Why a DIY Design Will Ruin Your Newsletter

Why don’t you pay your dentist to cut your hair?

Easy: Because your dentist didn’t go to school to become a cosmetologist.

When companies hire The Newsletter Pro, they also hire our team of trained and experienced graphic designers. Trusting the design of a newsletter to an office manager who’s handy with Word is as detrimental to a custom newsletter campaign as trusting a hairdresser to one’s oral health. Don’t opt for a DIY design …

You need a professional designer

“The I-can-do-it-better approach is all wrong,” says The Newsletter Pro’s Lead Graphic Designer, Emely Srimoukda. “And one of the great pitfalls of a do-it-yourself design is it looks like everything else in the mail.”

The problem with a DIY design is it’s built using popular trends in mind — all red colors in script fonts. The final result is a piece of direct mail disguised as junk. At The Newsletter Pro, anything that looks like junk mail just won’t cut it. The purpose of customization is to create a direct mail campaign that stands out as a trustworthy extension of your brand that isn’t buried among ads for new cars and pre-approvals from credit card companies (which all go straight to the recycle bin).


Emely Srimoukda, Lead Graphic Designer at The Newsletter Pro

According to Emely, amateur designers don’t know what professional graphic designers know: Every design is one big mind trick (this is especially true for newsletters). Every newsletter and freestanding insert (FSI) is carefully planned, so images, text, and color all work in tandem to promote ease of use and readership. And she would know. As a Newsletter Pro Lead of two years, and a graphic designer of another five, Emely’s seen a lot of DIY disasters in her Newsletter Pro tenure.

In addition to playing visual mind games, professional graphic designers know how to make calculated decisions. Images show direction and lead a reader’s eye. Colors are chosen not only to fit a client’s brand, but because they compliment one another. Fonts are chosen similarly, so no corner of a Newsletter Pro direct mail piece is too hard to read. Everything is sized and fit to print exactly as it should be.

Emely’s team at The Newsletter Pro is highly trained to make direct mail and newsletter campaigns operate at maximum capacity. And every campaign needs a Pro designer for three reasons.

1. Consistency

When it comes to a direct mail campaign, consistency is everything. No matter what, readers must know where a piece of direct mail is coming from just by looking at it. Amateur designs fall short of consistency almost every time, particularly in the form of FSIs.

FSIs are perfect for sales copy that doesn’t sacrifice the integrity of a newsletter. They include calls to action, upcoming event announcements, and special offers. They’re also highly mobile — carried around in cars, purses, and briefcases for extended periods of time.

So when the time comes for action to be taken, readers must instantly know what company the FSI belongs to, why, and what they — as a client, patient, or consumer — need to do with it. None of that can be accomplished by an inconsistent, DIY design haphazardly thrown together on a Word document and sent in to print as a difficult-to-manage PDF.


The result of a DIY design.


Take the piece above: Pictured above is an example of a DIY design. Not only is there no logo, company name, or phone number on the page, but it’s also lacking balance, with no consistent fonts, colors, or images. That brings us to the second reason you need a Pro graphic designer.

2. Esthetics

Amateur designers decorate, professional designers communicate. While a design may just be pretty to your average do-it-yourselfer, a designer knows that every click of the mouse, every font, every photo placement, and every tagline tells a story. Not a single choice gets made without intent from the designer behind it. Without the intent of that visual communication, it’s easy to end up with a haphazard design. If you’ve ever baked a loaf of bread, you know that the greatest danger is to overwork the dough. Too much kneading, in that instance, can leave you with a loaf that more closely resembles a baseball bat.

Similarly, in design, it’s far too easy for amateurs to add too many fonts, too many colors, or to try and work too much in and end up with a haphazard design that can be exhausting to the eyes of your clients.

professional designIn addition, when you look good, you feel good. So when an amateur design doesn’t look good, readers won’t feel very good about it either. You can’t position yourself as the expert in your industry if your direct mail piece looks like something a high schooler threw together on Microsoft Paint.

Professional designs are a mind trick, and not one that just anyone can pull off. Images lead readers to text. Professional designers make sure that the colors being used are bright enough that they can be seen when printed. No script fonts are too hard on the eyes, and no bold fonts overwhelm the page. Professional designs can visually communicate and build confidence in your brand.

3. Branding

“Whenever I speak to a client, the first thing we discuss is their brand,” Emely says. “If I know what their brand is all about, I can communicate it through their design. I’ll look at their website and existing brand materials to customize their newsletter. I once spoke with a client who hated everything about her current branding, but she had one business card design that she loved. So I customized her newsletter from that one piece of branding.”

When brand expectations are consistent and clear, direct mail campaigns come together seamlessly. Any company that persists in DIY design efforts risks putting out a product that struggles to connect with its brand and its target demographic. On the flip side of that, companies that invest in a professional team end up with a product that stands out in all the right ways. Just take a look at this example below. Every font, color, and photo is consistent with the client and their brand.

Professional design

professional newsletter

The Branded Website for Benson Ortho

Benson Orthodontics’ printed newsletter and inserts match their branded website for a consistent patient experience.

Don’t Be a DIY Design Disaster

The Newsletter Pro’s graphic designers work tirelessly to make sure every direct mail piece matches its client’s brand. Each brand also speaks to a demographic, and if the visuals are already consistent and aesthetically pleasing, our client’s demographic will be satisfied every time. Plus, The Newsletter Pro uses licensed images and fonts that don’t infringe on copyright laws — the kind of thing you don’t want to worry about while you’re trying to run a business.

From start to finish, DIY designs cut corners in marketing and hurt the readability of a direct mail piece. And at The Newsletter Pro, everything we do is customized. Our done-for-you process comes with a team of professional graphic designers all trained to make the most of your direct mail campaign. Anything less can damage brands, reputations, and bottom lines.


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