Apparel is an ever-evolving promotional product with constantly changing new styles to keep up with. As apparel promo products change each year, how are you standing out from the competition? Check out our top apparel trends for 2022 below so you can stay on top of it all!
For an inside look at the ever-changing color trends for apparel, promo, design and beyond, look no further than Pantone’s top colors for 2022! Stay on-trend and top-of-mind this spring with these calming yet bright shades that are sure to keep your customers’ attention.
In honor of Black History Month, we want to take the time to recognize some of the inventors, printers, and designers that helped move our industry forward. From peanuts and presses to newspapers and 7-UP, these forward-thinkers and their ideas helped shape our industry as we know it.
Ben E. Keith, a distributor of food service products and premium alcoholic beverages, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, hosts an annual Mid-South Food Show. The one-day show featured technology demonstrations, over 150 of their vendors showcasing their latest items, an American Culinary Federation Culinary Competition, guest speakers, and even a party the night before.
They wanted a special look for this years event. It was important that the look communicate their overreaching focus of simply providing customers with fundamental tools they need to succeed. They also desired an fun, creative and edgy look that fell in-line with the spirit and goals of both the company and the event.
The solution was a logo that literally spotlights a spoon in front of an audience. The logo would be used on specially die-cut hexagon shaped brochure that would be distributed to customers during food deliveries. They also used JPG images from portions from the design to promote aspects of the event in their client email campaigns during the weeks leading up to the event.
Historically, the speaking portion of the event had not yielded a great deal of interest from participants. However, this year they had made a special effort to acquire speakers they thought would generate interest and likewise wanted to be sure those seats were filled. Because of the time constraints of the show, the keynote speaker would present one hour before the published event start time. The night before the event the staff cut-off the portion of the leftover brochures that featured the speaking schedule on one side and the cover graphic on the other. They handed those out to guests at their party the night before in an effort to drive traffic to both the early speaking event and the mid-day presenter. The result was great. Both the speaking events and the food show was well attended. They indicated that not only was the design creative and very fitting for the event, but that the hexagon brochure design was also key in getting attention and sparking conversation. Their only wish is that they had utilized the logo design in more of the event’s promotional items like tee shirts and banners.
CustomXM added a new division, SignsXM. It wanted to find a unique way to announce its new offerings which included all types of wide format printing, including banners, signage, wall graphics, vehicle graphics and more. CustomXM also wanted to use a cross media, multi-channel approach that would drive results and illustrate CustomXM’s marketing capabilities.
CustomXM created a unique, dimensional mail piece that included a personalized mini-banner for all recipients. CustomXM encouraged recipients of their “Awesome Banner Thingys” to post photos on Instagram, which would qualify them for entry into a prize drawing.
420 pieces were mailed to prospects and current clients of CustomXM. Over 12% of recipients responded and completed the online survey. Additionally, over 13% of the recipients posted photos of their Awesome Banner Thingys on Instagram accounts. Many of these respondents were a different subset than those that responded to the online survey.
The campaign received quite a bit of social media buzz and accolades from local ad agencies. It immediately led to meetings and opportunities for signage and direct mail proposals for clients and prospects. Many of these opportunities led to new business within the first three weeks of the campaign.
This campaign also received national recognition by receiving two Bennys awarded by the Print Industries of America during their Premier Print Awards, an international print competition.
The targeted audience was current clients and prospects of CustomXM.
At CustomXM, they like to market themselves a little differently. They like to use the marketing tools they are constantly advocating, and they like to have a little fun. They accomplished all this and more with their “Awesome Banner Thingy” campaign.
Recently, CustomXM added wide format services to their offerings. They even created a separate division, SignsXM. But they felt that it wouldn’t be enough just to tell folks about these new services, it would be better to show them. And have them show others.
To engage its target audience, CustomXM developed a dimensional mailer – an 8” x 8” x 1.25” box complete with a personalized label informing recipients that a “surprise” was inside. Inside the box was the following:
- A personalized envelope and note card introducing the new division and services.
- An instruction sheet showing recipients how to put together their own Awesome Banner Thingy
- A QR Code that linked to a video explaining how to construct the Awesome Banner Thingy
- The actual Awesome Banner Thingy which was a 3.25” x 7.5” vinyl banner, personalized with the recipient’s name, complete with a grommet and very tiny banner stand.
To encourage responses recipients were given two opportunities to participate in a prize contest
- By visiting their personalized website and completing a survey
- By sharing a photo of their Awesome Banner Thingy on Instagram
REASONS FOR SUCCESS
The main reason for success was a clever design and personalized promotion.
Article courtesy of W. Caslon & Company, 2015, PODi.org
How much would you pay to have not one, but two cows dance in front of your logo?
As you think about that, consider this –
Today we have the luxury of being able to purchase anything, absolutely anything, from our laptop or phones. And this omnipresent availability has driven our price expectations and realities to incredibly low prices. But even at that, what would you expect to be able to purchase for five dollars?
Surprisingly, and maybe even frighteningly, quite a bit. Maybe you’ve heard about Fiverr.com. As defined by Wikipedia, Fiverr is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, beginning at a cost of $5 per job performed, from which it gets its name. The site is primarily used by freelancers to offer a variety of different services, and by customers wanting to buy those services. Over 3 million services, over 100 product categories, all starting at $5. Is this a great country or what???
A quick review of the Fiverr web site will show you that most of the services offered tend to cater to those desiring some sort of creativity – graphic design, copy writing, branding, stationery design and even legal services. Well, I certainly appreciate a creative lawyer.
But for $5.00? Really?
Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, let me say just a few things:
- We offer creative services (duh), and charge much more than $5.00.
- We often use local designers and other freelancers and they charge more than $5.00.
- I appreciate a bargain.
- I’m willing to try most anything once.
- And I have used Fiverr.com not once, not twice, but three times.
And I feel really good about it.
Our First Fiverr Foray Featured Fingers. Just take a look…
We had so much fun with that one, we decided to get more fingers and hands involved with Play-Doh:
And finally, we decided to splurge and celebrate the fact that we are, All About That Print.
But does this whole cheap-creativity-on-demand undermine our services, and those of other artists, designers and creatives?
Here’s why –
- Few, if any of these “gigs” cost $5.00. Most all of them have add-ons. My Finger Fiverr was in fact $5.00; the Play-Doh video was $25.00, and as far as the All About That Print video, I rewrote the lyrics – Fiverr provided the music and vocals for $85.00. We produced the video in house.
- These gigs are what they are – inexpensive and expedient. They may serve a specific purpose, but you do need know what you are looking for.
- And you absolutely must remember, as in most all things, you do get what you pay for.
So if you need to have cows dancing in front of your logo, by all means, use Fiverr. But if you need true creativity, a concept, a cohesive design, or a true marketing campaign to tell your story, you will need to look elsewhere. Preferably here.
The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub approached CustomXM about creating a logo for “The Hub” that reflected their purpose and appealed to their varied and in-the-know target audience. The Innovation Hub represents a new effort aimed at promoting entrepreneurship through business incubation, academic research, technical and manufacturing assistance and job training in central Arkansas. With these aims in mind, it is the top-tier organization for the creative energies of three separate, but related ventures – The Silver Mine, Art Connection and the Launch Pad. These groups will be housed under the same roof and thrive in the atmosphere of collaboration and creativity.
The style for the logo and collateral needed to be clean, contemporary and edgy to appeal to an innovative audience that is well versed in contemporary trends. At the same time, we wanted the tone to have some wit about it, a down-to-Earth feel that was careful not to appear stuffy, exclusive or restrictive, as highly modern design risk coming across. The Hub’s vision of being a place that welcomes everyone – from the young, novice student to the well established professional. A vision of being, perhaps above all, being a place that encourages creative exploration and hands-on experimentation would be a vital part of how their look would take shape. Additionally, it was important that the logo reflect a sense of place, community and of being a central “hub” for so many different initiatives.
The solution successfully captured all it set out to do. The drop-pin icon – a current symbol now recognized universally as the badge of “place” – points to an ambiguous surface revealed only by two concentric circles that work to further enhance the importance of the pin’s marked-site. The circles appear to be ripples in the surface, perhaps made from the impact of the pin’s fresh landing – not a coincidental reference to The Hub’s goal of making some serious waves here in central Arkansas. Script type used for the words “The” and “Hub” recall mid-century style and compliment the rigid and forward slanted sans serif used for “innovation” – which appears to be caught in the act of innovating both upward and forward. The letters IN are made red to support the idea of being “the IN place”- being IN-the-know, getting people INvolved, and further emphasize the concept of place and INcluding everyones interests.
The administrative staff of The Innovation Hub currently leads a sort of nomadic existence while they await the completion of The Hub building (although subject to change at any moment, as we speak the Hub staff is actually working just down the hall from us at our sales and marketing office location) We have assisted with exterior branding during their stint at 419 Main Street, printing and installing this window graphic last November. Subsequently, 419 Main Street is now the HQ for the online retailer Bourbon and Boots. We were stoked when they asked us to outfit them with their window graphic too!
In addition to the work we’ve done, we also have just started brainstorming big plans for some pretty cool large-scale signage and wayfinding materials in the building once complete. More on that to come…