Gregory Gleaves, Founder of Direct Edge Campaigns, wrapped up a post-election conversation with Campaigns & Elections about creative trends in direct mail in 2020. Below is an excerpt of their conversation.
Down-Ballot Mail Trends In 2020
When their party controls the White House, candidates often look to mimic the presidential campaign when it comes to style and design. But as much as issues are becoming nationalized, design isn’t, according to Gregory Gleaves of the GOP mail firm Direct Edge Campaigns. We asked Gleaves about direct mail design trends in ’20 and how he and his team keep their creative juices flowing.
Q: What are some of the design trends you saw this cycle?
Gleaves: Voters are a little bit more sophisticated with mail now than they used to be. You can’t just slap a couple eagles and flags on a mail piece and use the typical red white and blue on everything. It’s almost patronizing at this point. You have to go beyond that. It’s going more in the direction of just the clear, straight to the point, type mail. Casual over formal — it’s less, put a guy in a suit in front of the capitol. Instead, let’s show them walking with their family or sitting around the dining room table. Real life kind of stuff.
Q: Did your clients want to follow President Trump’s lead on their designs this cycle?
Gleaves: They weren’t following that lead at all. Even our Trumpiest candidates weren’t trying to mimic those colors [in the president’s campaign logo]. I had no one say, “let’s do Trump colors,” and I did a lot of work in Trump country. There were more white-blues, there were more light and dark blues. I have this one bright obnoxious purple logo. Definitely more greens this year — there’s a lot of red and black. Such a large part of what we do is contrast, though, so we’re not looking for the pretty colors all the time.
Q: How do you and your team stay creative?
Gleaves: When we have a race or two when we’re just coming up empty, we’ll get a group of people on the phone — some who are working on this, some who aren’t — and just start throwing out ideas. We try to get a lot of feedback, and usually we can come up with something. You can get in a rut if you let yourself. The most important thing I do is hire world-class designers. I’m coming up with a lot of the concepts, graphic ideas and stuff like that. But a lot of it is just trying to think outside the box and bouncing ideas off people.
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