Marketing collateral is a necessity if you want to spread the word about your business. It gets people to notice you and provides information about your business. However, if it doesn’t have a great design, it could end up in the trash.

With every other business providing marketing materials, it can be hard to make yours stand out. Here are a few suggestions to give your standard items a fresh look.

Business Cards

In addition to using a different shape or size, play with different stocks and imprint methods to make your business cards stand out with a unique texture. You can also extend the card’s shelf life by giving it another use. Put a punch card for your reward program on the back or include information relevant to your business. For example, if you own a coffee shop, give a free coffee for every 6 or 8 drinks purchased. There are many ideas to choose, see here for some design examples.

Presentation Folders

Everyone knows a stellar design on the cover will get people to at least open your presentation folder, but how about freshening up the inside? Continue your design on the back panels or incorporate the pockets into the mix. Try a different pocket shape, such as wavy or vertical. Make sure your business card slots not only hold your card in place, but also are a part of the design. Traditional or round notches can go on the top and bottom or on the sides. Slots can also go on the corners, too. You can also play with business card slot shapes by using custom slots as seen in this guide.


Give updates on your business and industry in a monthly newsletter. Use a newsletter design that matches your branding. Let people know about upcoming events and sales, as well as ways in which you are helping your community. In addition, give your audience resources they can use to make their lives better, whether it’s with a how-to guide or an interview with an industry influencer. Include images and charts to enhance key points and break up text. By not making your newsletter only about your business, you show that you genuinely care about your audience.

Direct Mail

The key to having a great design for direct mail is getting people to open it. Match the design of your envelope to the tone of the contents. Use solid, bold colors to get recipients’ attention, but keep the design simple. Too much clutter makes it look like junk mail, which will end up in the trash. Increase the open rate by using a font that mimics handwriting; this makes it appear more personal. Include any important messages on the envelope’s flap, like the example shown here, so people will see it as they are opening it.

Marketing collateral can sometimes feel like a necessary evil when it comes to advertising. If it doesn’t have a unique design, it’s ultimately a waste of money. There is a fine line to walk between having a great design and still informing people about the business. Be sure to try different strategies one at a time to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully, these tips will help you give a new look to some old favorites.