Container Store

The Container Store’s Cool Postcard Designs

You know the Container Store, right? If not, they’re huge. As big as they are and as good as their products are (I used to work there and I own one of their closets) they need some help with their postcard marketing. Not much, but a little. Let’s tear down their cool postcard designs in this post.

Their postcards are a B-. Good in many ways, but they totally fall down in others. Learn from what they do well and don’t make the same mistakes they did.

Container Store’s Cool Postcard Designs

Front: Cool Postcard Designs from the Container Store

Back: Cool Postcard Designs from the Container Store

All the reasons these are some cool postcard designs:

  1. Bold bold bold colors
    They certainly knew how to pick colors that caught my attention, that nice bright orange and beautiful blue. I picked it up and I was interested.
    Notice that the sale and expiration date are both big and bold. It’s clear you can only act for a limited time and that the sale is pretty great (30% off!).
  3. Act now
    Their messaging is geared to get you to act ASAP.
  4. Playful design
    Their fun fonts and varied design are interesting and caused me to look at the card longer than I otherwise would.

But, that’s the end of what they did well.

How they suck

Ok, that’s a harsh headline.
A B- is a pretty good grade. They could have done much better on these fronts.

  1. Too much text
    Even on the front they had 21 words. That’s just way too much. I spent 2-3 second with this card, I’m not going to read your novel. They should have said 30% OFF, BUT ONLY UNTIL FEB 27TH.
  2. Too many offers
    If you dive into this card, there are too many offers. Call to design a space, get 30% off, organize your office too, or just your own closet. They should have focused on a single message and stuck with it.
  3. One too many sales
    They tried to bundle their office sale and the sale on Elfa (closets), so it muddled the offer. Is this to simplify my office or my home?
  4. Too many colors
    If you look at the front of the card, there are 7 colors. 7. I like the bold orange and the bold blue, but 7 colors makes it harder for me to understand what I should focus on, what’s important, and what I can ignore.
  5. Headline’s not directive enough
    “What are you waiting for?” What about “EXPIRES FEB 27TH.” Or “30% More Expensive in 10 days.” What am I waiting for? A clearer postcard that gets me to act!
  6. Two sections on the back side
    Why is there an office section and then a closet section? There should be one offer, one sale, and a clear expiration date to get me to act. They nailed the expiration date piece, but the offer is split.

Ironically one of the things that make these cool postcard designs also distract from their main message.

One simple way to improve

If you’re designing a postcard, give it to a friend for 3 seconds per side. Then, ask them to describe what your company does and what offer you are providing. If they can’t clearly explain both of those things, you’ve failed at marketing your business via postcards / direct mail. The Container Store could have fixed all of their issues with this simple test.


Leave a Reply