8 Ways Designers Say “Thank You” to Great Clients

Some design clients can be a nightmare, but—whether you’re a freelancer, part of an in-house team or in a design firm—a strong, long-lasting relationship with a client is an invaluable asset. You get consistent work, good testimonials and trust that helps build and maintain your credibility, as well as opens the door for more creative opportunities.

Each year in our Promotion & Marketing Design Awards, we see all sorts of beautifully-designed gifts for design clients. To celebrate the spirit of giving this holiday season, check out some of our favorites from last year:

1. Make-A-Wish Gifts


 Title Make-A-Wish Gift | Design Firm/Client Eleven Peppers Studios, Gambrills, MD; www.elevenpeppers.com | Creative Team Kristen Parks, art director; Kate Rodman, designer/illustrator; The Eleven Peppers Studios team | Printers Indigo Ink, Windmill Letterpress | Details To say thank you to our clients, we made donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each donation was revealed in a custom-designed package.

2. The Li’l Book to Beat Boredom


Design Firm/Client Lodge Design, Indianapolis; www.lodgedesign.com | Creative Team Jarrett Hagy, Jason Roemer, creative directors; Ross Shafer, Eric Stine, Eugene Ernsberger, Skyler Lawson, Bryan Morgan, designers; Cole Farrell, writer; AJ Scamihorn, project manager | Details For their holiday giveaway, Lodge Design hand-assembled a book of activities for clients and friends to enjoy.

3. Pay It Forward


Design Firm/Client Column Five, Irvine, CA; www.columnfivemedia.com | Creative Team Josh Ritchie, Nate Butler, art directors; Andrew Effendy, designer/illustrator
/photographer; Lindsay Hathaway, copywriter |
Printer Aardvark Letterpress | Details Column Five discovered a beautifully written letter from Benjamin Franklin that illustrates the pay-it-forward philosophy. They decided to create a poster based on the letter using modern typography, illustration and design styles.

4. Mini Insta-Theater

Promotion & Marketing Design Winners: The Best Promotional Design; Best of Show by Gifts for the Good Life

Design Firm Gifts for the Good Life, Severna Park, MD; www.giftsforthegoodlife.com | Creative Team Heather Arak-Kanofsky, art director; Susan Turnock, art director, copywriter; Nathan Kanofsky, illustrator, photographer; Bethany Coyle, illustrator; Sherry Warner, copywriter; Frances Warnagaris, project manager | Printer Gifts for the Good Life | Details The Mini Insta-Theater was a personal gifting experience created for top clients, featuring images curated from their Instagram feeds. The team engineered, designed and produced a portable “Mini Insta-Theater” complete with tiny projector, snacks and screen. The piece unfolds from a small block and becomes a theatre set-up with simple directives and snack storage. The goal was to showcase their paper engineering skills, attention to detail, and storytelling through innovative packaging. They intended to deepen connections to their clients by highlighting moments they shared through social media. As a result, NASCAR contracted them to create a series of Insta-theaters for their V.I.P. Summit centered on brand storytelling.

5. Pinnacle Bank 10-Year Anniversary Gift



Design Firm/Client Karsh Hagan, Denver; www.karshhagan.com | Creative Team Camille King, Lindsey Mills, designers; Dave Fymbo, copywriter | Printers Public Letterpress and Laser Engraving, InkLounge | Details To celebrate a 10-year client relationship, Karsh Hagan designed a wine bottle and poster set for Pinnacle Bank.

6. PBD Holiday Gift: Soda

pbd_soda_img_3480 pbd_soda_img_7695_aa1

Design Firm/Client PBD, Brookline, MA; www.pbdboston.com | Creative Team Shannon Beer, Natalie Pangaro, art directors/designers; Holly Broussard, Jennifer Whitty Dominguez, Mary Reed, designers | Printers Zoxxbox.com, Avery’s Beverages | Details After years of explaining, “No, we’re not a brewery,” PBD finally opted to put their name to clever use. Private-label birch beer and root beer made for cheeky holiday gifts.

7. Horrible Things


Design Firm/Client Ultra Creative, Minneapolis; www.ultracreative.com | Creative Team JoEllen Davis, Matt Schuster, Johna Reuvers, art directors; Sutasinee Seitz, designer; William Burns, copywriter; Krystal Myers-Leehy, production | Details These packaged chocolate bar designs transform not-so-wonderful themes (irrational fears, tech problems, insolent children) into alluring and visually appealing graphics.

8. Warmest Holiday Wishes


25. Title Warmest Holiday Wishes | Design Firm/Client Latitude, Minneapolis; www.latitudeelevates.com | Creative Team Jason Strong, art director; Levi Lowell, Theresa Ptak, designers; Lisa Hall, copywriter | Details Latitude sent friends and clients branded Faribault Woolen Mills blankets made from natural and renewable materials saved from the landfill.

Perfect your approach to client relations in these online courses and workshops from HOW Design University: