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Direct Mail Invitation: Artists’ Garage Sale Process Book By: Rachel White


The Objective: The goal of this assignment was to create a direct mail invitation and “envelope” that can be mailed out. The mailer would have details on one of four events: the Glorious Garden Festival, the Artists’ Garage Sale, the Sounds of the Season, or the NY Art Book Fair. The mailer would use text and have images that portrayed the idea of the event. Multiple pages and panels would be added to support the text and images.

There were no restrictions on the direct mailer’s size, but color was expected be a factor in it’s presentation. Due to printing issues, color compensating would be a factor in the design process. This project expanded my experience working with multi page documents and creating imaging to reflect a concept.


Brainstorming and Sketching:

To begin, I chose a topic between the four available options. I decided to pursue the Artists’ Garage Sale since the event seemed the most appealing out of the four. The others seemed boring and I wanted to explore different ways of presenting art mixed with rural imagery. I began by designing a simple book with a flap to present the information. The flap would have velcro or a glue dot closing it shut. The outside imagery is the art supplies sold at the sale and the information is inside the book.


My second page of sketches are of an art easel direct mailer. The easel represented both the art and supplies that were being sold at the event. I was planning on having the necessary information (event, date, time, and place) on the main canvas, with complimentary postcards that come with the easel. The postcards could be Save The Dates or represent the paintings being sold at the garage sale.


The next set of sketches are of a booklet that flips out. From the front, it would look like a small book, but the mailer would flip out to reveal a sidewalk leading to garages around the city. All the information would be on the central pages, with correlating imagery to reflect the art garage sale theme. The book would be closed by having a string pull a button on the front close. After sketching out my three ideas for the direct mailer, my next step was to build mock-ups for the designs.


Making Mock-ups: The first mock-up is of the large book and circular flap design. The flap would have a glue dot or velcro closing it, and art supplies would be radiating from the edge of the book. The flap enclosing it would have a simple pattern.


When the book is opened, all of the necessary information would be displayed inside the book. The event would be in the largest size, due to the hierarchical scale, and the date, time and place would be listed underneath. There would be a paint brush painting a line through the pages, tying the imagery inside with the images on the outside, and miscellaneous information would be presented in the remaining space of the book to get the reader to notice the most exciting parts of the events.


Below is the inside of the book. You can see all of the information laid out as it would be arranged in a final version. The cover would have a simple colored pattern or a geometric design. I liked this design overall, but I felt that it might be to plain for this particular project. It was also a little large for a direct mailer and I was wanting to send out a compact one.


Here you can see the mock-up for the second design that includes the easel and postcards. The final version would have a thicker easel and the postcards would be Save the Dates for the event or accompanying magnets. I liked the idea of using an easel since it represented the art sale and the art supply sale that were going on simultaneously.


All of the crucial information would be laid out on the main easel’s canvas. On the easel would be 5 or 6 Save the Dates that the invitee could keep or use as postcards or magnets. The pieces would have the event, time, date, and place as well as a painting or image. The aspect of this design that I liked was that the invitee would have something they would be encouraged to keep.


The third mock-up is of the flip book design. The cover of this design would be a simple button with a string keeping the booklet closed. The book would untie and flip out to reveal the words “Artist Garage Sale� with an arrow pointing out how to open the direct mailer.


The booklet would then flip out to reveal the event’s information as well as a sidewalk. The sidewalk would then lead to additional panels that act as garages and places that sell art supplies. I wanted to work with the rural imagery of a garage sale and couple it with the world of fine art. Picket fences have paintings hung over them and the sidewalk leads to tables where you can buy art supplies. On the next page you can see a how the information is laid out with the event information on the center pages, and the art garage images on the sides.


The back of the flip booklet would be much simpler. It would consist of the “Artists Garage Sale� text and an arrow that points inside when the booklet is folded.


After creating the mock-ups, the next step was to decide which of the three to continue developing for the final invitation. Between the three designs, the easel and the flip book were my favorites. The large book seemed to simple and plain for an engaging direct mailer. I ended up choosing the flip booklet based on the input given by my classmates. Also, the flip booklet had the most unique and interactive design, and I wanted to continue working with the panels that folded out from the center. This design had potential and I felt that it’s design had a lot more versatility and room for improvement compared to the other designs I was choosing between.


While building my second mock-up for the flip book, I kept many aspects the same. The general layout of the book was similar to the first draft. The second mock-up was larger though and had more space so that I could properly lay out the text where it would be printed on a final copy. What made this mock-up unique can be seen on the next page. On the panels that previously had been garages, I added the Seattle skyline to the background along with the art imagery. On the next page you can see the sidewalk path lead to the city skyline and to the garage sales.


Here you can see how the information is laid out on the central pages. The hierarchy is apparent with the name of the event in the largest text at the top of the panel. The place, date, and time follow in a smaller text size. Below you can see where the sidewalk begins and how it leads to the other panels. The words follow the path so that the viewer reads the additional information on the booklet.


On this page, you can see a close up of how the skyline looks before it got cut for the next draft. When it’s laid down you can see how the sidewalk leads to each panel. The various panels have various forms of art and art supplies that will be available at the garage sale.


Before I brought my design to the computer, I knew that I would need to create colored artwork for the panels. I wanted to include a mix of digital and hand drawn art to give the invite a personal feeling as well as to showcase the art theme. For the mailer, I wanted to choose a color scheme and motif for the invitation. In the end, I went with Van Gogh’s “Starry Night� since it is easily recognizable by most people. Another reason I chose it was because I felt that it tied together with Seattle and the Space Needle skyline well. For the paintings and art supplies, I drew some illustrations to contrast the computer generated background.


