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Designing Promotional Products for the Holidays

by Arianne Foulks

January 14, 2016 / Updated: January 18, 2023

Every year, we design a Christmas-y card to send out to our clients. This year, we had some leftover ideas knocking around in our heads from our big branding session for Aeolidia in 2014, so we included some fun gifts as well. You can get your logo printed on almost anything, and most of what’s out there is cheap, tacky, or just unnecessary clutter in your recipient’s life. We have put a lot of thought into designing promotional products for Aeolidia that are fun to receive, and aren’t immediately tossed in the garbage.

For Christmas this year, we sent out cards, tattoos, and my favorite: branded chocolate coins!

Customer gift design and packaging

I’d like to share our design process in this post, and then I’ll be sharing all the details about the printers and product packaging suppliers in my email tomorrow (subscribe now so you can see where we got this all done).

Designing business-to-business Christmas cards

holiday gift packaging

Our cards are anything but corporate, of course! I gave Mariah, Aeolidia’s designer, free rein with these because she knows Aeolidia’s brand so well and is basically a genius. She came up with the merman in a seaweed wreath, which is so perfect. The merman has been a real star lately.

Mariah came up with using the, “Let’s face unafraid the plans that we’ve made” quote, which is so great for this time of year, as our clients are all thinking about big moves they can make to distinguish themselves in 2016.

My email tomorrow will have info about who we ordered from, and the picky little problem I had with the printing.

Designing temporary tattoos

temporary tattoo design

I try to keep away from trends, but temporary tattoos are one trendy thing that I just love. Even if our clients wouldn’t wear one, they probably know a kid or two who would be happy to sport our merman, so it’s a fun gift to throw in. Mariah designed some nautical tattoos that celebrate creative businesses with slogans like, “make great things,” “born creative,” and, simply, “designer.” Mariah loved the idea of including a whole bunch of teeny tattoos to choose from, and we even have a wraparound wave for some slender wrists.

There was a moment where we considered metallic gold, but we decided on a dark charcoal, for a more aged, nautical look than 100% black (and more realistic than metallic). The tattoos came out perfectly, and we’ll share the company we went with and what we liked about them in the email.

Designing branded logo chocolate coins

designing branded chocolate coins

I love these so much! Mariah had the idea for these over a year ago and we now have them! These make awesome Christmas gifts, and they work with Aeolidia’s nautical “pieces of eight” vibe year-round.

We started with a very detailed design, had a legibility problem, and redesigned with fewer fine details. You can see our first idea and our second, below:

logo chocolate coins

We had such a fiasco ordering these and learned a lot about designing to imprint in chocolate. You’ll want to get tomorrow’s email to hear about the company that disappointed me, how I solved it (and got my money back!), and where we went for the final beautiful coins.

Putting it all together

Our Christmas gift box
Our Christmas gift box

It wouldn’t set the right tone to just throw all these things together into a plain padded mailer, so of course we considered packaging, too. We needed boxes, tissue, and bags for the coins. All this info is great to know for any business that sends gifts and other products in the mail, and it will all be covered in tomorrow’s email, the second in our print and packaging series.

Sourcing printers and packaging suppliers

I would like to share which printers and manufacturers we worked with to produce our marketing materials and packaging. I am also going to tell you about:

  • any problems I had with printers
  • how we saved money when we could
  • where and why we splurged.
  • what I learned through the process (there were some mistakes!),
  • what I would do differently

Have you sent or received any fun client gifts? Please share in the comments! Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter; we share expert tips and useful resources every week.

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