by Carolyn Edlund
Can artists use copy and print services when promoting themselves and their work? Absolutely! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Staples invited me to write a sponsored post about these services, which are provided in every one of their stores. So I put together three projects to demonstrate the power of “hard copy” marketing and headed down to my local Staples store. I met with Linda, who is the Print & Marketing Production Supervisor there, and here’s what we created:
Bahamian jewelry artist Chelsea Johnson sells a collection of smokin’ hot big and beautiful fashion accessories. She has an online “lookbook” with professionally-shot images of her designs and models wearing her jewelry. Digital is great, being easily accessible and can be sent in a flash – but it must be viewed on a computer or device. Hard copies add another dimension to Chelsea’s marketing mojo.
Linda and I printed out the lookbook, choosing a glossy 24 lb. paper. We constructed a bound booklet with a clear plastic cover and “Executive” binding. It was custom-cut to 5” x 7” (the size of a greeting card) which makes it light and portable. This would be the perfect sales aid to give to a hot prospect at a wholesale trade show, or to share with press, buyers or even retail customers at a fashion show or publicity event. There is real value and staying power in distributing physical promotional materials, rather than just sharing a link to your website that can disappear in a blink. This lookbook is a keeper!
Media Kit Project
Artist Leslie Kell has a spectacular media kit that does a great job with “show and tell” and explains how she uses a complex technique of digital photo collage to create surreal, fantasy environments. She took the time to compile a professional presentation that will be taken seriously, and puts her in a position to work with art consultants, gallerists and curators.
Leslie’s media kit was also virtual, so Linda and I simply used a flash drive on one of Staples’ computers to view and make decisions about printing a hard copy of the kit. We didn’t want to lose any image quality, so we tested a few papers before deciding on a 32 lb. cardstock with a matte finish that worked perfectly.
Leslie’s kit is pretty extensive and I didn’t want to bind it, so I chose Staples’ Poly Zip Envelope to hold her materials in a clear package that would show her artwork and protect the contents. It even has a zipper, so that she could use this as a press kit and include other materials as well, such as her business card and perhaps even a piece of chocolate to entice press members to take one (yes this simple strategy does work!)
Having just launched the Artsy Shark Gallery, we needed a branded notecard for our artists to write a “thank you” to be included with shipments of artwork to new customers. We wanted to make the unboxing experience even better, and needed a quality folded card with matching envelope. Linda and I took a look at the card on their computer, and tested out a few weights of cardstock to make sure it would be perfect before I placed an order for the cards.
Here was my biggest takeaway of the day: there is real value in working in person with someone who is an expert before you place an order for a printing job! I had originally miscalculated the size of the card, and our first test produced a pixelated image that just looked bad. We revised the size and came up with a sample that had a crisp image on the right weight of paper. Linda was even able to place an order for me on the store computer for the notecards with matching envelopes to be shipped directly to me.
Using print collateral in your small creative business is a good strategy to enhance your art marketing efforts. It can work effectively with other methods, providing a physical reminder of your collection that has staying power. (Have you ever kept a postcard because you loved the artwork on the front? Others do too.)
Consider how you might be able to use printed materials in your own marketing campaigns.