5 Tips for Evaluating Your Promo Piece

Generic_Competition_Logos_Promo_300x220Editor’s Note: In HOW‘s Sept. 2014 Self-Promotion Design issue, Peleg Top wrote a great piece about why you should change the way you approach self-promotion to truly woo the best clients for you. In that same issue of HOW, Bryn Mooth and Sarah Whitman profiled winners of the Promotion & Marketing Design Awards who were recognized for their outstanding design. Read on for an excerpt from Top’s piece, and to learn how 1 Trick Pony‘s winning project hit the mark.

5 Tips for Evaluating Your Promo Piece

As you’re creating your promotional piece, you want to keep in mind that the goal is to bring love into your business (love being good clients, cash flow and all that good stuff). You’ll know when you’ve created a genuine love-bringing piece when you’ve answered “hell yeah” to the following questions:

1. Did this piece bring me joy while I was creating it?

If you’re not enjoying creating it, your client probably won’t enjoy receiving or looking at it. Bring the passion you have for design and pour it into this work. In other words, don’t hold back! Be bold, be risky, be experimental.

2. Is the piece authentic to who I am?

Your promo piece needs to be an authentic reflection of you, as it will be a genuine preview of what it’s like to work with you and it will provide value and usefulness to your client. Make sure that whatever you create celebrates your voice, your thinking and/or your humor.


Given that 1 Trick Pony’s promo piece was recognized in HOW’s Promotion & Marketing Design Awards as a winning design, we’re willing to bet that the firm answered “hell yeah” to all five of Top’s questions. For its 10th anniversary, 1 Trick Pony sent clients this creative “Alcoholidays” featuring 12 new holidays. “We cast different men from the agency as models for each month, and put the ladies in control to flip the pin-up calendar stereotype on its head,” says Rob Reed, 1 Trick Pony partner and creative director. “We wrapped the whole thing up in a two-color overprint technique that required custom decoder glasses to see—and bound it on a die-cut, silk-screened chipboard. The result was 365 days full of Alcoholiday cheer.”


3. Am I excited to get this piece out there?

Do you get butterflies as you send your promo piece out there? Good. That means that you’re taking a creative risk and you’re leaving your comfort zone. Only good can come out of that.


Want more promotional inspiration? Check out 5 Years of Graphic Design Self-Promotion: 427 Winners.


4. Will this piece make the recipient feel special?

People like to be paid attention to. The more personal your piece is, the more your client will respond. As you’re designing your piece, think about it as a gift you’re giving to your client. The more special the gift, the more your client will remember.

5. Is the piece useful? Does it truly serve the recipient?

Your client will keep your promos if they’re of value to them. Don’t make the piece all about you. Design something that will serve your client and help better their world.

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“Since this is a big self-promo project for the agency that everyone looks forward to each year, we’re all willing to put in some extra hours to make sure we can pull it off,” Reed says. “Going on a press check at the printer with everyone wearing decoder glasses was a highlight too,” he adds. “It was great to see the guys running a six-color Heidelberg with their decoder glasses on.”



Promo Piece Credits:
Promotion & Marketing Design Awards category: Outstanding Designer | Title: Alcoholidays Calendar | Design Firm/Client/Creative Team1 Trick Pony, Hammonton, NJ | Printer: Print Art Inc.

2015_promo_web_ads_april17_300x220We hope Peleg Top’s tips have inspired you to evaluate your own promo pieces, and maybe even take the leap and enter your strongest project in this year’s Promotion & Marketing Design Awards—the only award that specifically recognizes outstanding promotion design work.

Whether it’s a self-promo to showcase a design firm’s capabilities, a project that touts a client’s goods, an announcement for a major life event, or a student designer’s résumé or design portfolio, if it’s your finest promotional design work, we can’t wait to see it!