Tweaking Your Business Plan After the Year of the Curveball

Every curveball starts as a fastball – until it dives out of range as it approaches the plate.

The story of the curveball started in 1863 when two friends were throwing seashells on a beach in Brooklyn. Young pitcher William Cummings noticed shells curving in the air and wondered, “what if I could make a baseball move like that?”

After modifying his grip and adjusting his throwing motion for four years, Cummings rose to prominence as a star pitcher for the Brooklyn Excelsiors. It was time to unveil the secret weapon. At age 18, Cummings was pitching against hard-hitting Archibald Bush, and he later admitted he was afraid of Bush’s “prowess with the bat.” Cummings unleashed the curve, and Bush was foiled:

“When he struck at the ball, it seemed to go about a foot beyond the end of his stick,” said Cummings. “I tried again with the same result, and then I realized that I had succeeded at last.”

3 Ways to Reset After a Tumultuous Season

It can be fun to throw curveballs but difficult to receive them.

The year 2020 threw businesses of all sizes a tough curve. Many firms shut doors, released team members, or dipped into emergency funds to make ends meet. Business plans are a crucial part of any normal season, but revising them this year is especially pertinent.

How will you pivot in response to the wild circumstances of 2020? Here are some starting points to consider.

1. Take Stock of Key Changes

Nimble, proactive entrepreneurs respond to change by embracing it.

Take note of what has changed, and be crystal clear about what that means for your business. Have your capacity restrictions or hours shifted? Have legal regulations altered what you can or cannot do? This year may be a perfect time to do an in-depth SWOT analysis, analyzing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

From technology and staffing to new products or team members, clarify how your business has changed or where you need to adapt.

2. Form and Execute Contingency Plans

Do you have a plan B that can be implemented when your business experiences a major disruption?

Outline risk-related scenarios and chart precise strategies to get things back on track. Contingency plans should include:

–Essential operations your business needs to run successfully, including contact information for key partners, suppliers, investors, etc.

–A rundown of possible threats or disruptive events and step-by-step procedures for how to work around each scenario

–Options for aggressive financial restrictions to increase cash flow or savings

–Risk-mitigation steps to help reduce the likelihood of worst-case scenarios

–A communication plan for alerting customers, employees, and other stakeholders of the problem

3. Develop Your 2021 Marketing Plan

While COVID-19 brought many challenges, it has created several new opportunities.

As you develop a new marketing plan, take stock of your chief competitors and your target customers. Reposition your business with the right message, the right media, and the right pricing for your target demographic.

For some firms, this could mean focusing on a core subset of customers to reduce general costs while ramping up revenue in a specific sector. For others, it could mean expanding target regions to compensate for lost foot traffic or in-store sales. Whether it’s widening your audience or narrowing your focus, amp up your marketing and aim confidently for that next pitch.

Perhaps this inning will be your best!

Use Every Inch for Impact with Creative Custom Envelopes

Do you want to grab attention or showcase your brand? First impressions are vital!

When it comes to reaching your clients and prospects, envelopes are the unsung hero. Envelopes act as a silent messenger, building a very personal bridge between your company and its core customers. Great packaging can enhance emotional engagement and increase response rates, and envelopes are an easy place to start.

Direct mail stats show the value of a well-designed envelope. While response rates for email or social media advertising are typically less than one percent, direct mail generates a rate closer to 4.5%. And oversized envelopes are the most productive, with a response rate around 5%, generating a whopping 37% return on investment!

While not all mail is opened, 100% of recipients will interact with your envelope. Want to put your printed real estate to work? Here are some clever ways to add panache to your envelopes:

Craft A Monogram to Match Your Return Label

Like a royal signature, monograms use two or more letters to form one symbol.

Monograms can be used as a logo itself (like the overlay of the letters “NY” to form the New York Yankees icon, or the blended letters “VW” to form the classic Volkswagen symbol). But monograms can also be used in addition to a logo, and look great as a design motif next to the return address section.

