Gift card branding offers a marketing opportunity

Vericast’s Josh Hatcher talks gift card design and branding.

(Image credit: Vericast)

Gift card branding is a tool for brands to reach consumers. Gift cards have grown in popularity as e-commerce continues to surge and supply chain problems persist.

Gift cards were the most popular present in 2021 for the 15th year in a row, per WalletHub, and sales from November through mid-December last year of both physical and e-gift cards rose 114% compared to the same period in 2020, per Square.

The US gift cards market was worth $313.4 billion last year and the global market is projected to hit $1.4 trillion by 2026, according to ReportLinker.

It’s clear that gift cards will be on the agenda this year for many marketers and the effect they can have on brand reputation and the consistency of branding shouldn’t be overlooked.

SmartBrief spoke to Josh Hatcher, senior graphic designer at Vericast, to find out more about the process of card design and branding in general.

Hatcher has been designing custom gift, credit and debit cards for hundreds of clients across the US and Puerto Rico for more than two decades. His designs also feature in-client branding and digital wallets.

Josh Hatcher on gift card branding
Hatcher

How important is card design to overall branding?

Hatcher: Card design is a significant tool in reinforcing brand or identity and is important in maintaining top-of-wallet status.

How a card looks and feels, changing industry card regulations, emerging trends and new technologies can all make the card design process complex.  There’s also the consideration of customer convenience, and what brands can do to enhance the customer experience.

What type of design works?

Hatcher:  Consumers like to use cards that look unique and show prestige, and a great-looking custom-designed card is used more often. Cards with vibrant colors and embellishments such as metallic inks and matte finishes can make a card stand out.

Does a card’s material matters?

Hatcher: A card’s material is just as important as its design and can leave a positive impression of your brand. A variety of card materials like metal and color core cards are available. Recovered ocean-bound plastic cards are an important consideration as they can be a reputation differentiator.

How important is instant availability?

Hatcher: Consumers expect convenience and a hassle-free experience. Giving customers instant access to activate cards is a game-changer. With print-on-demand in-branch [or in-store] card issuance, a customer can receive their card on-the-spot instead of waiting several days to receive via traditional mailing.

What’s your creative process like?

Hatcher: When it comes to design, I liken my approach to a baker who is creating a new recipe. I utilize the appropriate color pallet as my base ingredient, take different finishes and embellishments into consideration, and mix different styles of design to develop that final piece of art.

How can marketers make the creative process easier?

Hatcher: Collaboration through constant communication during the design process is important to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

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