Making the first contact with a potential client is important and creating the right impression is vital; the professional approach is to create a mail-shot that is simply posted to the recipient. Knowing what to send and how to package it is paramount to your mail-shot's success.
Traditionally, illustrators produce postcards as samples of their work. They are relatively inexpensive to produce, cheap to send, and art directors and designers often have filing systems to accommodate them for future reference. Postcards are normally A6 in size, but a double-Sized A5 card can look more professional. There are a vasl number of print companies that have tapped into the market for producing postcards, many working exclusively for freelance photographers, models, actors and illustrators. Their rates can be reasonable as they gang up' the artwork, printing entire sheets of cards and not beginning production and print until they have collected enough artwork to lill the sheet.
Results can vary; some print companies will only supply a digital colour proof that will not give any information about the quality of the colour-match between the artwork and the final print, You tend to get what you pay for.
A successful way of creating well-printed cards on a good stock is to set up a group of illustrators and photographers - enough for an entire sheet - and approach independent printers with the job. Remember it will increase the workload for the person charged with coordinating artwork, payments, preparing the digital files for the printer and ensuring that the deadline for delivery from each of the individual artists is met. Many illustration groups or collectives operate their own print programme to enable a steady and regular update of their printed publicity in exactly this manner
Postcards can leave some illustrators cold, believing that as creative individuals they should produce promotional materials in line with this - something more personal and memorable, It is true that other formats may interest and intrigue the viewer, but the life expectancy of the piece should be questioned. If it is too large to file with postcards, or to stick on to a wall or notice board, or if it is expected to take up valuable desk space, it is likely to be kept just hours rather than months. Every morning of every working day designers and art directors open their post, which mostly contains promotional materials from freelance creatives, and they make snap decisions about what to keep and what to bin.
If promotional material is to be effective, must grab the viewer's attention and present the facts and contact information in a clear, but interesting manner.
Ensuring the arrival of promotional material on the right desk of the right person is only one aspect of the self-promotion process.
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