There are a quad-zillion things marketers can test: offer, key message, brand elements, just to name a few. But one of the best tests in the realm of Direct Mail—and a testing strategy wholly unique to this ultra-tangible channel—is the format test.
Fine paper, fountain pens and ephemera — oh my!
By Tara Eglin
I’ve always been drawn to cool paper, fountain pens, and beautifully designed ephemera from the past. As a kid I collected stamps from around the world, attracted to the intricate designs, geography, and history. On weekends my Dad would take me to Perry’s Art Supplies in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. I’d browse the shelves with wide eyes, coveting the fine pens, pencils, markers, paints, paper, rubber stamps and more while he picked up a few things for his design studio.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a small collection of vintage atlases, stamps, postcards and paper objects. Developing a passion for these things at an early age is what led me to my career as a designer and Art Director at Gunderson Direct. The creation of Honour Brand, a side-hustle apparel company I co-own, is also heavily influenced by my interest in ephemera and California history.
Inspiration drives our creative imagination. It’s all around us, and it can be spontaneous or deliberate. It can come from the most unlikely of places, at any time of the day. My designs are often influenced by what I see around me. I find inspiration in movies, old posters and postcards, cool paper swatchbooks, and even on walks with our dog Bowie. Anything from a fun window display to a new set of pens and a good sketch book can inspire a creative idea for a direct mail campaign. I’m fortunate that my career at Gunderson Direct fosters that creativity in me.
The art store was—and still is—my candy store. And just like my dad took me, now I have the joy of taking my son Lucas to a nearby art store to get creatively inspired while he fills his basket full of Micron pens, mechanical pencils and sketch pads. You can only imagine how exciting it is for me that the next generation in my family is exploring a career in design. I can’t wait to see where his influences, imagination and talent will take him!