College 2011 mailer from Target includes more than coupons

Target Mailer to 2011 College Students

Target hits the mark in three areas

I don’t typically write about advertisements. But this one deserves the spotlight. The design, the content and the practicality of this mailer is perfectly geared toward my age group – something that I don’t find very often even in newspapers. The heavy weighted paper is also a sign that Target didn’t skimp out when they created this project. It’s a nice bright white, giving the colors a rich and pleasing tone.

1. Content is engaging and pertinent

One of my favorite aspects of this ad has to be the content. SEO (search engine optimization) specialists have already got this one figured out: good content attracts good customers (and gives better ranking to websites). I don’t see many print ads use quality content very often attract customers. This ad does.

Target mailer 2011

The content I’m referring to includes a series of six short blog-style articles peppered throughout the mailer. Written by college students, for college students, the articles offer advice on how to manage your time at college, organize your space and keep in touch with family. It’s great to see content written by peers, especially since the topics are both practical and fun to read.

2. Checklists and coupons are useful

Flip open to the front page and top of page 2 has six brightly colored columns dedicated to the college 2011 checklist – all items sold by Target, of course. But what do you expect? It’s an ad, after all. And if you want to build your own checklist, Target has an easy online layout that lets you shop and build your own personal checklist.

Target 2011 College Mailer

Scattered throughout the mailer, Target included other lists of advice and short words of wisdom from college students who have survived this particular stage of life. I’ve no doubt parents will eat this up just as much (if not more) than their children.

So sure all this is fine for freshmen who still don’t have a clue about college. Target didn’t forget the large population of students returning to college, though. Flip to page 13 and you’ll find 20 coupons, many of which I plan to utilize. Parents and students have reason to appreciate this mailer from Target.

3. Targets audience with appropriate design

Okay, love the design. The colors are bright and perfectly reflect the current trends in college dorm decoration. Page spreads utilize the space well without overcrowding, so it is far from the typical Sunday ad.

Target 2011 College Mailer

And while the prices are easy to locate for all items, they aren’t emphasized. The products stand forefront and are arranged topically. So the page on how to organize your space includes products such as shelves, over-the-door hangers and bed stands to make the most of space under the bed.

Target 2011 College Mailer

Well, that’s all for now! I’m just very grateful to see an ad target my age so well. It was fun to read through and gave me some great coupons.

I hope to cover this a little more in the future, but we’ll see.

Later! Riah


Behind the scenes look at the front page

Background on the page

I’ve already heard from students on campus who love this front page! In my Interactive Media class this afternoon, a classmate mentioned they actually looked over (and possibly read) the Collegian front page this week because it looked so cool. Yeah, I love hearing comments like that.

So why does it look so different from previous pages I’ve designed? Well, after attending Tim Harrower’s workshop this weekend, I was very, very excited to step outside of the little box I’ve been working in and go bigger, bolder and beyond the “rules.” This week was a perfect week to do it, too.

My friend Erika and I met Monday night and began brainstorming how we wanted the page to look. Because the big event of this week is the dedication of the newest building on Asbury’s campus, I decided to go for a themed front page. We didn’t have an article about the whole dedication but there were several articles on some of the specific events planned for the weekend.

It has never been done before

According to the Collegian Adviser, we did something this week that has never been done before.  Can you guess? It’s the picture behind the masthead. I removed the teasers and campus pulse in order to run this picture big and completely dominant above the fold. Personally, I love it when newspapers drop the top teasers and fill the entire space with a gorgeous picture. It has been my goal this semester to try this on our front page and this week seemed the most appropriate time to go for it. And I LOVE it! =)

Puzzling lines

Honestly, the hardest part of the design was deciding where to begin the lines encompassing the stories. Our photo editor, Tyler Hoff, pointed out that the picture and stories felt compartmentalized when the lines curved in at the top and bottom. Eventually, we settled on this.

Colored boxes

Another point I carefully considered is the colored boxes behind the top story, schedule and quick facts. We rarely, if ever, put colored boxes behind the text. However, the page felt bland when I removed the colored boxes. I think it is more of a magazine design, but since that’s where newspaper design is headed, I’m happy to play around with something new (for the Collegian).


Tim Harrower mentioned in his workshop that when you do a cutout of a picture, it makes it feel a little less real. That’s why it’s best to keep the picture whole when you are covering a specific event. I believe this cutout is justified, though, because the context was not interesting nor did it add any value to the picture. It also creates a certain “look” we were going for on the front page. Kudos to Erika for mentioning we do the cutout.

Chunk and Crunch

A term you will hear often when you attend on of Tim’s workshops. Basically it means getting the info out in shorter segments of text. Examples of this are the deck, schedule, and fast facts boxes with each story. I’ve been working for several weeks to find a design I like for the info boxes. Finally, I found one. It’s readable yet different enough from the story so It stands out.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ve got to head off to work soon and then some more writing. This week is just flying by!

In Retrospect: A look at four Sunday Newspaper designs

The front pages below are some of the best I found looking through Newseum yesterday. The top and forth front page I’ve listed are my favorites. Which one do you like best?

Number 1: Isn’t this stunning? The image is powerfully conveyed within the number three, which had to be big enough for us to see the detail. Although I do love the bold look, not everything warrants a front page takeover. This newspaper, from Fayetteville, N.C., hopefully understands their audience and made their design choices appropriately. Because the design is so beautifully modern and I believe the content is good, this Sunday newspaper makes it to the top of the list. (I wonder what it looked like in print.)

If Newseum were facebook, these next few would have definitely been “liked” by me.

Number 2: The front page below is nice simply because it’s simple. Deep, I know. The stack of mayoral candidate pictures is a little awkwardly compiled; however, I appreciate how the layout is uncluttered with good use of white space and fonts. Particularly, “Big Spenders” headline is rather eye catching…in a good way.

Number 3: Okay, take a minute and just admire this front page photo (below). Isn’t it beautiful? And the newspaper knew it. Notice how they toned down their masthead and slipped it into the bottom right corner. Pages like this speak volumes about the designers behind the newspaper. It’s taking a big step (in my experience) to design something that falls outside of the “usual” front page design. Imagine how catchy this looked, though, when folks walked by the stacks of newspapers at Walmart? Hey, I’d stop and take a closer look.

Number 4: Next up we have The Huntsville Times with a stunningly simple graphic illustrating the historic  traditions between two rival schools that is being uprooted by over-the-top fans. If you look at the bottom of the page, the headline reads “Pioneering  SEC quarterback leaped obstacles.” Hmmmm. Not a fan of  using “leaped.”

One of Sunday's best front pages.

Well, that’s it for the day, folks. I’ll post again tomorrow reviewing some of the problem pages I found on Sunday. Stay tuned for more!

Note: All these pages were taken from