What is it about the changing of seasons that signals us to start something new? When it comes to print design, no time is busier for new projects than the transition into fall. While the debut of pumpkin spice lattés at Starbucks tells us Fall is here, so much of the new print projects underway have to with the demand from the upcoming season. We’ll take a look at the top print projects that get underway in fall, and why it is that designers and printers are at their busiest during this season.



With over half of all print projects stemming from the advertising market, it’s easy to understand why the season directly preceding the holidays (Fall) is the busiest time for creatives. For many businesses, much of their annual revenue comes from holiday sales, so the bulk of advertising budgets are spent gearing up for holiday sales. That means print production begins to ramps up at the end of summer and runs throughout fall. In addition to advertising, print sees a spike in the production of general retail materials during this season as well.


Here’s a look at some of the print projects creatives work on throughout the season, and with the advances in print technology (digital, short run) making “just in time” delivery more of a reality, we’ll see these projects extend through the end of the year.


CATALOGS – Holiday catalogs are in full swing this time of year. And with demand running high, it’s always a good idea to get a jump on securing paper and press time, especially if we’re talking large quantities printing on a web press. I don’t know about you, but as a consumer, I love getting the holiday catalogs, and as a paper nerd I hang on to many of them long after.


When I was a paper rep at a local merchant, one of biggest projects was the holiday catalog for a national furniture retailer. I have to say, given the size (millions of quantities), this project was always a nail-biter. I’d be busy doing dummy mockups through the end of September while securing paper pricing and availability – even before quantities were finalized. Getting paper delivered to the printer in time was always a top concern. And as is the case with many clients, last-minute revisions were always happening. This is why it really helps to have good relationships with your paper reps. I cannot tell you how often they’d pull strings with their production team to ensure we’d get the order “into the run” at the mill so we’d be able to get paper to the printer to meet the deadline.


DIRECT MAIL – Just like the surge of catalogs that comes with the holiday season, so does the direct mail. Oversized postcards, coupons and special offers flood our mailboxes. The advances in print technology have made these materials more effective than ever. With digital printing capabilities like gold and silver metallic inks, white ink and clear dimensional coatings, direct mail gives marketers a great chance to stand out from the crowd – even with small quantities.


PACKAGING – When it comes to holiday packaging, understanding how to leverage production techniques to enhance your design makes all the difference in creating a real connection with the consumer. Tactile paper finishes like super smooth and vellum provide marketers with a unique opportunity to connect their physical product in an emotional way with the recipient. Now factor in printing techniques like embossing or soft-touch coatings, and you’ve taken your design from novel to noteworthy. And with the trend of e-commerce sales overtaking traditional brick and mortar retail, packaging is often the only physical connection these e-tailers have with consumers, making packaging design even more important.


POINT OF PURCHASE – For the same reason packaging is critical to e-commerce, the same goes with brick and mortars and the in-store experience. So it’s no wonder creatives are busy designing enticing POP materials to capture shoppers’ attention. Wide format substrates have really popped in their offering in recent years, allowing for even greater impact with these oversized print materials.


STATIONERY – Now is the time designers are busy finalizing files for print projects widely sold at retail geared towards the holidays and the New Year.  Of course, there’s the traditional holiday greeting card (don’t forget the envelope with that), calendars, journals and like. Fall is the time to get these projects on press and produced so they ship to retailers and fulfillment centers in plenty of time for consumers to buy before they’re all sold out.


So while you’re prepping for your next client meeting, if any of these projects are ones they plan to move forward with for this year, get the client to sign-off on them now so you can sit back and enjoy the season without all the stress.

For more tips on how to move your printing and projects forward, check out the following articles: