What exactly is a self-promotional mailer? A self-promotional mailer is a marketing tool designed to creatively display promotional pieces. Self-promotional mailers vary in their content. Traditionally, they contain a cover letter, a resume, and a display of portfolio pieces. In addition, they could include a business card, a biography section, or someone personal for the receiver to keep. But the key to a great self-promotional mailer is the way in which you design and present the items. While firms receive hundreds of resumes daily, it is a way to positively draw attention to you. Rather than using words as an avenue to win the creative director, do what you do best and win them over with the design of your self-promotional. Show them! With this being said, don’t overlook the importance of the content of your cover letter and resume.

The final project for my Graphic Design for Professional Practices studio is to design a self-promotional mailer. In the first phase, we were assigned to research and find three companies, either dream or practical, that we would like to work for in the future. From there, we were to find contact information for each company. This is an important step because if you do not have a person of contact to directly send your package within the company, then your package is likely to get lost within the shuffling of mail. However, if there is a name on the package, it will ensure the package will be delivered to the person’s desk directly.

While we were give much creative freedom for this project, our professor provided us a few guidelines:

  1. Have a theme! A well-developed theme has the ability to bring you and your package to life. For example, one of my fellow students has lived in three different countries. He is utilizing this unique trait and incorporating it into his theme. If he were to just include this into his resume, it could easily be overlooked. What unique trait could you utilize as a self-marketing tool in your package?
  2. You should be able to create 1 self-promotional mailer in 20 minutes. If it would take you a whole weekend to put together a single mailer, then it is a waste of your time. This restricted time should be in the back of your mind during the design process. It forces you to design a package that can be efficiently and economically designed. This leads me to my next guideline.
  3. Buying a blank, pre-constructed structure can substantially cut down on the time it takes to produce a self-promotional mailer. However, it could reversely add to the cost. My professor as a guideline advised us to not by a structure more than two or three dollars. Because I am only initially creating 3 self-promotional mailers, I did not understand why this was important. Think about it this way! If you were to create 10, it would only be $20 to $30 dollars for the structure. This does not include the cost of printing and alternate materials. Keep this in mind when you’re designing your self-promotional mailer and your bank account will be thankful.


Here is an example of a creatively designed self-promotional mailer. At first glance, this looks like a traditional package of coffee beans. But look again! Instead of the type promoting the coffee beans, they are promoting themselves as a designer. What is most appealing about this self-promotional is how subtle it is, yet executed so well. A true example of thinking outside the box.

Happy designing!


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