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August 1999


Mailbox Art

Graphic designers find inspiration from the events they promote

Junk mail they are not. The catalogs and postcards sent to customers by East Coast jewelry chain Carlyle & Co. are artistic, imaginative adventures in graphic design. Complex, thoughtful layouts capture the theme of the in-store events they advertise – a parade of Art Deco geometry or prewar archaeological imagery invoking Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,both promoting estate jewelry sales and trunk shows.

Conceived by a single in-house designer and sometimes outsourced for photography and printing, the direct mail must reflect the excitement of such events, which often feature spectacular, fashion-forward pieces not normally available to customers, says marketing manager Pete Bruck. At the same time, they have to be attractive and make customers want to read them.

Instead of following design fads, Bruck and his department plan the creative content and choose the type of paper for production based on the situation, though he has noticed recent pieces reflect current trends. While using excessive white space was the "in" thing last year, for instance, catalogs have become more "thematic," where there's a story, a running theme or "something more going on than just product on the page."

Deco'ed Out: Complex graphic design on Carlyle & Co.'s direct mail grabs attention among the bills and pizza coupons in customers' mailboxes

– by Stacey King

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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