It’s happened to all of us a some point in our careers. We’re handed a legacy project that hasn’t been updated in FOREVER and it’s our job to get it up to spec. You have to balance not only the update but also the potential of upsetting those who were part of the original project.
Overhauling a design for postcard printing is no different. With a few simple steps, you can make sure you get a best-in-class design and gracefully survive the possibility of seriously ticking off the original project team. It can be done, but takes some careful planning.
Identify What Worked Originally
First of all, look for what worked in the original design. That design made it through the approval process for some reason. Even if you’re pretty sure nobody gave it a real look, there was something that worked or you wouldn’t be looking to overhaul the design for the postcards.
On the other hand, you may realize quickly that the reason for the overhaul is because the original design was a complete failure. Still, it’s best to approach the process with a positive slant until you’ve got an objective reason to think otherwise.
Reach Out to Original Project Members
You should always try to identify the original project team members and reach out to them. In most cases, they will be glad to offer input, suggestions, and recommendations. In fact, simply connecting with them will often disarm any sense of you trying to dramatically change their design.
As is often the case, the original project team is no longer around. You’re still not off the hook! Check with your chain of command to see if there are any special considerations or promotions that should be included. You may find that there’s a project going on in-house that is expecting to be a part of the postcard campaign and their products and services need to be included. You definitely don’t want to finalize the design just to find out you missed important information.
Research Current Design Trends
The next step is to pull together research on modern postcard design trends. Do research based upon your industry. Compare some of the trendy designs with the more formal. Look at minimalist versus some of the more complex designs.
You’ll find that there is a great deal of diversity in design trends but still some patterns, for example, full-color versus single color designs. Lots of postcards have die-cuts these days. Definitely gather your research together so you can get on board with the latest trends, if that’s the direction you want to take the design.
Pull Together Corporate Resources
Once you have the general idea of the design you want, it’s time to make sure you have all the basics in place. You need your company logo, the appropriate contact information, and brand colors. If the postcard design will be featuring a specific product, you should get high-quality product photos.
Don’t forget to double and triple check any website URLs or phone numbers in the design. Many firms use campaign specific information to track the success of a postcard mailer. So a unique 800 number or a landing page URL may be used instead of the firm’s standard number or home page URL.
Develop New Design
Once you have all the pieces together, it’s time to bring your design to life. If you are not designing the postcards yourself, work closely with the design team. Give them space to be creative, but engage quickly when they have questions or need guidance.
It’s always a good idea to have 2-3 ideas in the works. What you may find is that the design gets rejected and you will definitely want to have another idea on standby. You may even present multiple ideas and ask what works best from each so you can combine them into a best-of-breed design.
However you go about overhauling your postcard design, the key is careful planning. Any time you have a legacy project, you are dealing with stakeholders that may immediately get defensive about their original ideas getting changed. But with a little communication and a lot of patience, you can get through it and produce an updated postcard design.