Last year, I did this post about Holiday/Christmas cards after receiving several crappy electronic cards, some of which were simply sad looking emails with “Holiday/Christmas” clip art in them.
As I said in my post last year, a Holiday card is an opportunity for contact with your network of customers, partners and suppliers, and like all such contacts with those parties, it is an opportunity to build the relationship, so it should be done right.
When you meet a client for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you don’t go to McDonalds. When take a client to a hockey game, you don’t buy seats at the top of the upper level. And when you take client golfing, you don’t go to the $14 green fee municipal course. So why then do some senior corporate executives think that it is acceptable to send out a Holiday email that clearly took no more than 5 minutes for their assistant with zero graphic design skills to prepare?
Anyone that has ever been in my office can attest to the fact that when comes to paper, I don’t want it around. But I’m sure I’m not the only person that likes to put received Holiday cards up on the window sill. Now I’m not saying e-cards can’t be well done. I have seen several clever ones and even forwarded a couple to friends and colleagues.
At Thornley Fallis & 76design a lot of what we do is electronic communication (websites, multimedia, online communities, blogs, etc), but I still think its important for our staff to send their network of contacts a physical Holiday card that will stay around their office longer than the time it takes to open, maybe read, and delete an email message.
We usually start work on original concepts in October, we then have them printed, pull together about 1000 addresses/labels, and get them in the mail first week of December. Over the years, I think we’ve come up with some pretty good cards that reflect the ‘personality’ of our firm and the people that work here.
This year, our Creative Director Dom Coballe and Designers Shawn McCann, Jeff Young, Ben Watts and Meghan Gough took things to another level. We asked staff to bring in personal Christmas/Holiday photos on themselves from when they were young. We then designed a series of four retro-looking cards (shown below) that the photos were incorporated into. We identified the staff members in the photos by name, current title at the firm and age at the time the photo was taken (e.g. Keelan Green, Vice-President & General Manager, Age 4).
We also produced a website so card recipients could view the other three cards in the series and we added in an interactive photo album so we could include more of the staff photos we collected. The website address (www.onepiecesnowsuit.ca) is on the back of each card.
Now, of course, not every organization can design a card in-house like we can, but firms like 76design are available for hire. If you can’t do it in-house, hire a design agency or freelancer to help you do it right. It won’t cost that much and it will enhance this contact with your customers, partners and suppliers.