Friday Tips: Utilizing Postcards and Newsletters


Peanut Sauce, Pastel on Museum Board, Deane Kube 

I’ve written this section under the assumption that you’re not yet in a gallery. If you are in one, just follow their lead on this issue; they’ll likely know how to handle it. If they don’t, just have them read this blog, or my book. Please note however, the blog’s free.

Postcards, like copies of articles, are a very useful promotional tool. All you need is a well-photographed image of a strong work to produce one. Most printing firms, and postcard companies, can help you with layout. I tend to prefer companies that specialize in postcards, since they’re often the cheapest.

On the front of the card the most important thing of course is the image, and the quality of the reproduction. Assuming that you do have a good image, you have two choices: put your name in large letters above the work, with title, medium and size in smaller print below; or print the front as a full bleed and put all the information on the back. In my gallery, until an artist is established, we always put their name on both the front and back. This helps clients to understand, at a glance, who did the work. Later, after you’ve achieved global fame, you can opt to have the name on the back only.

On the reverse side, whether or not you print anything on the front, you’ll need your name in large letters, and beneath that the contact information. If there is room for a brief bio, then that can go beneath the address and phone number. For the front, use the format I’ve laid out above, or in the book if you like. But whatever format you use for the reverse side, please be careful to not place your address in the lower section of the card; if you do, the postal computers may read this as the mailing address, and send it back to you. In fact you must leave the lower 5/8 of the card blank.

You do not need to have a major show under your belt to qualify for printing postcards. You don’t need to have landed a significant commission, or to have sold the work pictured. You don’t even need to be established. All you do need is one or more pieces that you feel represent you at your best.

The same applies to newsletters. Of course in order to warrant printing a newsletter, it’s best if you can provide your readers with some actual news. Don’t worry if your career isn’t that advanced yet; those things will come in time if you’re dedicated. Besides, the bulk of all newsletters are composed partly of fluff. Their only purpose, really, is to inform prospective clients and galleries that your career is advancing. You don’t care to write one? Perhaps you’ll eventually join a gallery that already does, and that will include you. But whoever writes it, make certain it’s brief, based in fact, with crisp images and an impressive layout.

The point is, whether you utilize postcards, newsletters, or both, the printed word, when married to impressive images, is a powerful combination. By handing these to prospective clients, you’ll find that you look established, and feel established. I advise you do this early in your career. It will become a good habit, and a worthwhile one, especially when dealing with the public at art fairs and juried shows.

What about those art fairs? When will I discuss them, how to get into them, and whether they’re worth the bother? Soon enough.

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