The return address is one of the first places a reader will look, so why not spruce up this corner with a graphic or a monogram motif?

Add Color with Back Panel Art

Want to send a memorable message?

Add depth and dimension with back panel art. There are so many fun ways to do this. Try full-color accents to the top triangle, write your slogan in script text across the bottom, add custom stickers as fasteners, or design your logo into the closing flap (so it looks like a wax seal).

Creative envelopes are very pleasing to the eye, so take your back panel to the next level with full-color photos, playful text art, or contemporary custom labels.

Create Mirror Images in Opposite Corners

When you want to think outside the box, don’t limit your signature to the return address section.

Instead, create a mirrored design between the top left and the bottom right corners. A brand named “Matrix” may have this name in small script font next to their return address but add a larger script “M” bleeding off the bottom right corner of the envelope. A skyscraper logo may be printed as a thumbnail in the top left corner but as a larger symmetrical reprint in the bottom right quadrant.

Try Teaser Text

When you want to entice first-time prospects, consider teaser text phrases on one or both sides of the envelope.

Teaser text should compel readers to open your envelope by promising something of value like, “Receive a Free Map Set,” “Your Recipe Booklet Enclosed,” “Just for You,” or “Your Exclusive Offer of ____ is Here!”

Nonprofit organizations use teaser text to invite prospects to be part of a greater vision. For example: “A Lasting Legacy: Connecting People to Nature Since 1920,” or “She survived war. She needs YOU to survive COVID-19.”

When you want to add impact to your marketing, the envelope is a simple place to start. Amplify your image and add confidence to your communication today!

Use Words to Shape Your Designs with Three Distinct Tools

Words and messages are communicated in so many ways – through vocabulary selection, images, tone or personality, and even through design.

The raw material that words represent is more than just semantics, and graphic artists have many options for exploring the power and symbolism of unique words in design.

Here are three ways you can weave words into the visual elements of your design.

The Word Pun

Word puns present a play on words using alternative meanings of words (and word sounds) to form new meanings.

What does this look like in design? Here are several ideas:

— A seafood café restaurant might feature server aprons sporting a wacky fish (wearing a top hat) with the word “SoFISHticated” sprawled below.

— Well-known phrases can be changed to fit the message of the brand. For example, the bike manufacturer Salomon created a logo that changed the phrase “blood, sweat, and tears” to “Mud, Sweat, & Gear.” This message links the company’s core purpose – making mountain bikes – to a memorable, motivating catchphrase.

— Words puns can be created by substituting characters for sections of a word. Designer Wolff Olins created a word pun using the characters “Q8” to represent the oil-rich country of Kuwait.

The Visual Pun

Visual (or graphological) puns do not use phonetic writing.

Instead, visual puns create a play on words through imagery, graphics, or logos. Examples include:

— An image in the fork in the middle of two parting streets (symbolizing an impending decision or a fork in the road).

— A symbol can be used to replace a whole word, like “I [HEART] NY” or the character “He” with a box outline around it (to symbolize the periodic element of helium).

— Making subtle tweaks to logos to add visual effect. Rebel, a rugged Australian sporting goods company, turned the second “e” backward in their company name. Or the logo for Poison Spider Bicycles depicts the venomous red section of its spider as a replica of a gritty bike chain.

The Rebus

A rebus represents words in the form of pictures or symbols, often presented as a riddle.

Think of the last time you puzzled over an obscure personalized license plate on the rear of the car in front of you. Was it hard to look away? People love to decipher codes, and using a rebus can stop people in their tracks, causing them to slow down, think, or smile!

Here are some clever ways the rebus has been put to work in marketing:

— IBM created a poster with three images to represent its name: a cartoon eye, a colorful honeybee, and a playfully sketched letter M.

When IKEA wanted to help American customers grasp their company’s correct pronunciation, they created a rebus design featuring a cartoon eye, followed by a house key and the text phrase “ah!”

