Fun & Creative Promotional Tips for Artists

By Carolyn Edlund

Want some unusual ideas to promote your art, and make yourself and your work more memorable to prospects or potential collectors?


Dr. Jody Janati, a professor of Communications at the University of Minnesota, offers some great tips for artists looking for a promotional edge. Dr. Janati has a website at Communication/Innovation, where she helps clients deal with difficult people. She also teaches communications classes which include marketing ideas.

On her own website, she has featured mini-sized business cards made by, with different messages on each, enclosed them in a small pillow box, and placed a custom-printed silicone wristband around each one, as seen below:


creative business cards


Flip that idea around, and vary the images instead of the message. has a “Printfinity” option, which offers cards with varying images on one side, and your contact information on the back. Choose images of your best work and have a selection available at your next trade show, for collectors, or as part of a special promotional mailing piece to your top gallery prospects. Use the pillow box idea, or a decorative brad to bind your “mini portfolio” together like a fan, for a quick presentation.

Want your art to “pop” at your booth? Have a custom umbrella made at ArtsCow featuring your art. Or, t-shirts, tote bags or other printable items. Use them as part of a creative display – or even have one made for a collector who buys the original.                           

Send your art out into the world – by putting your portfolio images on postage stamps! It’s perfectly legal, and adds an extra touch on thank you cards, invitations and other messages you want to send out to clients, prospects and friends. Handwrite addresses on the envelopes to ensure a higher open rate. Check out details at Picture It Postage or Zazzle.

Want to showcase your work in a professional, hardbound “lookbook”? is one site which creates custom photo books to show your portfolio. Use them in your booth, at gallery appearances, presentations, or as special gifts for collectors.


Have you got an innovative way to promote your art?  Please share your ideas for creative marketing!


  1. As a teacher myself, I’ve discovered that teachers are a great source in the community for promoting hand-made crafts. Most teachers are somewhat crafty themselves, so they tend to have an appreciation for your work to begin with. Administrators are also always looking for ways to do nice things for staff without a lot of money. I know on my campus, administrators seek out donations from local restaurants and stores to provide door prizes for meetings or end of year gatherings. This is a great way to not only say thank-you to local teachers, but to also have your work seen as other teachers “ooh and ahh” over the cool prize someone else won. Schools also have many clubs and organizations that look for silent auction items for fundraisers as well.

    • Great ideas, Nettie! When we think in terms of who is in our network and go from there, we create many more opportunities for ourselves!

  2. I use local radio. Costs nothing but an email or a phone call. Last week the presenter was asking about products that were “Made in….?” so I commented about my paints and brushes. Presenter not only read out my comment but said how much she liked my work, suggested listeners visited my website and even spelt out my URL so they’d get it right. Result!
    Next week I’m recording a local radio interview which is timed to go out the week before my Open Studio event. None of this necessarily results in sales, but it’s might do, and it’s all brand awareness.

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    It’s a pleasure reading your blog and seeing your work

  4. Kerra Lindsey says

    Love the tip-off for and getting varied images on the cards-nice! Great post, Carolyn-I’m retweeting. :). Cheers! -Kerra

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