Working on the Final Draft:

Above is the colored version of the flip book in InDesign. I added the illustrations and translated the design to the computer. After I was content with the colors and layout, I decided to print it.


After printing, I began to run into some complications. I hadn’t calculated the backside’s measurements correctly, so the inside panel read “Artist” with an arrow and the “Garage Sale” ended up on the back. The inside was laid out correctly, most of the colors were satisfactory. The colors were slightly darker than I had on the computer, but they were still legible on the paper.


Above you can see the inside look at the garages with the illustrated artwork. Since this mock-up was misprinted on the back, I didn’t take the time to cut the skyline, but this mock-up gave me an idea of what the colors would look like on the next print. I went into InDesign and recalculated where to place the text and arrow so that they would be behind the panel with the sidewalks on it.


Below is another view of the same layout. Here, you can see the Space Needle/Starry Night faux painting along with the information page and the sidewalks.


These pictures show what the invite looked like after I fixed the text and arrow. Now it is laid out so that the arrow points at the Space Needle/Starry Night image. The text fits on the “3.5 x 3.5” square and it doesn’t run off of the page and onto another.

While working on this mock-up, I decided to switch from the button and string method to keep the mailer closed. I couldn’t find buttons and the fasteners for the string would break through the other panels, which I wanted to avoid. I ended up choosing a sticker to keep the mailer closed.


Above you can see a view of the final mock-up. I like that you can see the outside and inside of the skyline at the same time. The blue and gray compliment each other and I like that the city also looks like it is sky.


This view shows the Space Needle side well. I like the way the table and easels sit on their panels, but the hanging canvases on the side look awkward, like they don’t really belong there. Also, you can see how dark the green turned out. Against the dark green, the black text is very difficult to read or make out the detail.


Below you can see the envelope I used for the mock up. I folded according to a tutorial I saw online, and it came out well. It looks like an ordinary envelope that you could buy for a letter. The first draft is blank because I hadn’t decided what I wanted to put on the outside yet.


In this picture, you can see the inside of the envelope and how the invitation fits inside of the envelope. The envelope didn’t stay closed without tape or adhesive, so I knew that I would have to think of a solution that would keep it closed while keeping the look elegant and without using adhesive.


Building the Final Mailer: After critiquing and before I printed the direct mailer, I made changes to the final presentation. On the next page, you can see the layout of the final presentation along with the changes made to the document. I changed the green to a much lighter shade that the text can be read on. Also, I changed the text to a navy blue so that it would tie in with the “Starry Night” motif. For the final direct mailer, I made the layout more streamlined, meaning I deleted the side flaps, so that the sidewalk would be leading to one garage. Having only one skyline panel was not something I wanted to do at first, as I thought that it would make the piece plain and too simple. But after deleting the side flaps, it is easier to read the invitation and the Space Needle skylines reflect each other’s. The repeated imagery is a beneficial component to the composition and it leads the viewer’s eye through the invitation better, as opposed to scattering their attention while the path meandered through the center.


9JLAKLK?9J9?=K9D= Schack Art Center & Hoyt Avenue June 16, 2012 9am-4pm

Gourment Food Trucks on Wall Street & Hoyt Avenue

More than 100 artists! Watercolors Oil Pastels Acrylics Glass Found Objects Sulpture Ceramics Photography & More

Old & New Stock

Artist Garage Sale


Above, you can see how the piece looked while laid out. Here you can see how deleting the side flaps made the invitation easier to read and how the single sidewalk guides the viewer’s eye better. The navy blue is also much easier to read on the new lighter green than it was to read as black on dark green.


Two more additional views are shown above. I like the way that the arrow point to the skyline and that the underneath panel flips out to reveal the same skyline. The color scheme of the final mock-up works better than the color scheme of the other mock-ups did. The lighter green resembles grass more so than the first mock-ups and the navy text helps tie the “Starry Night� color palette together.


For the final design, I knew that I would need an envelope that wasn’t blank. Continuing with the “Starry Night” theme, I used Copic markers to create an impressionistic sky pattern on the envelope. The addresses are handwritten because I believe that it goes better with the handmade swirls. It makes the invite feel personal and it gives off a handmade appeal that would appeal to people who see themselves as artistic or crafty. I think that making the envelope a piece of art would help attract people who are earnest about art to the event.


Here, you can see my solution to keeping the envelope closed. I didn’t want to use adhesive, so I instead cut a slit in the envelope that the cover could slide into while being secure. This kept me from having to use adhesive and helped the envelope look more like a craft than a normal envelope. With the cover secure, the invitation would have no chance of falling out while in transit.


The Final Project:

In the end, I really enjoyed this project and I am satisfied with the final look of the invitation. It has changed a lot from it’s first mock-up and I like the choices I made to include the skyline and Space Needle/Starry Night on the extra flap. I’m glad to still be working with multi-page documents. I like the color palette of the final version. I think it ties together well, and the recurring “Starry Night” motif adds to the piece. If I could change anything to the final project , I would try to see if I could incorporate the side flaps in any way. I ended up wandering from the rural theme I started with when I was thinking of garages, and I’d like to make something that reflects that side of the garage sale event.


Artists' Garage Sale