How to Design a Postcard That Doesn’t Make You Cringe [Free Postcard Templates]
You likely envisioned this cringe worthy card right away. The eye-piercing colors, the font (let’s not get started on kerning) and the awkward, impersonal phrasing – combine these into one and you have a card that makes you cringe. Coincidently, it is also the kind of postcard that ends up in the trash.
Sadly, this happens more often than we’d like. In an effort to help you create a postcard design that is none of these things, we gathered some tips, free postcard templates and tools to help you. Designing a postcard shouldn’t be a burden, it’s actually quite fun and crafty to do from the comforts of your home.
About postcards that don’t end up in the trash
There are a few basics that you need to cover – images, fonts, the copy and the design. We’ll look at all the steps individually to help you with the process. One thing that is true, is that a postcard that looks like it has been made with care and an artistic eye is less likely to end up in the bin.
How does one achieve this? First of all, you need the right visuals and words will resonate with people. You have to make it quite personal, depending on your audience and your objective. Creating a card for a family members is not the same as creating one for your business’s marketing needs but applying the same rules sure helps.
The reason for this statement is that so many of the corporate cards lack a personal touch. In an effort to seem sophisticated and professional, one can quickly lose the sentimentality that is in the essense of postcards that are worth keeping. On that note, let’s get started.
Stage one: Choosing images
Including people in marketing materials is always a great idea, however, it doesn’t work as well with postcards. Postcards are an opportunity to get a little more creative and use illustrations, patterns and bold graphics. You have to start with an image to work with and this can be a number of creative shots and compositions.
Think of postcards as a mini poster. Posters don’t usually feature really happy people or images with jolly customers. Postcards require a different approach. The goal is to stay neutral, all the while providing an extension of an artistic point of view.
Keep in mind that the image you choose can also contribute to the overall emotional response from your postcard receivers. This is when colors become extremely important. Avoid dull looking images, with toned down colors and little contrast.
Stage two: Picking fonts and phrases
What is the tone of your message? Is it formal, informal? Playful, fun or very serious? This will determine what goes on your card, an the font you’re going to use. Much like words, fonts have personality which is why this is the most important aspect after the visuals and the design.
Suppose you want to keep things light and jolly for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Decide on a greeting or a message that will the focal point of your postcard. Next, you have to pick a font. Valentine’s Day has a very dreamy atmosphere, which is why decorative fonts are okay to use. However, for something a little more corporate, decorative fonts are a no-no.
If you’d like to learn more about font pairings, have a read through this article. The fonts you choose are so important because they do come with an unspoken but very clear tone.
Stage three: Moving on to the templates and design
All these tips can be seen implemented using VistaCreate’s free postcard templates. To get started on your design, go to the VistaCreate homepage and find ‘Postcards’ in the list of formats. You will find that the templates are suitable for any occasion, and customizing them will take you a fraction of the time than if you were to create a postcard from scratch.
We’ll take a look at some simple designs and pick apart the lessons that can be learned from these successful postcard templates.
1. Limit fonts to 2 and have a focal point
This template keeps things at the minimum. The focal point is on the beautiful illustration which doesn’t steal your attention from the words. Notice how the fonts are limited to just 2, making it very legible. This template can be changed to have your message and company name as well as the logo if you’d like.
2. Choose a memorable pattern
We talked briefly about how great patterns are on postcards. This thematic image makes for the perfect background because the different elements make the postcard visually more interesting.
3. Find the perfect image and you’re halfway there
Illustrations are another quick solution because they’re vibrant and artistic. This beautiful illustrations serves as an artwork on it’s own. Paired with the right message on the little bit of empty space is a quick way to fill up your canvas.
4. Going back to basics
The digital world makes it hard to step away and return to the origins of postcards. Keep in mind that you can achieve something more personal with your design. This postcard template is an example of a postcard that looks like it embraces the spirit of physical postcards. It’s another way to incorporate your own images into your designs.
5. Contrast and more contrast
Contrast works in your favors with many different formats. If you want your message to pop, use a darker background. Contrasting colors will demand attention, as does this lovely combination of dark blue, red and white.
Summing it up
- Keep it simple – the secret to all great designs
- 1 clear message – don’t crowd the space
- Smart color choices – contrast and more contrast
- Relevant and eye catching visuals – illustrations, patterns, bold still life
- Customize them – start with a postcard template
You can use this article in a number of ways. You can start by looking through VistaCreate’s postcard templates and get inspired to create something from scratch, or you can use the tips to alter existing templates if working from scratch intimidates you. Either way, you’re a better designer already for caring enough to want to design a card that won’t make anyone cringe.