Today, I was reading an article on top trends in direct mail design, and they included the usual suspects (more color, more personalization), but trend one caught my eye. It was the use of icons in print design. You know, the icons we are used to seeing in email and mobile.
This is something I’m seeing more and more. It caught my eye, in fact, because I recently saw it in a powerful case study from a college wanting to encourage more applications from high school seniors. The direct mail piece used mobile icons and sent respondents to a personalized URL site designed to look like a mobile phone screen where the CTA buttons looked like the icons for mobile apps.
When reaching out to a target audience, speak their language, right? Studies continue to show that direct mail remains a powerful tool for reaching 18-24-year olds. In part, this due to oversaturation of digital media, but it is also because even this demographic continues to prefer print for content that requires concentration, deep comprehension, and information retention.
This may be counter-intuitive in a wired generation, but when it comes to critical content, you can’t fight physiology. The brain responds to print differently than it does to electronic media. Combine this with the type of graphics that this age bracket are used to interacting with nearly constantly at other times, and you have a truly powerful combination.
If you have clients looking to reach into the 18-24-year-old bracket, consider encouraging them to integrate familiar mobile and online icons into the layout.