The human eye works like a camera, focusing light and transmitting the image to our brains, where it’s translated as good, bad, mildly pleasing or so incredibly bland and/or ugly that somebody should have tossed it back up in the ugly tree where it belonged! When you step outside, what thrills you more: Fields of snow stretching on for miles on a gray cloudy day, without a single burst of color in sight, or the brilliant glow of the trees and flowers that come out to play in the summertime?
There’s a reason why seasonal affective disorder isn’t usually associated with summertime. Our brains are pre-programmed to recognize and appreciate brilliant colors, beautiful sunsets and the sharp contrasts of summer as opposed to seeing life in an endless scale of black, white and gray. When you made your website, you made it with those sharp contrasts and brilliant colors in mind. You made it so that it was designed to stand out in the crowd and entice people to stop by and take a look. You made it so that it would appeal to the visual senses of your consumer.
That’s precisely what you need to do with your offline marketing materials.
I recently read an article on taking the CSS design of your company website and using it to create your direct mail marketing materials. The article in question actually advised that less is more-in other words, that what you needed to do was pick through the images and design on your website to pull out key features and leave the rest out on the web where it belongs. I’m here to tell you that I disagree. When designing your images on the web, take more. Just don’t do it all at once. Use your header for a direct mail response card, your website layout for your newsletter or your FBML page for the front of a flyer.
If you put time and thought into the design of your website, you already have amazing visual resources at hand that not only capture the eye of the reader, but also serve to promote your brand, and translate perfectly into your direct mail marketing materials. What are you waiting for?