Tips for Designing Irresistible Black Friday Promotions

Let’s skip past the mechanics of putting together a Black Friday marketing campaign and focus on some ace tips on the most effective designs.

We don’t need to tell you that this year has been pretty up and down. With economies affected across the globe, it might be easy to think that this year’s holiday season is going to be a bit of a wash. However, we’d argue that certain dates—Black Friday in particular—are even more important than ever.

This date has become a staple in the retail calendar—not just in the States, but across the world. And, with COVID increasing the rate of businesses moving online, ensuring you have a stellar Back Friday campaign is going to be essential.

Let’s get started!


Getting Started

Aesop's Effective Design
Aesop’s simple but effective design comprises of a headline, illustration, brief supplementary info, and a call-to-action. It’s a formula that works perfect for any Black Friday campaign.

It’s best to keep this in mind—keep it simple and make it striking. It’s tempting to throw everything but the kitchen sink at a Black Friday campaign, designing materials that include every single thing you’re releasing into your sale.

However, the key to successful Black Friday content is to pare everything back. Have one simple, succinct, and stellar message backed up by a beautiful design. Remember, all you’re trying to do here is create enough intrigue that a customer will click through to wherever your sale is held (most likely on your website). After that point, you can open the doors to your sale at large. Whether you’re creating social tiles, an e-newsletter, or a landing page—ideally, you should have all three in mind—the same principle of keeping it simple and making it striking applies.


The Anatomy of a Black Friday Promotion Design

Four-Piece Single Column Layout
A simple four-piece, single-column layout is all you need to create striking, easy-to-follow Black Friday content.

Keep It to Four Elements

Let’s face it, everybody is going to be receiving plenty of Black Friday messages from all manner of companies, all in a relatively short space of time. Making yours stand out from the crowd is your best chance of ensuring they pick yours over others. We recommend keeping things to an absolute minimum:

  • A compelling headline
  • An engaging statement image
  • Brief supplementary information
  • A call-to-action

You may think this isn’t enough, but think of it like this—social tiles, e-newsletters, and landing pages are like movie teasers, all you’re doing is getting people excited. If these elements are as well-designed as possible, you really won’t need anything else. Your customers’ attention is precious, so give them what they need, and nothing more.


Follow a Simple Layout

The layout of your materials will determine how impactful they are. A simple one-column layout will work nicely. Lead with your headline, then your statement image, any supplementary information, and finally your call-to-action.

As always, there’s an exception to this. If you’re using a visually-led platform—such as Instagram—to promote your Black Friday sale, then you may wish to split your design into a carousel, using one tile for each element of the layout. This will also prevent you from having to cram lots of information into a small amount of space. You may also wish to drop the headline entirely from your overall design and use the post description field for that purpose. This ensures your content continues to follow the overall aesthetic of your grid.

Herschel's Superb Advertising
Slick. Simple. Superb. Says it all and nothing more.
Black Friday Ad
A smart design that’s both interactive and beneficial to the customer. Win-win. Notice how even in a design as simple as this, the layout is just headline, image, info, and a call-to-action.

Pick Images That Get a Response

Black Friday sales need to be super-impactful in order to have any chance of breaking through the noise. Therefore, the most important element of your campaign is going to be the image you use to promote the sale. Dependent on what kinds of images your brand uses—photography, collage, or illustration. Just make sure it focuses on one product or service and immediately captures the imagination.

Why not talk about multiple products or services? Again, it’s a way of simplifying things. Even in a Black Friday sale, customers are likely to buy with their heart, not their head, from emotion instead of necessity. If you can elicit a feeling in the heart of the customer through your design, they’ll click through to see the rest.

Casper's Appealing Campaign
Casper uses their packaging to great effect in demonstrating their offer. With a subtle use of contrasting colors that work well with their overall brand, they’ve created a beautiful, appealing campaign.

Impact Over Brand Rules

In the normal run of creating marketing materials for your business, you want to adhere to your brand guidelines in order to create consistency, familiarity, and recognizability. With Black Friday sales, however, impact is everything. So, if you want to set your headline in a statement typeface, or use variations on your brand colors to get the feeling just right, then go for it.

Again, less is more. Don’t throw the guidelines out the window. Instead, enhance them and play with them to create something unique that’s obviously from you, and has plenty of bang for its buck. This is one of those rare times where you can break the mold a little. So, go for it!


Experimenting with Your Design

Working with Typography

Choosing a statement typeface can be a lot of fun, but there are a few rules worth considering. Typography is more than ornamentation or an accessory to your design. A typeface has the power to change the entire mood of your design, which is why it’s strong device for creating emotion in the minds of your customers.

Choose the Right Typeface
The mood of an entire design can, and will, be changed simply by employing different typography.

Anything angular is going to have a much more industrial or clinical feel. Whereas, a typeface that’s rounded or cursive (like handwriting), will give a friendlier, more intimate feel. Something blocky or all caps will create impact, whereas something light and thin will give a modern, fresh feel. Experiment to your heart’s content. Just remember that whatever you choose, it needs to lend itself to the overall emotion you’re trying to convey.

Color and Color Theory

Equally, choosing colors to create the right emotional reaction can also be fun, but again, there’s a few things to look out for. Using tints and shades is a vibrant way to work with your current brand colors, but in a new and exciting way.

Just a short diversion regarding color theory—a tint is when you mix a color with white, therefore lightening it. A shade is when you mix a color with black, therefore darkening it.

The Importance of Shades and Tints
Employing shades and tints is a vibrant way of changing things up without losing your branding.

You can eyeball the colors yourself and make a guess at the tints and shades. Or, you could use a program—such as Adobe Illustrator—that’ll generate tints and shades on your behalf:

  1. Open a new document.
  2. Choose the color you’d like to work with from the Color Picker.
  3. Ensure that you have the Color Guide palette open. You can do this by going to Window > Color Guide.
  4. From here, you’ll see a panel that includes your references color, with shades to the left and tints to the right. Simply click the shade or tint you’d like to use.
  5. Extra tip: From the Color Guide panel, you can also choose from a number of generated color palettes that complement your reference color. These could be used to introduce some additional colors that you might not have thought about using yourself.
The Color Guide Panel
Bringing your designs to life is simple to achieve in design software, such as Adobe Illustrator, through the use of their super-useful Color Guide panel.
ARY's Black Friday Newsletter
ARY takes simplicity to the nth degree in this super-compelling Black Friday newsletter campaign. It could quite easily be adapted for social too.

Bringing It All Together

Once you’ve got all the elements of your campaign designed, it’s time to bring it all together. Remember that the best campaigns target customers in all the places they hang out. So, having a family of materials covering social, email, and your website—either through a dedicated landing page or a major section on your homepage—is a good start.

By following our recommendations for layout, typography, colors, and imagery, you can ensure to have a topnotch campaign this holiday season.


Cover image by Pixel-Shot.

Learn more about growing your holiday marketing strategy here: