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Your 4-Step Guide to Using Visual Elements in Direct Mail

Mike Dietz

Last week we talked about the importance of visual data in direct mail. Either directly or indirectly, 50 percent of your brain is dedicated to visual interpretation at any given time, which makes direct marketing channels a great place to include images and graphics. This is important for several reasons:

  • It allows the brain to process and interpret the data faster.
  • It filters data directly and provides a new constructive way of thinking and remembering information.
  • It presents customers with new knowledge in a way the brain is attracted to.
  • There are many ways to use visual elements to your advantage in a mailpiece.

Now that you understand why using visual elements in direct mail is so important, here’s a four-step guide to implementing them in your next campaign:

1. Use Powerful Images

Some images have become so engrained in us that they automatically evoke a response. For example, the recycling logo might conjure up feelings of responsibility. Using graphics and images that are well known and associated with a certain emotion can help set the tone for your mailpiece and get the reader in the right frame of mind before they even read your offer.

2. Use Color to Support Your Message

Color also has powerful associations. Red is often thought of as angry or passionate, while yellow is often thought of as happy or friendly. When you combine a visual with text, it changes how you interpret the message. It’s because of this correlation that using color can help support your message. For example, if you’re selling whitening toothpaste, you’ll want to stay away from yellows that make people think of stained teeth. Instead, use bright, bold colors that help the white of the background stand out.

Color can also be used to show recipients where you want them to look first, whether that’s the product or its benefits. It helps control the eye to make important aspects pop and the piece easier to read. You’ll often see color used to help separate information like a sidebar from a letter. This not only helps streamline the design and make the piece seem less busy, but by separating information, it also helps the brain group facts together, which improves memory retention.

3. Use Size to Make an Impact

Using a different size can exemplify quantity and make a big impression on the reader. Venn diagrams and bar graphs are great ways to demonstrate data in an easy to understand format. But size also means considering scale. For instance, compare your product’s cleaning power to a competitor’s by having one large bottle of your product next to several smaller bottles of their product.

4. Consider Your Audience

Visuals can help your mailpiece be more efficient with space and brand a message to your target audience. Just be sure to base your visuals on data, not personal preference. Otherwise, you could risk alienating your audience. It’s equally important to use a light hand with visual elements in direct mail. You don’t want to crowd the piece or distract from the messaging.

Images pack a punch. They are easy to incorporate and benefit your marketing in a variety of ways. So if you are looking for ways to step up your marketing game, consider shapes and color—you’ll be surprised at just how effective visuals can be.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2015/10/14/visual-elements-in-direct-mail/
Mike Dietz


Mike Dietz

Executive Creative Director, graduate of St. Cloud State University and IWCO Direct team member for more than 18 years. Personal business philosophy: “Beautiful design is fantastic, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter.” Proud father who enjoys spending time with family, golfing and is a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan.

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