The Graphic Designer Countdown to Christmas

Published: November 18, 2021

Author
Emily Gudeman

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OK, listen. It’s the holidays. You might be one of those people who protests anything Christmas related until the week after Thanksgiving, or you could be the person who has a fully decorated tree and Michael Bublé on repeat by November 2nd.

But I have some bad news for you. Whether you’re the early bird or the grinch, you’re too late for graphic design scheduling for the holidays.

As a small business owner, you need to think about the holidays much further in advance than just the average Thanksgiving host. Think of every holiday a minimum of two months ahead of time to make sure you’re on schedule at all times.

In this blog, we’ll share a few of our graphic designer’s recommendations on what to do in the weeks before the holidays come around.

The Graphic Designer Countdown to Christmas: What to Do Before the Holidays Are Here

Now, I know that this seems like overkill, but there are a lot of elements that go into advertising and online presence during the holidays, so it’s important to be prepared. Here is what our graphic designer team suggests:

8-10 Weeks Before the Holiday

Holiday Cards

This means those custom-designed holiday cards. (You know we all get them from businesses.) They not only include the business logo but also a custom design and message specifically to their customers.

Here’s an example of our graphic design agency’s 2019 holiday card, where we illustrated a different Christmas tree ornament for each staff member.

Normally, these custom holiday cards have two to three weeks of design time from start to final approval based on the need for custom illustrations and messaging. From there, you move onto placing the print order and going through proofing with the print vendor, which can add another week onto that timeline. And finally, printing and delivering takes an average of 10 to 14 business days. That’s right, we’re talking a 6 week timeline on the high end!

But here’s the professional secret: everyone procrastinates and gets busy during the holiday season. Everyone. That means that the printer is receiving the most orders they do all year in those two months. Plus, we’ve all seen the overtime delivery people put in during those final two months of the year.

These orders are almost always delayed. Give yourself the padding and peace of mind, and get ahead of the holiday rush. The extra time allows you to mail your holiday cards without worry. Often businesses want their whole staff to sign the cards, meaning scheduling a signing party.

Imagine the embarrassment of verifying everyone’s schedules (and having  hot cocoa and eggnog at the ready and Bublé in the background, of course), but the holiday card order has been delayed. This could mean that your “Happy Holidays” card won’t go out until–gasp–January 5th

Print Collateral

This rule of thumb applies to all print collateral during this season. If you are throwing a holiday party and need to send out invites, add eight to 10 weeks to your timeline. If you’re looking at sending holiday coupons for an online promotion, that will also take about eight to 10 weeks. (Need help creating your print collateral? Connect with our graphic design agency.)

4-8 Weeks Before the Holiday

Digital Marketing

There are a lot of elements that go into a successful digital marketing campaign. One thing all successful campaigns have in common is excessive planning. If you’re planning on running any holiday promotions or retargeting campaigns during the high spending season, you should be planning your digital marketing out four to eight weeks before the holiday.

This allows for the graphic designer to create the display ads and paid social posts. As well as for the digital marketing specialist to promote. 

This much time ahead of the holiday allows for data gathering to create successful retargeting campaigns and gives time for the graphic designer to create unique creatives for your campaigns.

1-4 Weeks Before the Holiday

Organic Social Posts

The holidays are all about relationships and time together, so create that customer relationship with your social media presence. Now that you have your paid digital marketing ads running, this is the time to reach out to your already established customer base.

Stand out from the crowd by sharing your staff’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes, or create a video holiday card to post on your social accounts.

Now, I know this might seem like we’re getting ahead of ourselves to be thinking about Valentine’s Day in the first week of December, but this level of planning around the holidays will save you money in expedited shipping costs. It can also save you time down the road for rescheduling delayed deliveries or promos because you didn’t have enough data for retargeting campaigns. 

Conclusion

The holidays are right around the corner, and it’s time to plan out your holiday cards and social media content strategy. If you think like a graphic designer, you can make sure you don’t miss a thing and leave all your customers thinking of you fondly as we head toward the new year.

Don’t add more stress to the holidays. Plan ahead like a graphic designer. Need to talk to an expert about managing your marketing goals for the holidays? Contact BrandCraft today.

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