Four Creative Ways to Elevate Your Collateral

How can meeting planners create the kind of top-notch collateral that attendees have grown accustomed to while keeping a lid on ever-tighter budgets? In the past, complex and expensive four-color off-set printing was reserved for only the biggest events, but digital printing has dramatically improved over the years and offers all sorts of new capabilities, especially for smaller runs, at affordable prices. Combined with savvy vendors that specialize in unique products and promotional items, there is now an astounding array of new printing and production methods to transform your ordinary event materials into eye-grabbing attention-getters. Here are a few of the favorite bells and whistles that I like to offer my clients:

Variable Data.  Printers that have “variable data” capability allow you to personalize each and every piece of collateral. Imagine being able to make your welcome packet envelope and leave-behind card just as personal as your in-room gift card. Imprinting a single attendee’s name directly onto a piece was virtually impossible with traditional off-set printing—and certainly out of reach for all but the biggest budgets. Now, with variable data becoming increasingly affordable, this type of one-of-a-kind experience costs a fraction of what you’d expect.


Using metallic stock is less costly than printing with metallic ink.

Specialty Stocks. As a meeting planner, you know there is nothing like a touch of metallic to brighten the attendee experience. In traditional four-color printing, this spot of metallic ink, typically added as a fifth color, adds exponentially to your printing cost. But, what if there was a way to punch up the design without adding to the cost? Now, whenever there’s an opportunity to upgrade a piece of communication, I love to offer full-color printing on brilliant, metallic, colored stock. From gold and silver to champagne and pearl, metallic stock will take your collateral to the next level—for far less than the cost of using metallic ink.

Die-Cuts. Traditional die-cutting methods involve specialized hardware, long production times, and high costs. Enter modern laser cutting. From luggage tags to travel wallets to name badges, only your imagination stands in the way of entirely new interpretations of the old standards—all for roughly half the time and cost typically associated with old-school die-cuts.

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Laser die-cutting is about half the price of traditional die-cutting methods.

Specialty Envelopes and Bindery. If you’re like me, you still enjoy receiving a good ol’ piece of mail, especially if it arrives in an unconventional package. Thanks to a bevy of new, modern stationers, an amazing array of envelope products and stocks are available to elevate your special piece from a plain white envelope to a multi-folded, multi-flap envelope, die-cut on a beautifully decorated stock. If that specialty piece happens to contain multiple pages, there are also nifty binding solutions to fit every budget. From matching-color, wire-o binding to metallic posts and rubber washers that are hand-assembled, there are ample ways to turn your Program of Events booklet or brochure into a book-binding wonder.

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Binding is a eye-catching finishing touch for exceptional collateral.

When it comes to getting a bang for your collateral buck, you don’t have to sacrifice quality—even for smaller events. Today’s meeting planner can shake things up with out-of-the-box printing and finishing solutions that create an exceptional experience for prospects and attendees. Differentiate yourself and your event by offering up something entirely new and uniquely creative…and all on a budget!

Devin Tani, an innovative designer based in Portland, Oregon, runs a creative studio specializing in the meeting and incentive industry. From graphic design, promotional and copywriting services to a comprehensive array of printing and finishing solutions, Devin has worked with clients such as Chevron, Goodyear and Gallo Wines for over a decade, helping them elevate the attendee experience.

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