Taking a summer break from the usual 8-page newsletter, the Allegheny Land Trust decided to still produce a mailer focused on summer conservation activities which volunteers could join in. Social networking, e-newsletters and other electronic communications do get the news out, but for “inviting” someone to an event, a mailed piece is still more effective than electronic communications alone.
They had planned six events for the summer, each different and in different conservation areas. With less copy and a summer theme, this could be colorful and fun—not that the usual newsletter isn’t, but this could go a step farther. They suggested the post card idea and I thought something that would make the piece interactive would make it more likely to be kept and used throughout the three months the activities spanned and fixated on the idea of a strip of coupons.
You can print a dotted line and even add cute little scissors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that people will actually cut where they are supposed to, so I wanted real perforations. I obtained print quotes for the variations I had in mind just to make certain all those perforations wouldn’t be way outside the budget, but knowing the capabilities and equipment at several of my printers I knew it would work, and it did. A series of perfs all in the same direction is typically less expensive than including a perpendicular perf, so though I had wanted more space for the top area and mailing area, this worked out better than I had thought for fitting copy into the shape.
And then the real grabber—a free t-shirt if you bring your coupon to the event! Well, no one actually did that, but they did have people sign up for events right after the mailer arrived in-house, so it drew attention to the events which was the primary purpose.
I wanted a layered, dimensional look with lots of color. Though I began with each date a different summery color, like turquoise, magenta and lime green, to show the difference among them, neither they nor I were fond of them being different colors and I also decided to stay with more “earthy” tones, color indicative of the activities advertised. Yellow and green worked the best with the base photo, and little bits of red really stood out for the date for each event.
The main image was taken by ALT staff from a volunteer conservation event a year or two before which we’d used in a newsletter, and though the image wasn’t large enough to fill the background I copied and repeated elements from the photo to elongate it to fit, flipping the areas I pasted in and enlarging them for the sake of perspective, and added a 50% white screen over the coupon area to differentiate it. Of the little thumbnail photos, the Sycamore Island one was also taken by staff and used in a newsletter. The rest are from my archives, the top from an actual event at Wingfield Pines and the bottom red-winged blackbird from a visit there. I photographed the purple loosestrife from a canoe on Chartiers Creek and rounded up some canned and boxed goods and flipped a gingham tablecloth over my washer for the image of the food.
The post card back, below, includes the mailing area plus the information and disclaimers for each event, and of course the offer for a free t-shirt. It was totally fun to do something different for this customer! Visit their website for more information about how they conserve land in Allegheny County.