— The East End Brewing Company chose to market its energizing coffee porter with this eye-opening rebus: a cartoon eye and a classic handheld bottle opener   

The creative use of language can help precisely position an idea, company, or product in unique and refreshing ways. Tailor your message toward a target audience and play with words until you find just the right fit!

5 Hot Summer Marketing Ideas to Give Your Business A Boost

Unless you sell beach hats or slushies, summer can be a slow season for many businesses.

That’s why the summer months are an ideal time to experiment with fun, seasonal campaigns. Heat up sales and boost your customer engagement with these lively, life-giving options.

Use Giveaways to Learn About Your Clients

“You’ve Got Tech Problems? I’ve Got Answers.”

Nikole Gipps is the founder and developer extraordinaire behind “That Super Girl.” Specializing in online support services for small businesses, Gipps grows her base seasonally by featuring “Summer of Learning” giveaways. Weekly emails boast giveaway choices (like business books) and tutorial freebies. Her recent contests increased customer engagement, doubled the subscriber list, increased workshop enrollment, and offered insights into topics that interested people most.

What freebie could you use to spark interest this summer and build momentum for the fall? Start dreaming today and create lasting benefits for your business.

Lower Prices as Temperatures Rise

Want to have a little fun with the heat?

Offer discounts that increase in proportion to the temperature. For example:

–Give clients $10 of any purchase of $100 or more when the temperature rises above 100 degrees

–Try a “pay 80 percent” promotion for any day temps land in the 80s

–Post sunny “peak” discounts on the day Summer Solstice occurs

Launch a “Staff Favorites” Campaign

Everyone enjoys a good-natured rivalry, so have some fun while rewarding your best employees with a summer getaway or a valuable gift card.

Here you can generate friendly competition among staff members by asking customers to vote on their favorite barista, customer service rep, or sales associate. Clients can vote through social media, digital polls, or onsite displays. This can humanize your brand and incentivize your team to provide stellar personal service.

Give Away Summer Swag

Businesses need promotional items to help reach out to potential customers and clients – it’s just a fact.

Like a business card with a bang, clever promotional products build goodwill, name recognition, and expanded brand exposure. Looking for affordable items to catch prospects’ attention? Try frisbees, stress balls, customized lip balms, labeled clip and go hand sanitizers, zip-front drawstring bags, absorbent cooling towels, water bottles, and more.

Beautiful Outdoor Banners

It never hurts to have friends in high places, so go BIGGER with large-scale banners!

Ensure your message wins the day with this hard-to-miss publicity tool. Vibrant, strategically placed outdoor banners can grab attention near busy intersections, at the entrance of your business, or at festivals and high-traffic events. Try hanging pole banners, feather flags, retractable banners, or a giant step and repeat display (great for photo ops and selfies).

Use Sizzling Incentives to Tip Them Toward Action

Summer is a perfect time for celebration, refreshment, and the unique expression of your brand.

Want to increase the emotional attachment customers have to your business? From a dash of color on your packaging to gorgeous window decals, print promotions can be part of any summer campaign. Want to talk options? Contact Patti today for samples. pattiw@rintorder.com

Gain Undying Loyalty by Building a Company Customers Love

Every person has go-to brands for the things they buy – from their car and their phone to their coffee, cosmetics, or slippers.

And behind every brand is a company people know and love. When you want to attract people to your brand, it starts with building the personality of your business. Successful companies give people hope or a vision: their brands represent a cultivation of we could be.

Whether this is honest and pure or fun and funky, the brands we champion are an expression of our better selves.

Unique in a Sea of Monotony

Lululemon is a global sportswear powerhouse with a meteoric rise to success.

Founded in 2000, the company bounded into a crowded market and built a niche as a “lifestyle” fitness brand, offering clothes that perform excellently in the gym while looking great outside of it.

