The value of unusual sizes and shapes

I like communications materials that stand out. You could say that I like oddballs.

My business card for example is 2″ x 2″. A little larger than 1/2 a standard business cards. It’s also a square which is one of my favourite shapes because so much of what we normally seen are rectangles with two different sizes of parallel sides. I had it specifically designed and printed that way. I chose it because I wanted to stand out from the rest of the business cards you receive. The size makes an immediate impact and says that I not only say I do  things differently. I do things differently!

There’s now a product out there called Moo MiniCards but as far as I know they didn’t exist when I created mine. My card still stands out because it is a square.

I dislike the common letter-sized three panel brochure because they are so common. I’m always looking for and suggesting alternatives. I want my client’s or employer’s material to look different enough that people take a second look and are curious to check it out.

Unusual sizes might also give you more real estate. More space opens up the opportunity for creative designs. Or it may allow you to say or show more than normal–or use a larger font or pictures. The point is that the first thing your print material has to do is to catch people’s attention and your choice of size helps.

An unusual shape can also help. Direct mail companies often suggest it. While a die cut may be required, it’s worth the extra cost if it gets people to see your piece. Think about your own actions. Do you take an extra second or two when something in your mailbox is a different shape? That extra second or two could make the difference between the garbage and a closer look–and if you can hook someone to read more, you might make a sale or get someone to take another action they may not have had it come in a standard sized package.

A final benefit of an unusual size is that it can help you get more bang for your buck–especially if you are sending you material to a print shop. You might be able to get more material or get it at a lower price because the printer can get more of them on a sheet of paper. Or your printer may be limited to certain sheet sizes. Your preferred specs might mean they need to use a solution like outsourcing the printing. The result may be a higher price. Making each panel of your brochure a fraction of an inch smaller could mean they can do it on their press for a much better price. I always let my printers know I’m open to using a different size than requested if it could save me money.

Have you used any unusual sizes or shapes? What was your experience? Have you seen any shapes from materials you’ve seen that you’ve stored away in your idea bank?