We share our top tips for a perfect calendar print design for business marketing and promotion purposes
Despite the proliferation of online calendars and digital organizers of every imaginable shape and size, most business premises and households still have a printed paper calendar hung on the wall, propped on the kitchen work surface, the desktop, or stuck to the fridge door with a magnet.
But it’s more than just habit and tradition keep them so popular. We all love them because they embody the perfect combination of beauty and utility. Printed calendars are woven into the fabric of daily life. So much so that they still sell in huge numbers. In 2021, the wall calendar market in the US alone was worth $1.38 billion. The market trend predicts a growth rate in wall calendar sales of almost 6% by 2030.
We’ve explained already on this blog how you can design, print and sell paper calendars online, either as a full-time business or to generate a neat side hustle. But if you run a business of any kind, now is the time to capitalize on this continuing trend and the growing market in custom calendars. You can use custom printed wall calendars to market and promote your company and brand, to distribute at trade fairs and other events, and as corporate gifts.
Printed wall calendars are a fabulous, cost-effective and incredibly far-reaching way of developing your brand, reaching new customers, building loyalty among your existing clients, and maintaining visibility all year round. A well-designed and professionally printed wall calendar costs very little to produce, but its impact can be considerable. That’s why so many businesses continue to give away thousands of free calendars each year. Simply put, the custom printed wall calendar is among the least expensive but most effective offline marketing tools in existence.
We’ve shared our top 10 strategies for using custom printed wall calendars as powerful marketing tools in our step-by-step guide to promoting your business with a beautiful custom calendar. But in this post, we’d like to share our top tips on how to design and print the best calendar for your business. Let’s dive in!
Choose a theme for your calendar
To make an effective calendar, you must choose a theme. If you look with care at the best calendars, you’ll see that they all have a specific style, layout, and subject or “story” to tell. A unifying theme.
A well-chosen theme helps you to decide what content to add to your calendar other than the basic days and dates. So, you might use quotations, photographs and other graphics, product descriptions and reviews, customer testimonies, your brand story, or any other content in keeping with your aims. All themed content should connect emotionally with your target customers and lead them into the sales funnel.
The theme also helps to bring all the elements of the calendar design together around your brand identity and gives the calendar an overall aesthetic and communicative unity. This makes it more likely to be displayed and to catch the eye of anyone who sees it. It also makes your brand instantly recognizable and more memorable.
Layout options for a promotional wall calendar
You can choose from a considerable range of layout options for your promotional custom wall calendar design. You needn’t stick with the standard January through December, one-month-to-a-page format. For example, you might follow the academic year, which runs from September through May in the US; or maybe you’d prefer an 18-month calendar layout rather than a twelve-month cycle. Likewise, your religion may have its own special calendar, which highlights holy days and special seasons.
Also, remember that your recipient will want to use your calendar, not just look at the pictures, so allow plenty of functional space for them to write notes, events, appointments, reminders, anniversaries, and more. You can add dedicated areas for shopping lists or a to-do list, for example. But don’t overcomplicate your design. We favor a less cluttered look and a clean, spare layout because we’ve seen that it’s more effective.
Where to source beautiful photos and images
Never underestimate the power of good quality photography. You’ll need high-resolution images to enhance your custom printed promotional wall calendar. If you have the budget to hire a professional photographer to create unique images for you, that’s always the best investment. But other good options exist, such as buying licenses to professional stock images or sourcing top quality free images from reputable online portfolios.
Whichever option you choose, remember to keep the image in line both with your brand identity and your calendar’s chosen theme. Spending a bit of time and care to choose the best photos you can find within your budget will make all the difference to the look and tone of your calendar. Should you want to keep the costs down without compromising on the quality of your photographs, try the following online image sources. But remember to read the small print and honor any agreement regarding acknowledgements or links.
Shutterstock: this is one of the most well-known and popular sites with a vast selection of images to choose from.
Flickr: professionals and amateurs alike use this site and licensing terms vary considerably, so please check carefully before using an image which may be protected by copyright
Unsplash: this is one of the best-loved sources of free images and downloads available for commercial use. But remember to credit the artist or photographer. We think it’s only right that creatives should be credited for their work.
Pixabay: there’s lots of choice here, too, at both paid and free levels of access
Pexels: very similar in scope to Pixabay and Unsplash but with a lot of original work, too
Remember, always credit the photographer and/or source of the photo. Each site has its own preferred format for doing this and it’s important to follow their instructions with care. That way, you are doing justice to the creator of the image and avoiding any legal issues over copyright and so on down the line.
Whatever you do, never just download a random image or photograph from Google or anywhere else on the web. International copyright law automatically protects all images and to be within the law, you must either purchase a license or have the express permission of the owner of the work before you reproduce it, even for private use.
Get your marketing message across
Printing a custom calendar for your business isn’t just about producing something pretty for your customers. It’s an opportunity for you to tell people about your brand, promote your products, and advertise your unique selling point. Your logo, tagline, and core messaging should be clear on every page.
Include any up-coming sales, product releases, or corporate events, for example, as red-letter days. A wall calendar can be integrated into your online marketing strategy, too. Simply adding a QR or AR code on a page or a specific date can drive traffic to your website, blog, or e-commerce store to boost engagement and increase sales.
Show your environmental credentials
In this time of increasing environmental awareness, it’s everyone’s responsibility to do their bit to save the planet. At QinPrinting, we use only FSC-certified sources for our paper stocks and vegetable-based soy inks which don’t pollute the water supply. We also have a range of recycled papers. Reduce your impact on the natural world by using these options to make your custom wall calendar. And then boast about it on the calendar itself. That way, your choice will be good for the environment and good for business, too.
Technical tips for wall calendar design
The best option to handle the technical side of custom wall calendar design is to outsource the work to a professional freelance designer if you don’t have such a person already within your business. But if that’s not possible, you can do it yourself. At QinPrinting, we’re always ready to help you with advice, easy-to-understand explanations of what’s needed, and even ready-made templates compatible with most popular design applications such as Photoshop, CorelDraw and InDesign. But let’s take a quick look at a few of the most important technicalities to look out for.
Bleed lines, safety lines, and cut-lines
When you see the artwork and layout open in your template or design software, you’ll notice that three sets of lines: blue, black, and red, in that order overlay your image. The blue lines are called “safety lines”. The black lines are called “cut-lines”. And the red lines are called “bleed lines”.
Make sure that any text you want visible on the printed page is within the blue safety lines. You can keep photos within the black lines if they will not fill the whole page. But otherwise, they should extend as far as the red lines to give a “full bleed” so they will cover the entire printed area once the page is cut.
Allow time in your production schedule for us to send you a proof before your calendar goes to print. Make sure that someone other than you proofreads it for you. If you’re close to something you’ve been working on, it’s harder to spot mistakes and typos. At the proof stage, also look at how well images are cropped and sized.
It may sound obvious, but check, check, and then check again! Especially the stuff you take for granted, such as your company email address, phone number, and website. You see it every day and may be “blind” to a misprint. Imagine a print run of 5,000 calendars and them all being wrong! So, while we can check all the technical matters before we set the presses rolling, you’ll need to be responsible for a careful proofread before you give us the green light.
Ready to create a custom wall calendar?
Let’s talk! We’ve been successful in the printing industry for upwards of 25 years now and we’ve helped more businesses like yours to develop and print the finest marketing materials — including custom wall calendars — than we can count. You can check out calendar printing prices here. If you have questions, please contact us. One of our experts from the in-house team will be happy to answer all your inquiries.