Direct Mail Design: Making the Most of Visual Hierarchy Principles

Posted by Mark Gaskill on Jul 31, 2023 8:30:00 AM

Direct Mail Design

Understanding the principles of direct mail design is key in connecting with consumers. 

Research at 3M Corporation found that people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Studies show that people remember 80 percent of what they see, compared with only 20 percent of what they read and 10 percent of what they hear. 
With this in mind, you should make sure the images, logos and graphics on your marketing postcards are eye-catching, relevant and professional in appearance. 

Additionally, the various elements should be in the right places on the postcard. In fact, one of the most popular principles used in marketing is the concept of visual hierarchy – the order in which readers view things. 

Visual Hierarchy in Direct Mail Designs 

Designers who understand these principles put everything in the right place to capture readers’ attention. The more people who see your key messages, the better your chances of making an impression, and impressions lead to contacts and sales.  

People don’t randomly read direct mail. There is a flow and order regarding where their eyes typically go first, and clever marketers have the experience to make the most of these “hot spots” while designing direct mail. Hot spots include:

  • The call to action, which should be compelling and include a sense of urgency.
  • Your offer (such as a coupon, an invitation to an upcoming open house or an educational opportunity), which should be designed in a manner that instantly grabs someone’s attention.
  • Headlines and subheads, which should be concise yet engaging and informative.
  • Eye-catching imagery, which would complement the goal of your mailing by further telling the story.

Making the Most of the Principles of Design in Marketing   

While these principles of visual hierarchy are fairly basic concepts in terms of direct mail design, clever marketers and designers use many additional techniques to make campaigns effective.

In terms of design, additional tips include using eye-catching backgrounds or accent colors, as well as engaging images or illustrations. Infographics may help you tell the story quickly and in a more digestible format as well.

Placement of text on the postcards is key. Using simple, compelling and succinct headlines and overall messaging is important to avoid confusing or overwhelming recipients. Remember to highlight callouts for key information, and always include a clear call to action.

See our AMPlified Mail blog channel for additional messaging and design tips. To begin creating compelling direct mail postcards using one of our professionally designed templates, visit our home page or log into our platform.


Topics: Direct Mail Designs, Direct Mail Marketing, Principles of Design, Design Visual Hierarchy