In direct mail the design of your piece must be eye catching to get the attention of the reader. So with that in mind symbolism is the key component of your design. The definition of a symbol is something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance; especially: a visible sign of something invisible. So why use symbols in your design? When done right, symbols can be used to exploit the most unconscious human desire. Therefore when incorporated into the design, symbols gracefully create associations between a company and what the company wants to represent without the viewer even realizing it.
Tips on Using Symbols
1. Tell a story. Remember, not all symbols are created equal. Do your research and make sure the symbols incorporated in your design convey clear and concise meanings.
2. Check for conflicts of interest. Do not use multiple symbols in one design that could possibly represent conflicting ideas. It is ok to combine ideas, but be careful to not overload on symbols, or group symbols that cause conflict. You want the design to convey a united message.
3. Examine symbols from multiple perspectives to avoid misinterpretations. What a symbol represents in one culture may not be what it represents in another. This is extremely important for companies who seek to create international identities.
4. Make sure your communication is clear. Each design should clearly communicate something. That something is left up to the viewer to determine. Symbols are very powerful communication when used correctly.
A symbol is usually a picture that tells a story or a combination of graphic elements that represent something to the viewer. Therefore, you must avoid misinterpretations of your symbols. The last thing you want to do is use a symbol incorrectly and as a result make the company look bad. Today people and companies are more readily recognized for what they represent than for who they are. Symbols have become very important, and the use of them increasingly complex.
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