In the lead up to a local December art/craft show I was to participate in, the show organizers approached participants to ask if we were interested in contributing items to hand out to journalists, store owners, and other invited guests on the initial pre-opening night. If we did choose to contribute, we needed to be able to provide at least 50 of the item.
My primary product at that time was hand-crafted wearable items and screen-printed t-shirts, with my t-shirt designs being my strongest line. I had less than a month to turn around the item from conception to completion and a limited budget.
As I had had success picking up some retailers during these kind of shows, I immediately began brainstorming what I could hand out. I wanted something that the recipients might return to later, after the flurry of the show was over. I wanted the item to remind the recipient of my t-shirts in particular, which meant I hoped they would be looking at it come spring. It needed to be something that would not be static; even a great print on the wall can become invisible in the months between winter and spring in Minnesota. It needed to give them a way to contact me without screaming “marketing device.”
I decided a calendar would fit my needs. I could create it with my t-shirt designs as a starting point. It would increase in relevance after the show, I could easily include my contact information, and it was something unique. Because it necessitated interaction monthly, there would be a specific time/place for them to consider my work twelve times in the year.
I wanted to put my contact information on the back (to make the piece feel less like advertising), but that seemed wasteful to increase my printing costs for that alone. To justify the double-sided printing and to enhance the marketing potential of the piece, I decided to create a retro-style post-card back, thereby encouraging recipients to send the postcard out each month.
I chose to make it 5″x7″ so that I could print it two-up, full bleed, at a small printer. I went with a single Pantone color to decrease costs and maintain consistency. To match the happify brand, I printed it in a dark brown on a cream cardstock. Later, I designed branded labels for the matching envelopes to mail those I sold online.
The finished product ended up turning out even better than I had initially hoped. I printed up extras to sell at the show and online.