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4 holiday design and messaging tips

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Holiday Designs

Holiday designs are a time for fun, and they offer a chance to step outside of the box. Get creative, but most of all, be memorable.

Your design will need to truly resonate with your audience to cut through the holiday messaging onslaught and grab their attention, if even just for a few seconds.

When designing for the holidays, the most important thing to remember is know your audience.You need to know what will resonate with them.

You can tug at heartstrings, take a humorous approach, deliver an overarching goodwill message, or engage viewers. Starbucks Red Cup Challenge, which was a result of the 2015 plain red cup, and REI’s #OptOutside campaign are great examples of impactful holiday designs.

To help you create your design and craft your holiday message, follow these four recommendations:

Be Real

The holiday season is not the time to design bottom of the funnel campaigns or messages. Be genuine in wishing your customers and prospects a happy holiday season. You can bet that your audience doesn't want to receive a happy holiday email or card, read your lovely message, then get sold your latest product.

There's a time and place for selling. The holidays are not one of them, so keep this in mind as you develop ideas for your holiday designs and its associated content. 

Be Sensitive

Every business is different. Every audience is as well, so when it comes to the holiday message you deliver, it's really up to you.

If you're a non-profit associated with a specific religious denomination and organization, it might be OK to be very specific with your holiday message and design. On the other hand, if you are a B2B or B2C operation with a diverse customer base, delivering a more generic "Happy Holidays" message might make more sense. That is to say the content should have a broader appeal, but the design and look can still be visually appealing and unique.

In the end, as the owner or an employee representing the owner, it's your right to deliver your holiday design and content in whatever form you like. That said, the goal is to send a positive message that resonates with your entire audience, not just a segment. The last thing you want is to alienate some of your customers, even if you did so innocently.

Be Brand-Lite

Once you have decided on your overall approach, you need to think about color schemes. There are strong color associations with the holiday season, but it is also important to think about how you can incorporate brand colors. If you're taking
a subdued brand messaging approach, adding some touches of your brand colors may be a way to subliminally reinforce awareness. The overall goal should be to let your audience know the message is from your organization without making them feel as though you are marketing or selling too heavily.

Be Strategic

You've decided on your messaging approach and what your design will look like. But what is the best way to deliver your message?

Think very carefully about the medium that you choose to deliver your holiday message. Again, this depends on the size of your business and the demographics/personas of your target audience. 

If you're a smaller business with a smaller customer/lead base, sending personalized, signed holidays cards is a great approach. Any time you can personalize holiday messaging, do so within reason.

With the weeks before the holidays already being a mad rush to the finish line, you don't want to overcommit or burden staff by involving them in a cumbersome, time-consuming holiday card project.

Find the medium that suits the size of your customer/lead base and your market, and roll with it. Common sense will guide you down the right path.

Well, that's it: Four tips for creating impactful holiday designs and content. Be genuine, sensitive, brand-lite, and strategic, and have some fun. Your customers and prospects will appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity. 

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