Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Book Review: "Designing Direct Mail that Sells"

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Designing Direct Mail That Sells by Sandra J. Blum (FYI: this is an Amazon.com affiliate link. They send me a small referral fee if someone buys this book through the link given on my blog.)

This book was loaned to me by a fellow graphic designer friend, Melissa Balkon, and it was well-worth the recommendation from her. I learned a ton about the basics of direct mail design.

The book covers a multitude of formats of direct mail and explains well the rules and tips of direct mail design. Most informative were the case studies that show-cased why certain conventions are followed. This was extremely helpful in my understanding of why certain conventions, that I considered ugly, are consistently used, time and again. Just because something's not 'pretty' doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't work. With direct mail (and most design, for that matter) it's all about the recipient. Who your intended audience and their persona should drive every copy and design decision.

Perhaps my one hang up with this book was that many of the case studies are now a bit dated. I would love to see some updates to include how conventions in direct mail have changed since this book was last published. Email and web marketing had not reached the level of use that we see today when the book was published and I'd be curious to see how some of these designers and copywriters have incorporated new technology into their direct mail strategies.

But even despite a bit of 'dated-ness' I'd highly recommend this book to any designer getting into direct mail design or really anyone, for that matter, who wants to understand how and why direct mail marketing works.

If you'd like to purchase this book from Amazon.com (and earn me a small bit of money) you can click the link above or use this link here. Thanks!