Miscellaneous Advertising Handbills — Posters – Tickets
By George Frink
Tickets & Invitations
Printed tickets and/or invitations can be used with good results to accomplish a two-fold purpose. Multi-night performances benefit from the distribution of admission tickets in that they give you an idea of the attendance each night as well as help avoid having overflow crowds on some nights.
If lack of seating space is not your problem, but you want to get the word out in a very special way, then you might print invitations. These can vary from doing something on your copier to having them printed by a commercial printer Invitations give your members a way to make your guests feel very special for having been invited to your concert. Choir members especially like to give their friends an invitation to an upcoming program. It makes the program seem very special to your musicians as well as to their guests.
Posters & Handbills
Posters and handbills share a lot in common so far as the qualities which make them effective. They need to convey a message quickly and effectively in an attractive manner. Neatness and good design are important to both. Neither benefits from being cluttered or by being too wordy.
Color and proportion are important attributes of a good poster. Contrasts of color may be accomplished through the use of colored board or colored lettering and artwork. Proportion considerations on a poster take into account the size and number of illustrations, the kind of lettering style, and the various sizes of lettering to be used.
Detailed information on how to letter a poster, the wide variety of materials available, and many hints on poster making short cuts may be found in books on the subject. Stores for the commercial artist and engineers’/architects’ supply stores are likely sources for how-to books, artwork and supplies. A number of books as e in print on poster making, silk screen process printing, the preparation of copy for offset printing, and the like. Specialized studies of such texts will give you detailed information in these exacting art fields.
Some general suggestions will be helpful in getting you started.
1) Determine your central message and pin it down to a short phrase.
2) Use one or two easily understood illustrations–a line drawing, graphic illustration, or a high-contrast photograph. Snap shots do not usually make good posters. A photo might be scanned, cropped and enlarged to make it more acceptable poster material
3) Sketch your general poster ideas onto a piece of paper.
4) Try several arrangements of your information so that it looks best to the eye.
5) Be willing to omit words or illustrations to avoid a cluttered look.
6) Use any size of board that fits your purpose. A poster does not have to use all of a standard 22 x 28 piece of poster board.
7) Use very light, penciled guide lines to keep your lettering straight and orderly. Art gum or a “pink eraser” will erase these lines later.
8) Use larger and bolder (thicker) lettering for the more important parts of your message.
Smaller lettering should be used for lesser important information. Do not use more than two or three styles of letters. Do not use a letter too small to be read at a glance when walking by the poster.
9) Use color contrasts. Colored ink on colored board usually results in unpredictable changes in the ink color. Use a scrap of board to try out your idea. Black ink or inks with a high degree of opacity usually work best on colored board.
10) Be willing to take the time necessary to make a good poster.
The poster for I Believe in America was done in two colors on offset press. The stripes of the flag and the word America were in red, while the field of the flag and all the other copy were done in navy blue.
Printing in two colors is not difficult even on a single color press. The complete artwork can be assembled in camera-ready form, and then printing masters or plates are made for each color. In the above case, every thing was covered with carefully trimmed, blank paper so that only those areas to be printed in red showed. A second printing master was then made by covering the red areas to print in blue.
A handbill is not too different from a poster. The reader should be able to get the body of your message in mind in a few seconds. One or two clear illustrations and a few well-chosen words can go together in an eye-catching design to:
1) Get the prospective reader’s attention
2) Drive home your message. If your handbill takes more than about ten seconds to read, then it may not get read at all.
A good size for handbills is 5½ x 8½. This size is convenient to print as well as to distribute. The convenience comes from being able to print the handbills two at a time on 8½ x 11 paper and then cutting them apart, thus cutting your printing time in half
Colorful handbills attract attention. Black ink on any pastel color does well. Handbills may be done on a mimeograph, copier, or offset press. The use of colored inks on an offset press will add to the effectiveness of your handbill, but color change is likely as mentioned above. The degree of opacity changes from color to color and from combination to combination An experienced printer can give you advice at this point.
Color copiers will give you full-color photos and artwork. While the price per copy is many times that of most any other method of reproduction, this is a good way to make a few copies of a poster. With the cost of such copiers continuing to be reduced, the availability of these machines is becoming more common, and the price per copy continues to go down.
Color inkjet printers are, perhaps the least expensive way to print out color. Large posters can be made by tiling your printout. With more sophisticated drawing software, the computer will automatically breakup your oversized image into page-sized, overlapping prints. These can then be trimmed for an unbroken, composite image comprised of up to twelve pages.
The It’s Always Growing Season poster was done on CorelDraw 5.0 and printed out on a Hewlett Packard Ink-jet 855C printer in full color. It was then trimmed and mounted on a piece of white, 30 x 40-inch foam board. At normal poster viewing distance of, say, five feet or more, the paste-up lines of the tiling are not visible. Colors on the poster included green treetops and blue lines behind the trees; black lettering at top and bottom; red lettering for WMU lines. The trees are generic CorelDraw clipart.
The above poster is a good example of using simplistic design to get one point across to the observer–a meeting. Two other posters at the same meeting covered other primary emphases.
Economy of artwork is possible sometimes. A given design can work as a poster, handbill, newspaper display ad, and as the artwork for your weekly mail out. It will work only with very careful planning. Your design can be easily sized to fit the need with a reducing/enlarging copier.
A well-done handbill can be used as a poster as well as handed out to the public. Sometimes blanketing the hallways with handbills is just as effective as a few posters.
A couple of examples of posters and a handbill are shown on the preceding pages. You will notice that a lot of white space is used and that the most important information hits you in the face at first glance. Both posters were a source of artwork for other uses.