Lululemon knows that, beyond upgrading their health and hygiene habits, maturing women are ready to spend more on their wardrobes. And brand evangelists (the ‘Luluheads’) rave about clothes that flatter the figure, add color and sass, and hold their shape after 1,000 washes. Lulu’s target customer is a 32-year-old woman who has “figured it out” after graduating from the unhealthy lifestyle choices of her twenties, and Lulu inspires women to connect with their best selves using taglines like “Be You with Lulu” and “Slimming Silhouettes is Lululemon.”

While Lululemon’s outrageously priced clothes seem like an impossible sell, they are anything but. Instead, they make women feel proud to show up at the gym and allow sweaty moms to look cool at the grocery store. And that psychology works.

After all, it’s not men women are trying to impress – it’s other women.

Designing Your Customer Experience

Moving beyond strong marketing, customer experience is where the rubber meets the road.

Clients that adore your services should feel that doing business with you is like coming home. Here are three ways to make that happen.

1. Craft Excellent First Encounters

If you want to develop a strong bond with clients, a great first experience is key.

Consumer Reports surveys show that nearly 91 percent of customers will not return if a company botches the initial encounter, and two-thirds of people will walk out of a store when they feel the service is subpar.

While those statistics sound scary, the opposite is also true: top-notch companies are highly successful in customer care. Recent data shows that 81 percent of companies with excellent service records are outperforming their competition.

2. Offer Self Help Options

While five-star personal service seems like the gold standard in sales, that may be changing. Today 40 percent of consumers say they prefer “no-frills” self-service over tangible human contact, so smart companies should add simple DIY options.

How? Educational content such as newsletters, tutorial videos, or “how-to” tip sheets might be a good option for some. Perhaps live chat support, FAQ pages, or express product lines will bring convenience your clients appreciate. Web-based service portals may allow you to personally interact with customers while offering the flexibility and privacy they desire.

3. Prioritize Quality Over Speed

When you DO have personal contact with clients, slowing down can be the best approach.

According to Gallup’s research, the service is defined as “courteous, willing, and helpful.” (In contrast, customers who received “speedy” service were just six times more likely to be engaged.)

Making Brand Admiration a Reality

When people love a company, they’ll go out of their way to recommend it to friends.

They take pride in its products, purchase more frequently, and give it a second chance when mistakes occur. By building a business that customers love, your reputation will thrive, and your sales will too.

How the Best Leaders Embrace a Results-Based Perspective

More than 40 years ago, Dale Miller conducted a study that compared two groups of executives.

One group was identified by their colleagues as highly effective and ready for promotion. Individuals in the other group initially seemed promising but were later deemed unready for an advanced role.

During evaluation, each group received a deck of 62 statements describing management behavior and was asked to sort the statements on most effective versus least effective leadership qualities. After the first group finished sorting, the top behavior they selected was this: “accepts full responsibility for the performance of the work unit.” This phrase was chosen above delegation, staffing, time-management, or even technical skills.

The primary difference between these groups? Those primed for high-level leadership took full ownership over the team, its cohesiveness, and final project outcomes.

Practical Ways to Practice Personal Responsibility

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Many people who enter management are willing to accept the benefits of their position without fully embracing the pain points of this role.

Modern society often views leadership as self-serving, with the needs and desires of the individual taking priority over those of the team. But effective leadership primarily benefits the followers, not the leader. People who put the team’s needs above their own will achieve maximum influence and increase efficiency and effectiveness in their organization.

What does it look like to embrace a results-based perspective in your leadership? Ultimately, this starts with a mindset that says, “I am the person who must make this happen.” This goes beyond merely completing a task to a wholehearted commitment to the company’s best interests, including doing things for which there is no immediate reward. Do you turn off the lights if you are the last one in the building, or do you assume the custodian will do this? Responsible leaders use organizational resources with great care; they take the long view and see their own well-being as intrinsically linked to this organization’s success.

On a tangible, daily level, here are several ways successful leaders take personal responsibility:

— Asking, “how can I help?” instead of “what does that have to do with me?”

