A Fenway Park-inspired calendar via Flickr user joyosity.
The New Year is approaching quickly, which means its a great time for small businesses and graphic designers to promote themselves by distributing cool, free calendars
to clients and leads. At the start of the New Year, people will be looking for tools such as a calendar that might help them improve their lifestyle or increase their productivity. The most successful calendars take the mundane task of keeping track of appointments and schedules and make it fun, interesting or inspirational. Here are some format and design ideas for printing custom calendars
that clients will love to get their hands on! 1. A "Coffee stained" notepad
Print a custom notepad design with days of the week called-out on each page. You can add ruled lines under each day or even bullet points with blank lines next to them. Kick this design up notch by adding a cool 3-D element such as a realistic looking coffee-stain. Here's a tutorial on making a coffee stain
using Illustrator and Photoshop. You can add your website or business name inside, or around the coffee stain. Clients will appreciate this fun little to-do list. Hopefully your notepad will stay on their desks, and your business will stay on their minds! 2. Information graphic calendar (self promotion)
Many graphic designers are really talented at putting together information graphics. For a unique self-promotion think about the 2011 calendar year and how you can code the days, weeks and months into an original poster-sized
information graphic. This way clients can put the poster up in their offices or homes to see the year at a glance. If you come up with a cool concept that's also functional, clients will appreciate your clever design and be staring at it on the wall for the next 12 months! Don't forget to add your URL or contact information somewhere on the poster. Here are some poster
calendar ideas to get you inspired: the Mash Creative 2010 Calendar
and the 2008 Multi-Faith Wall Calendar Design
. Also check out Melissa design by vanhoodesign, on Etsy.com
for more info-graphic calendar ideas. 3. Humorous day of the week notepad
Funny calendars really take the edge off. When someone is stressing out about a project or due date and looks down at a funny calendar design, it should ease their mind and hopefully make them smile. Print custom notepads
with the days of the week, and for each day create a fun piece of copy or an illustration that corresponds to the "level of stress" associated with the day. For example:
Monday: Here we go again. Tues: Doing all right. Wed: Really? Already?! Thurs: There's still hope. Friday: It's 5 o'clock somewhere ... Saturday: Party Time! Sunday: Zzzzz ...
Another cute idea would be to borrow the character Sisyphus from ancient Greek mythology. Sisyphus was punished by the Gods and had to spent an eternity filling an endless crater with boulders. A funny illustration could show a cartoon Sisyphus pushing a boulder up hill all week until Friday when he gets to the crater, realizes he's never going to finish and collapses in exhaustion for the weekend! Don't forget to add your company URL or contact information on the notepad as well.