Improve Your Printed Collateral By Choosing Unique Formats

printed collateral

6 Minute Read

Businesses of all sizes know that it’s a must to incorporate printed collateral into their marketing strategy, just as much as digital mediums.

Whether it be B2B sales sheets, sales and marketing collateral, catalogs, brochures, direct mail campaigns or rack cards (to name a few), they’re all necessary items to physically and tangibly demonstrate your company’s purpose and value.

To achieve results from your sales and marketing collateral, you will need to think strategic and use innovative design-thinking to grab the attention of your target customers. Your printed (and digital) communications are one of the best tools to differentiate your company from others within your industry.

Make no mistake, a compelling piece of printed collateral can impress! Often a company is more willing to select you as a partner or supplier simply due to familiarity. It’s important to hold a track record of happy customers to upkeep an excellent reputation and eventually a strong and recognizable brand.

Whether you present your new collateral to your target prospects in the mail or live, they’ll likely consider your business more memorable, especially if it’s strategically and consistently branded with concise messaging and a clear call to action. Adversely, they can be just as easily turned off if your materials appear haphazard and fail to communicate your product or service offering.
So why not increase your chances of a prospect purchasing from you by blowing them away with your clever printed collateral? Consider all of the unique additions that could be made to enhance it such as a cunning use of brand colors, appropriately placed and compelling graphics, the use of unique die-cuts, as well as incorporating out-of-the-ordinary paper, bindery, and complimentary enclosures for packaging.

Check out our expert suggestions on how to take your printed collateral to the next level. Incorporate one or more of these unique practices to develop an eye-catching print piece that will convert your prospects into paying customers and generate higher conversions while increasing revenue.

1. Dimensions & Format

Consider various sizing options for your printed collateral. A large-scale printed piece may make a more significant impact, but it could be overwhelming for the reader. A smaller option may be the perfect way for you to catch a prospect’s attention or conversely, it could be too small to be deemed important. It all depends on the content and how you plan on presenting it visually. When it comes to a font or typeface, size, don’t go smaller than 10-point. There’s no right answer so make sure to take into consideration how the piece will be used.

CCG Pro Tip: 8.5″ x 11″ (full page) and 8.5″ 5.5″ (half page) continue to be very popular sizes. Instead, try 14″ x 7″, 11″ x 14″ or “5″ x 7″ on your next printed piece. Think outside the box.

2. Bindery Techniques

The bindery techniques that you select for your printed collateral can dramatically affect the perception of your piece and may even impact the content flow and how your message is perceived by your audience. Choosing the right bindery techniques can also set the stage for interactivity. Depending on the type of collateral that needs to be developed, you should select optimal bindery techniques that complement and highlight your content. With hundreds of materials, sizes, colors, and finishes of bindery available to you, your options are limitless. You can stitch, screw, coil the pages, or even use eyelets, spirals or rings.

Other unique bindery techniques include copper stapling, saddle stitching, and Japanese stab binding (also dubbed WA). If you want to create a set of informational ‘key cards’, consider using a screw post (or Chicago Screw) to bind them together. This interchangeable aluminum (or plastic) screw allows you to keep a set of cards securely attached to one another so they can be easily read and fanned out. Need to swap out or add a few pages, no problem. Take a risk and let your binding be the star of the design!

3. Printing Effects

To enhance the overall look of your collateral, try incorporating cool printing effects that will add some flavor and spice! Some unique printing techniques to explore include the use of Pantone colors, spot UV, Aqueous varnish, embossing, and foil stamping to name a few. Not only will these additions bring a sense of elegance to your printed collateral, but it will invite prospects to pay a little closer attention to the information as these additions make your piece appear more sophisticated and higher-end.

CCG Pro Tip: If you’re submitting your own artwork, try to find a reliable local printer to work with, so you can be on-press to ensure accuracy. If you’re using an Agency of Design Firm, they will most often handle this for you as a value-added service.

4. Die Cutting

If you really want to stand out from the pack, consider using die cuts in your printed collateral. Cutting a custom shape into your brochure or changing the footprint altogether can make a tremendous impact, and you won’t have to blow your budget to do so. Instead of designing a square-cornered brochure in a standard size, try developing a shape that’s a silhouette of your company’s icon or other approved design elements that may connect with your customers. The die cuts you use don’t have to be extravagant. Play around with a simple reveal – or a cut that showcases or completes another design element inside or below it. Maybe a half-page cut to draw the readers eye to something in particular or use layers to show depth and create a 3D look and feel. These are excellent practices to showcase your brand’s uniqueness. So go ahead and develop a brochure that has never been seen before!

5. Three-Dimensional Pieces

Grab attention and bring your sales and marketing materials to life by using three-dimensional pieces. Make your brochure, holiday card, or direct mail piece instantly unforgettable by using interactive and dimensional print pieces that are relevant to your business. Use this unique format to include details about a specific promotion, a new service offering, or a product that prospects would otherwise not be aware of and create maximum interest.

6. Folds

The way you are folding your company’s brochure or any other printed collateral for that matter can make all the difference in how it reads. Although incorporating folds could be quite challenging when information must be strategically broken up, if done correctly, your messaging can make a lasting impression. Initially, you must ask yourself what the goal is for the printed collateral and what content you want to highlight. Give the tired trifold brochure the boot by stepping out of your comfort zone and treat your prospects and clients with a memorable experience. A unique folded piece paired with a thoughtfully executed design will surely engage and convert.

7. Secondary Packaging

An excellent way to elevate your brand and impress is by adding secondary packaging to retail products or custom enclosures to sample products. Adding additional layers of packaging is a magnificent way to more deeply brand your product on-shelf. This allows you more real estate to communicate and answer more questions making your product more enticing. This addition also has a way of making a product feel more valuable to the buyer.

8. Specialty Papers

You may not think that your paper selection is impactful to your printed collateral, although it makes all the difference. Choosing the most appropriate paper can cohesively tie it all together. Generic ‘house’ brand stocks may cause someone not to take your business seriously, so make sure you that you’re taking advantage of the variety of paper choices that are at your fingertips. If you’re unsure of what’s available, ask your design firm to assist. They have close relationships with their trusted partners. Keep in mind that the type of ink you use (offset vs. toner-based) can reproduce very different depending on the type of paper. Try textured, waterproof, silk, velvet, or glossy papers to draw more attention, and don’t shy away from incorporating fabric fibers. With so many options available, consider your brand essence and what you’re trying to communicate, then select complimentary papers that work for you.

You may also be interested in:

The Critical Importance of Graphic Design in Business

Ways To Avoid an Embarrassing Email Signature Design
Optimize Your Email Marketing To Drive Traffic
Where Should I Advertise and How? 


My team and I at Costello Creative Group have been helping businesses solve communication challenges since 2012. Prior to starting my firm, I spent eight years gaining powerful insights as an Art Director supporting global Marketing & Account teams for one of the largest Flavor & Fragrance organizations in the world. CCG’s focus in the F&F sector came naturally, but we continue to work cross-industry to maintain our diversity in both our thinking and creative approach. We partner long-term with clients to support them with everything from ad campaigns, digital marketing, branding and visual identity initiatives, to sales collateral, packaging, sales kits, and trade show materials.

To learn more about working with us, please visit Our Firm and our FAQ.

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