— Sharing credit when things go well but acknowledging personal shortcomings when a team fails

— Proactively seeking honest feedback about personal performance

— Acting as a buffer to protect the team from unreasonable demands on time, resources, or output

— Delegating tasks (using clear job descriptions) while avoiding the temptation to micromanage

— Being willing to forego being one of the group (or everyone’s “buddy”) to accept the social stigma of leadership

— Encouraging people to take responsibility for their own roles by highlighting the importance of what they are doing and how these efforts tie into the bigger picture

— Breaking large ventures into small steps, so people feel proud of their progress (rather than overwhelmed by the magnitude of a project)

— Ensuring team members have the resources needed to do their job (including training, equipment, access to mentors and coaches, etc.)

— Documenting poor outcomes and intentionally communicating them to struggling team members so positive changes (or eventual termination) can occur

Empower Yourself and Encourage Others

While taking responsibility can be difficult, it is also empowering.

Pursuing this results-based mindset allows you to take ownership over a situation and avoid feeling like a victim. When you take ownership over your role in every situation, you become an active participant, not a passive bystander. You are a trustee of these intangibles, and this empowering attitude helps others move forward in vitality – even when they’ve forgotten how to believe in themselves.

3 Ways to Create Pictures that Pop

Have you ever heard the expression, “a picture paints a thousand words?”

It’s true. While words can limit our ability to effectively communicate ideas, even a split-second glance at an image can convey volumes of information. Whether you’re a marketer or design specialist, it is important to employ tactics that add power and clarity to your communication.

Creating Dynamic Images with a Singular Focus

Experienced graphic artists have many tricks of the trade. Some like to blur the background of an image to draw central focus to one element. Others add texture to flat graphics by adding bevels, text shadows, or blended layers.

But on an even more conceptual level, you can communicate boldly and clearly with signs and symbols. Looking to simplify – while adding complexity? Here three techniques you can experiment with in print marketing to amplify your visual messages:

Signs

On a basic level, signs are the combination of a word and a picture to create meaning.

What comes to your mind when you see a bright yellow triangle, an image of a dog with a slash through it, or a photo of a distressed person clutching their neck with two hands? Signs convey simple, universal ideas that viewers can understand immediately. Even colors themselves can have inherent meaning!

Like a cross and skull poison symbol, signs can stop people in their tracks. Signs are especially helpful when communicating with mass audiences at a glance.

Typograms

A typogram refers to the deliberate use of typography to express an idea visually.

For example, the word “half” displayed with only the top half of each letter showing might imply an eraser effect. The word “volleyball” with the “o” popping out above the text brings a playful, spirited message. Want inspiration? Check out this 365-day challenge, where Daniel Carlmatz created a typographic logo for every day of the year!

Typograms use basic visual enforcement to add subtext to the words you display. Logos, taglines, or custom envelopes are a great place to put typograms to work.

Symbolic Imagery

While signs communicate a very straightforward message, many images have connotative meanings with far more complexity.

While a house denotes a place where you live, a home has far greater connotations (like family, security, and love). A subject, the objects surrounding it, and the editing techniques we use can all play a role in the cognitive messages we bring. Consider these examples:

  • Cropping a woman’s face to only the eye can make viewers wonder what she is thinking
  • Cropping a man’s body to only his head and shoulders may suggest he’s leaning in to hear more
  • Inverting colors may insinuate a flashback scene or a memory
  • Increasing contrast between the back and foregrounds might suggest the object behind a person is about to surprise them
  • Larger contrasts or color saturation can elicit feelings or arousal or cheerfulness
  • Increased sepia tones can give an aged or vintage look (like a photo carried in wallet)

Add Clarity and Complexity to Communicate on Many Different Levels

While language can limit our ideas, an image communicates on many different levels. Proficient designers know the more clarity or complexity you bring to your print pieces, the greater impact you will have on your target audience.

Use signs, typograms, and symbolic imagery to add emotional weight, to increase the efficiency of your communication, and achieve a greater return from your marketing dollars.

Creating a Substantial Visual Impact Through Corporate Responsibility Campaigns

In a post-pandemic world, marketers are tasked with a unique balancing act: helping people return to reality while remaining sensitive to the challenges of this era.

Today’s consumers appreciate businesses that prioritize people over products. Research by consumer authority Mintel has shown that as many as 56% of Americans will stop buying from brands they believe are unethical. Additionally, in a global survey, 91% of consumers reported they were likely to switch to a brand that supports a good cause, given similar price and quality. 

Corporate responsibility, or cause marketing, occurs when a company’s promotional campaign has a dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society. Or, more colloquially: cause marketing occurs when a brand does well by doing good.

Visual campaigns are potent, and they are even more compelling when combined with a social initiative of some sort. Here are three dynamic examples.

Cadbury’s “Donate Your Words” Campaign

In the United Kingdom, 225,000 older people often go a week without speaking to anyone.

During the pronounced isolation of COVID-19, Cadbury chocolates launched an initiative to benefit Age UK, the country’s leading charity dedicated to providing companionship, advice, and support for older individuals.

In a stark visual, Cadbury removed all lettering from the front of its dark purple packaging and replaced it with a blank tag: instead of a price, there was a pledge to talk to an older person. Blank pledge tags were also available for customers who wanted to write personalized pledges. Shoppers could take any display item to the till, but instead of paying money they could pledge to talk to an older person.

Cadbury donated its chocolate and challenged a nation to donate its words.

American Express and Small Business Saturday

Did you know that the original founder of Small Business Saturday was American Express?

Without a non-profit partner, American Express embraced entire communities by encouraging consumers to shop local and support the mom and pop stores in their own neighborhoods (presumably while using an American Express card to do so!).

Launched in 2010, local profits leaped from $14.3 billion in 2014 to $19.8 billion in 2020. Key to this success was visual marketing; to equip local businesses, American Express designed creative pieces like signage, social posts, scavenger hunt maps, recipe sheets, and themed passports to support their “Neighborhood Champions”—men and women that vowed to formally celebrate Small Business Saturday in their areas.

A Meaningful, Memorable Message

Consumers want to see positive change in the world and when your brand can be part of it, the emotional impact of your marketing will ratchet up.

Choose your cause wisely, listen to your audience, and lean in to the power of print marketing to put your message front and center. 

How to Prepare Large-Format Projects for Print

When you want to flaunt your finest, large-format printing can make an oversized impact!

Large-format printing includes products printed at a length of 18-100 inches with a minimum width of 60 inches. Some of the most popular items include posters, window graphics, yard signs, vehicle wraps, vinyl banners, media backdrops, and more.

While large-scale graphics are stunning, these projects require special preparation, so these images remain vibrant and sharp when stretched to larger-than-life proportions.

If you plan to go BIG, here are some factors to consider.

Communicate from the Start

When diving in on a large-scale printing, create a detailed brief and use this to speak to your printer as early as possible.

Try to include everything from the size, design, materials, and deadlines. Your printer will work with you to be sure your ideas are achievable, and the timeline is realistic.

Set Appropriate Image Specifications

As you connect with a printer, be sure your images match the required specifications.

Pixels per inch (or PPI) is the standard measurement for image resolution. PPI refers to the density of pixels per square inch of space they occupy. The higher the PPI, the sharper your image will appear as a large-format graphic. As a general rule, most commercially printed materials require at least 300 PPI.

The viewing distance required for your project can be a factor in selecting the appropriate specs.

Select Clear and Legible Fonts

Since most large-format products are meant to be viewed from a distance, fonts are a big deal.

Usually, sans-serif fonts are easier to read than script or serif fonts. Fonts that are too bold or have wide spacing between letters are also very difficult to read when viewed from afar. To check your font’s legibility, take a few steps back from your computer and evaluate from a different perspective.

Limit the number of fonts you use, and don’t crowd the design!

Choose Your File Formats

There are generally two file types in large-format printing: EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) and TIFF (Tagged Image File Format).

