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Designing Freebies That Pay

by | Nov 3, 2014 | Articles, Design, Graphic Design | 0 comments

When I was a kid, my dad sometimes attended conferences where he was showered with freebies and giveaways. I remember the thrill my brothers and I shared when he would return and open his bag of loot. Pens, pencils, candy, notepads, frisbees, and stickers were evenly distributed to us as we excitedly examined our treasures. For years, my brother rode his bike around sporting one of these bumper stickers that urged, “Don’t take your organs and tissues to heaven; heaven knows we need them here.” I always wondered why people would try to take tissues and heavy organs to heaven.

The logos and brands being advertised at that conference have long since updated or dropped out of the market, but I still remember the name of the company that was on the frisbee my daddy gave me. Giveaways, wisely distributed, can leave a good impression that lingers far beyond a trade show.

designer freebies & giveaways


Giveaways: Deal or No Deal?

For start-up businesses, participating in conferences and trade shows is an exciting opportunity, but the prospect of spending much on giveaways can seem like a waste. After all, what if all those promotional dollars are ignored and tossed straight into the hotel waste can?

The truth is, it happens. Poorly chosen freebies or less-than-stellar looking giveaways are usually short-lived. Understanding how to design your logo and brand on gifts that can sell you to a client is a huge part of planning your promotional budget. After all, for every badly designed giveaway, there is a cool freebie that will draw a crowd. Your job is to determine how to offer a winner.

Five Top Tips to Design Freebies That Pay

1. Understand your audience.

Study the demographics of your clientele. Are they predominately female? Try offering cute custom tote bags instead of tape measures or rain gauges. Are they college students? You know how everyone is always looking for a pen or pencil in class; why not offer them one with your brand? Are they farmers, hunters, or fishermen? If they are, forget any frills; selling anything remotely feminine at a predominately male trade show insures that many men will cut a wide path to get past your booth. Instead of tote bags, opt for custom plastic bags for maximum brand exposure. Match up your freebies to your customers to maximize your promotions.

2. Be color conscious.

Decide what image you want to project, and let your color proclaim it before you ever say a word. If your company boasts sustainability, use plenty of green to make that first impression one of eco-friendliness. If you want a cheerful yet professional feel, go with warm fall colors. Warm reds tend to suggest excitement, and black serves to intensify whatever other colors you choose. There are a host of color combinations that can serve to enhance your message, so make a strong first impression by selecting them thoughtfully.

3. Use appropriate typography.

Remember, in this modern age, the level of your professionalism is often determined at a single glance. If your logo is boring, overly cutesy, illegible, or unbalanced with your text, prospective clients will probably assume you haven’t done your homework in other areas as well. We’ve covered it in other articles that you can read here and here, but suffice it to say that you can catch and hold attention by remembering these key points:

Text color should contrast with background color. Never use a light text with a light ground nor a dark text with a dark background. There’s no need to camouflage your message, especially when your logo may only have a split second chance to get noticed.
Choose a maximum of two fonts: one serif, the other sans serif. This makes your design attractive without looking cluttered or amateur.
Use display fonts for titles only. Make your brand the central focal point; all text and info should be much smaller so that it only takes a glance to get your name in their minds.

4. Diversify your investment.

Instead of spending your entire promotional budget on one item, try dividing it up into three categories: candies with your logo to draw people to your booth; larger, inexpensive freebies for those willing to consider your company; and a few nice giveaways for those who actually follow through with your call to action.

5. Maximize the pitch.

Besides the fact that it means you’ve lost money, a person tossing your brand’s freebie in the wastebasket sends a message about your company to anyone who sees it. Instead of offering cute, inexpensive giveaways that will go home as clutter, try to purchase promotions that are functional and therefore will advertise your brand long after the show is over.

Using trade show giveaways like these promotional products available through Custom Tote Bags 4U can be a win/win situation for everybody if you do your homework, and it’s really not that complicated. Just remember these tips, smile, and be quick to give thanks for every customer that comes looking for a freebie.

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