The handbill was printed with black ink on a wide variety of colored paper. Thousands were given out in a number of campgrounds in Myrtle Beach by youth choir members.
One final note concerning posters and handbills. Take them down when the event is passed. Old posters are an eyesore and don’t do anything for your publicity program. Be as enthusiastic about cleaning up as you were about putting up.
Perhaps the most important publicity program you will run is the one within your choir or music group itself. Their knowledge of what’s going on and general attitude about their group is at the center of any successful venture.
A vital element in promoting a group to itself is a monthly letter. The time and effort and the postage spent are well justified. Such a letter gives you a vehicle for 1) praise for a good job done on last Sunday’s music, 2) a special announcement of importance, 3) recognizing people who have made a special contribution to something the group has done recently, and 4) publicity of upcoming events.
A newsletter needs some sort of name and an attractive design for its news head. You could, of course, just call it the Choir News. Some have used newsletter names such as The Scroll, The Music Scratchpad, Staff Lines, Overtones, and Choir Notes. Such names lend themselves to interesting artwork for a news head.
Find an artistic person and ask him to help design a news head for your paper. You may even have someone available who has graphic design software on his computer.
The news head size and design should not be overbearing, but large enough to command importance. You might consider printing a quantity (say a year’s supply) of your news head through a commercial printer. This way your newsletter looks great, and you can add color or other more sophisticated qualities. Some possibilities are illustrated below.
The frequency of publication may be monthly, quarterly, or weekly. A “more or less” monthly works, too. That is, you print about once a month if there’s something to talk about. This kind of flexible schedule lets you publish your next issue in just two or three weeks or stretch it out to six weeks or so as the level of news dictates.
The “within-the-group” newsletter can be conversational in style or more formal in presentation. Your articles may be written in the third person or stated as if the newsletter were a personal talk from you as the director. The personal newsletter must be written with care so that it’s not just an opinion page. Too much me and I gets old fast.
Include a lot of news on a positive level and list as many names as possible. People like to see their names in print. List their names this month and they’ll read for several months running just to see if you wrote about them again. A list of 100% attendees is one simple way of getting a few names in print of people who never do anything big except that they are faithful. Be sure your attendance checks are accurate, though.
The format of your newsletter may take a number of avenues. Standard 8’/z x 11 or 8’/2 x 14 paper sizes are easy to work with. Both will fold into convenient mailing sizes. Lighter weight paper should be mailed in an envelope. Heaver weights of paper–60 or 70 basis offset paper (24 or 28 lb. copier paper) –should be used for self-mailer newsletters. The heavier paper stays folded better and holds up better in automatic postage machines and mail-handling machines.
If your mailing list is less than two hundred names, then you will be using first class postage. If your list is close to two hundred, then add a few friends’ names, or otherwise get your list over the two hundred mark so that you can use the third-class permit postage rate.
Permit mailing requirements have been growing steadily more exacting since about 1996. Learn the latest rules from your Bulk Mailing Center. Free brochures are available, and training seminars are held from time to time. Take a sample of our propose mailing piece to the BMC counter for their examination. This may save a trashed mailing that does not meet postal requirements.
Include interesting or comical artwork in your newsletter as filler material. Occasional teaching bits of information may be used from time to time. Subjects such as: what is an eighth note, hints on good breathing, how good posture affects singing, and the like. Poke fun at yourself once in a while. It makes you seem almost human.
Don’t crowd the page. Allow white space between articles and between columns. Three to four blank lines should be left between the end of one article and the start of another. Three-eights to a half an inch should be left between columns. A fine line drawn to separate the columns is a practice used by commercial newspapers, and you may wish to do so. This helps the eye follow the copy.
A to-the-point headline will set the tone of your newsletter as well as help draw your reader into the following copy. Keep your headline wording simple but interesting. Cleverly worded headlines are a practice used by may newspapers, but sometimes too cute is too cute–be sure you’re understood.
A couple of sample newsletters are included as examples. One is rather straight-forward, and the other got a bit crazy with the use of backwoods vernacular.
The Calvary’s Love newsletter was computer set on a very early program by Spinnaker called Better Working Word Publisher 5.0 and printed out on an Epson dot matrix 24-pin printer.
It’s sometimes a challenge to publish such a letter on the morning after, but this particular letter was in the mail by mid-morning on the day after the performance. It’s the kind of news that really should not have to wait until your choir members get back to church on Wednesday night. Besides, many of them think that they have “finished for the season,” and you need to “speak” to them before you’ve lost them completely.
When everything is ready and proofread you are ready to print. Print a few extra copies of your newsletter and discard any copies that didn’t make it through the printing machine or folder in good condition.
You want every copy of your mail out to be a good copy. Just because most copies looked good is not reason enough for one or two bad copies to get into the mail. Consider that each copy is a personal letter to somebody, and that you want that somebody to have a representative copy in his mail tomorrow. It’s embarrassing to find out that one of your most sensitive members got a blank inside page in the mail.
Use a good grade of paper for your mail out. Colored paper and/or colored ink also may be used for an attention getter. An eye-catching phrase near the address will help get your mailer read. Try a hand-lettered phrase such as:
Read Me Quick
Read the BIG News
Important news for…
Or use other such lines that will pull your readers’ eyes inside. You are in competition with a great deal of junk mail, and the church’s return address may not necessarily be an incentive to the recipient to open the mailer up. Talk about your mailer in rehearsal as if you expect the membership to read it. Make the news important and make the newsletter an important news link. Use it as a first point of announcement. Your members will learn to give it importance and read it more carefully.
Article “Miscellaneous Advertising, Handbills — Posters – Tickets” is excerpted from “Publicity, The Fine Points of Promoting Your Events”. Written by George M. Frink.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”