EPS – such as .eps or .ai files – can contain both text and graphics and are a better option for vector images, which use algorithms to increase an image size (rather than pixels), which preserve image quality when scaled up.

TIFF files are best for high-quality graphics, with color depths ranging from 1 to 24 bits. They can also support special Adobe features like layering and transparency.

Not sure which format is best? Your printer can help and may even have software presets they can send you in advance. No matter which file type you select, don’t flatten the original file before sending it to print. Keep an editable file to make the design and printing process easier!

Get Color Samples

Did you know there are two primary ways of displaying colors?

Anything designed for a screen – such as digital banners or a website – uses an RGB (red, green, blue) color model, while printed materials use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). RGB looks great on a screen but can look dull when printed, so you can save yourself extra hassle by converting your design file color to CMYK before you begin. If you haven’t, double-check with your printer about how to proceed from where you’re at.

Amplify Your Voice

Large-format printing offers huge promotional potential for your business.

But it can be a big investment, which is why it’s important to get things right the first time. Whatever your large-format printing needs, our experienced team can help! Whether you’re looking to build brand identity or bring curb appeal to your business, upgrade your customer experience with magnificent large-scale visuals.

Add Unity to Your Design with Clever Repetitive Elements

Do you ever find pleasure in the chiming of a grandfather clock or in honking geese as they migrate for the winter?

Repetition is therapeutic.

Rituals provide structure and something to hold on to, and they free us from the tyranny of choices and chaos. Repetition can help complicated pieces of music, movies, or books reveal the depths of their richness. And repetition in design adds consistency, beauty, and unity.

Strong designs repeat some aspect or element throughout the entire piece. The recurring element may be a bold font, a thick line, a snappy bullet icon, a repeating color or page layout, or anything that a reader will visually recognize.

From business cards to complex multi-page booklets, subtle repetition is a visual cue that ties every piece together. Want to be more intentional in your repetitive elements? Here are some options to try:

Headlines and Subheads

All text starts somewhere, and text banners are a perfect way to add graphic unity.

Are all the headlines in your newsletter 14-point Times Bold? How about investing in a very bold sans serif and making all your heads something like 16-point Mikado Ultra? Take the repetition that’s already part of the project and elevate it, making it stronger and more dynamic.

This adds beauty to the page and anchors readers in a framework of ideas.

Rule Bars or Page Numbers

When creating multi-page publications, it should be perfectly obvious that pages 2 and 12 are part of the same piece.

Beyond similar layouts, adding simple elements like rule bars and page numbers can bring harmony to your design. Try a thick, heavy rule bar on the top of each page and a narrow bar of the same color at the bottom. Label your pages with more than just numbers; design these digits with heavy fonts, fun shadow boxes or slashes, or print them vertically by rotating them 90 degrees.

Recurring Shapes

Patterns are a pleasing way to add visual continuity to flyers, reports, or even product packaging. Here are three ideas:

  1. If you choose a branch as one of your central graphics, you might add smaller leaves throughout the document (as column markers, page number outlines, or bullet icons, for example).
  2. Add colored waves behind the text that repeat in variations of your color palette or in repeating style (like a freeform eggplant shape) throughout the document.
  3. Splatter your text across a subtle background of grid and dot patterns.

Playful Characters or Color Matching

Not everything needs to be serious!

Have a little fun by adding repetitive elements that have nothing to do with your page’s purpose. Add funky bird caricatures, petroglyph characters, or a toss of confetti. Borrow the colors in these images and match or complement them with handles in your text.

Feel free to add something completely new simply for the purpose of repetition!

Consistency Counts

Don’t underestimate the power of the visual interest of your pages.

The repetition of your work will eliminate chaos and add beauty to your work. Think of repetition as consistency, but push those existing patterns a bit farther. Can you turn some of your repetitive elements into a part of the conscious design strategy? Take a unifying graphic and create spinoffs of this concept to bring subtle accents to each page.

Sound time-consuming? It’s worth the effort! Repetition matters because when a piece looks more interesting, it is more likely to be read.