Core Elements of Creating or Refreshing Your Gift Card Creative
By Kelly Solko / September 28, 2023
For most brands, undertaking a gift card design project takes an entirely different approach to branding than what they are used to. Why, you ask? Marketing teams typically have the luxury of branding for larger formats such as signage, websites, or publications. Gift cards, however, are on a much smaller scale and can fit into the palm of your hand. Gift cards are essentially tiny billboards that need to scream your brand’s name in a sea of other brands at retail. Here are key considerations when designing or refreshing your gift card creative.
First, determine the scope of the gift card design project, including the goal, deadlines for deliverables, and a list of the products that need to be designed. Typically, this is outlined in a creative brief prepared in partnership between your brand and your gift card program management team. Clearly outline which gift card channels will need a new/refreshed design: physical retail gift cards, e-gift cards, bulk/B2B gift cards, etc.
As you think through these various channels, each one will have slightly different considerations for gift card creative. If you are designing for an in-store physical retail gift card, your brand will be competing visually with sometimes hundreds of other brands on display. If you are designing e-gift cards for your own website, then you may consider expanding your design project to include a variety of occasion-themed gift cards such as holiday, birthday, graduation, and more.
Once the channels are determined, outline all necessary aspects of branding requirements for the cards, including logo usage, brand colors, brand taglines, imagery, fonts, and more. Providing guidance on these elements will help ensure the design meets your goals. If your brand already has an existing gift card program but is going through a refresh, it is important to consider obtaining feedback internally on the current design. Then, determine guidance on each design element to express to the designer what should remain, be removed, or evolve. If your logo or brand colors are changing, it is essential to have the gift card reflect those changes to ensure consistent and recognizable branding across all channels.
Next, it is important to consider what branding makes your company recognizable to the consumer. Do you have a hero color? Does your company use an icon, logo wordmark, or both? Is there a simple tagline used across other marketing? Would you show your product/service using any imagery? If your brand is new(er) to the market, the majority of consumers may not be familiar with your product/service yet. Think through how to best communicate what the gift card is good for in the most straightforward way.
Last, consider partnering with a gift card program management team, such as TDS Gift Cards, for your program launch or to bring your existing program to the next level. The TDS team provides 15+ years of gift card experience from years of working with brands globally. Our print production team can present tips and best practices to your branding and design team so you can make well-informed decisions for your card creative. The tips and best practices will help guide your team on logo size, key card elements, color recommendations, pros and cons of different card templates, deliverables by channel, and more.
There are many different considerations when it comes to your brand’s gift card creative. If you are interested in working with TDS Gift Cards to launch or grow your gift card program, reach out to Info@TDSGiftCards.com.