Mail are:

• Full-color printing on one or both sizes

• Black ink on your choice of yellow or green cardstock– (and now PINK)

Printers choice: Black ink on one of four card colors chosen by Click2Mail

Upsize it. Maybe your message is just a bit too complex for a standard 3.5″ x 5″ or 4.25″ x 6″ postcard. In that case a larger 5″ x 8“,  6″ x 9″ or 6″ x 11″ postcard might be the perfect solution. And, of course, the bigger it is, the more attention it will attract.

Do a series. Sometimes a postcard is the right format, but the message has too many parts to fit according to the design rules we listed above. Why not split it up into several mailings? You’ll multiply your impressions while keeping costs affordable.

A postcard is a great format for getting attention and response … as long as you don’t try and force it to do things it’s not suited for. Give yourself the best chance for success by keeping it clean, simple and strong. And if you’re not sure you can get it right, our Click2Mail team of expert designers would be happy to help. Just give us a call, or fill out our survey here.

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