You x2Logo design, packaging, direct mail
The You x2 kit was created to address two questions faced by Leukemia and blood disease charity Delete Blood Cancer DKMS: “How can we motivate more online registrants to send back their completed swab kits?” and “how can we increase registrations more generally?”.
For the first question, we discovered a low rate of return for online registrations (about 30% of kits were never returned). People would sign up on our website, but when their kit arrived in the mail they would either not see it, or simply forget to send it back. This process was costing us money for every kit we printed and mailed, and we’d spend additional resources calling registrants by phone to follow-up. As a non-profit, we had to streamline this part of the registration process.
To address these faults, we designed a bolder, larger, and friendlier mailer which can’t get lost in the shuffle.
The previous kit was little more than a white envelope with some text printed on the outside. It looked like junk mail, and served as a template for what we needed to avoid.
Since most mail is white, we started with our brand color, red, which stands out much better. We also experimented with several structures to create a package that had “height” rather than just a flat envelope.
The idea of adding a “x2” section came from the idea that we could potentially double the number of new donors if every person who registers signs up one additional person. The phrase started as “You +1” but we settled on “You x2” because it rhymes (you-times-two), and because it aspires to a higher figure — doubling rather than simply adding one.
The first challenge was in creating the package itself. We knew that we wanted a book-like piece where “You” and “x2” could be separated, but we had to then figure out an optimal way to building it. To minimize material waste and to accommodate a smaller press width, we knew we should aim for a layout that looks square in overall shape, as opposed to z-shaped or linear.
With some trials, we found the best way to arrange our flaps and to build all the scoring and die-cuts. We also had some trouble in choosing the weight of the paper. Too heavy and it would increase shipping costs. Too light and it would crush easily and feel flimsy. Some trial and error led us to 120# Cover as the stock. Anything heavier would prove too expensive.
Our first two small-quantity runs proved successful from a visual point of view, but also uncovered some unexpected challenges. The fulfillment house had trouble sliding all the contents into their appropriate sections, and our own in-house shipping and mailing team found it difficult to insert the letter which contained the address. We found that producing a special envelope for the “You” and “x2” sections was the solution to this.
There was also a challenge in how users responded. Some kits came back with both portions filled out with the same info, rather than shared. In spite of the differentiation using copy, color, and shape, recipients thought the entire piece was for them. We re-wrote portions of the copy, and introduced new design elements like the small arrows to emphasize the separation and the unique intentions of both sides. This problem has all but disappeared with the changes.
After we moved offices in September 2013, we ordered our largest print run of 20,000 pieces. With the earlier, smaller runs serving as “beta” products, we learned several valuable lessons and allowed us to produce a unique, beautiful, and function mailer than no other non-profit organization is using.
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Photo by Jerome Charles