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« Print Promotional Tools: Print Yourself or Farm Out? | Main | Technology: Good Camera - Bad Photos »

Print Promotional Tools: Rack Cards

part of the series: How to Use Print Promotional Tools

Photo: Deflect-o DisplaySo far, we have covered Business Cards and Cover Letters to introduce yourself and your art, and Postcards to give information. Another way to broadcast your information is Rack Cards.

You've probably seen rack cards. Rack cards are usually in a wire or wooden rack - hence the name. They're those glossy cards in hotel lobbies, promoting local things to do while you're on vacation. (If you are wondering what a vacation is, you probably need one.)

Why Use Rack Cards?
You can use cards to connect with people who are mostly looking for a diversion.

You can promote your art business in full color without the work of addressing them or the cost of postage.

You have more room on a rack card than on a postcard because you don't need to respect post office boundaries or leave room for an address. Most rack cards are double-sided but you may be able to do a 2 or 3 panel version. (We'll be talking about these when we cover brochures in this series.)

The great thing about rack cards is that you can also use them to rack up connections without a physical rack. You can hand them out at events or include them in mailings.

When to Use Rack Cards
Rack cards are an inexpensive way to get the word out in hotels, resorts, tourism centers and entertainment venues. You can promote your art, gallery tours, portraits, private lessons and workshops.

Before You Design Rack Cards
As you think about your design, as always, keep your audience in mind and be ready to describe the benefits of what you are offering.

Before you get started designing, make sure to check with the location to find out about the guidelines for locations where you plan to place your rack cards. You won't waste time, money and effort producing cards that don't fit the rack or the rules of the venue.

© 2010 Patrice Federspiel, Art of Aloha

Design with Purpose and Think About Rack Card Real Estate
Make your rack card visually appealing - that should be easy for you since you are an artist. Most rack cards are 4" by 9".  You can use both sides of the card to get your message across.

  • The front of the rack card is visible, especially the top 1" to 1.5". That makes it prime real estate, so make sure you put the most important information here. This is your headline. It has to grab attention quickly, because people tend to browse the rack.


When browsers see something that catches their eye, they will pull it out and scan the front. To keep the front of the card easy to scan, use bullet points to describe what you are offering, why it is more entertaining than anything else the viewer could choose. Put your identity and contact information on both sides.

  • The back of the rack card is a great place to add detail. If you have captured their attention, people will flip the rack card over and read the back. You can make the information on this side denser. Include details about what you are offering, e.g. times, locations, prices. Add a bio and picture of you so they can connect with you as a person. Add maps so they don't have to work hard to find you. Who doesn't like a bargain, especially on vacation? Add tear-off coupons with bonuses for individuals or discounts for groups.

Keep track of your results

A tear off coupon is a good way to track your results by the numbers that are redeemed. If you use more than one type of card or have them in more than one location, customize the coupon design or code so you can identify the source.

Deliver Your Rack Cards in Person

Introduce yourself to the hotel concierge and front desk staff. Hand them several rack cards and let them know they can call you if they need more information.

Digital Arts Studio


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