Conquest Graphics has played a major role in re-energizing the marketing aspect of our organization! With the help of knowledgeable Conquest Graphics staff, our in-house designs were transferred to the proper templates for printing. The finished products gave us updated and long overdue professional advertising items that communicate the history, mission, vision and operation of the Braille Circulating Library (Library).
In an age when much of life is read about from electronic devices, printed material still plays a vital role in the effective dissemination of information. Specifically related to our organization, communicating in print about the inability of some to even see it, is an important way to lead people to think about life from a different perspective. Print is tangible, providing a tactile object lesson that engages the brain through the sense of sight, as well as of touch. In this way, printed material for the Library is a good example of silent “Show and Tell” that raises awareness of just one aspect of what it may be like to live with no or low vision. That alone is a step forward in drawing the public’s attention to the need that our organization addresses by providing resources in Braille, Large Print and audio formats to the blind and vision-impaired.
Printed brochures are an important marketing tool for the Braille Circulating Library. They are kept in the greeting area for onsite visitors, and serve as conversation starters as well as reminders of what our guests saw and heard while on site. The Library also mails brochures to new contacts with letters of introduction, and with letters in follow-up to introductory conversations. Of course, they are very handy at events! They lend professionalism to any display. We give them to those who stop for a chat, because they serve as reminders of the Library’s mission and how it works to fulfill it, and because they also contain the contact information for following up if anyone desires to financially support or to otherwise become involved in the work.
Another advantage for the Library in advertising by print is that it gives people unfamiliar with the organization and the people it serves, a glimpse of the Library without having to visit. Unless someone has seen books in the braille code, they may not have a clear mental picture of how large they are, or ever have thought about how much more space is needed for one volume alone. The brochure that Conquest Graphics printed for us includes a picture of these shelved volumes.
The Library sees the advantage in using several forms of printed advertising. Our printed custom bookmark serves dual purposes. Although not as useful for patrons while reading braille books (because they come with attached place ribbons), each time it is used to mark a place or is removed, it serves to remind the sighted of the Library and the inability of people with no or low vision to read the variety of books available to them. A local bookstore hands these to customers with their purchases and receipts!
Other forms of print used in advertising by the Library are flyers and postcard sized cards that convey the Library’s mission, and contact information, and also lists ways that others can get involved and give financially.
The Library also views printed letterhead envelopes as marketing tools. Not only do they complete the stationary set, they also lend to the professional image of the organization and are themselves a useful communication tool. They carry important messages that assist in building relationships with people who support the Library in a variety of ways. In addition, as they flow through the delivery process, people other than the intended recipients see the Library’s name and by-line. In these ways, printed envelopes serve not only as agents of communicating specific messages but also as advertising agents in and of themselves.
Perhaps a more basic printed product would help the Library to promote its services. A printed catalog would be a meaningful item to have at events, to give visitors a quick read of the Library’s shelves. On a day-to-day basis, this tool would help staff more easily identify the Library’s current resources as they work among the stacks. Understanding the high cost of publishing a catalog in braille, patrons have expressed interest in a printed catalog because it could be read to them by family and friends.
A printing grant from Conquest Graphics would allow the Library to update its marketing tools, reprint as necessary, and allow for the addition of new tools to be created. In so doing, it could make possible an exciting avenue for building and sustaining relationships with patrons – custom twin vision cards. The content of Twin Vision items is both printed and brailled on the same page. The cost saved on printing could be applied to that of brailling. It’s easy to see that this form of communication would be meaningful for patrons and their families alike.
Although the Library maintains a website that is used by both the sighted and non-sighted, not all sighted, blind and vision impaired people can or do use technology. Print will always be recognized as a viable means for the Braille Circulating Library to communicate. It’s basic, it’s relational, and it can be read without the need to rely upon electronic devices or electricity.
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