That would be me, Steve Gerard. And what I do is help direct response advertising get better... well... response. My studio, Gerard Creative Services, is devoted to designing direct response advertising that gets seen, gets read and gets results. I work behind the scenes (to the trade) with ad agencies, marketing consultants, independent copywriters and printing companies to help them present their clients’ products and services in a way that turns prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers.
And, yes, creating design that does all that really is my life’s work. Always has been. I’ve learned from some of the best in the business how offer, list, copy, design, and psychology can work together to boost response. After more than two decades in the business, I know the direct response rules — and how and when to bend them.
Sadly, many art directors and designers don’t share my passion. They’d rather do branding or image campaigns. Others simply never had anybody to show them how to design great direct response advertising. That’s why so much direct mail never gets opened and the reason so many online sales pages go unclicked.
Bottom line: I love direct response advertising and I’m very good at designing it. Stick around and you will see.
My job is to make sure it gets read. I do that with design that makes copy inviting and easy to read. I’ve been working with great copywriters for decades. Most seem to like working with me. Maybe that’s because I’m one of those rare designers who reads every word of the copy. And I do my best to make sure everybody who sees it does the same.
Of course, they do. After all, it is direct response. And when your work improves your client’s bottom line, that could result in a long and profitable relationship.
So doesn’t it make sense to work with a designer with a record of proven results? Again, that would be me.
Here’s what one of my clients said about a head-to-head (A/B) test of an identical membership offer with identical format and identical copy. According to the client, my design version resulted in “a response rate 29.3% higher than a competing designer’s version.” And the same membership promotion I designed when tested against the control “increased paid orders by 17.1%.”
Here are a few other actual quotes from other actual clients:
“New business direct mail is doing great. The voucher package is way ahead of the control. A 109% increase.”
“You clearly hit a HOME RUN. Excellent job and thanks for making us look good.”
“Our click rate on renewal emails has increased 6%.”
“We liked the design of the piece a lot — especially after we saw it lifted response about 35%.”
“Phenomenal work! The client will eat it up.”
“Steve Gerard has an intuitive sense of what is necessary to create maximum response and he also drills down to ensure everything is working seamlessly — design, copy, format, production and offer. He is a real pro who takes pride in his work and makes the entire team look good. I have rarely come across someone as creative, thorough and proactive a Steve.”
I’ve got more of these and I’m proud of every one. But you get the idea.
Here are just a few samples. If you’d like to see more, call me at 773-338-8700 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time) or drop me an email. BTW, the clients whose work is shown here have given their permission to show it. Some others prefer to keep their advertising programs private and I respect their wishes.
Print or download this fact sheet. So when you have a deadline creeping up... when you need fresh new ideas... when your favorite design or production person is short on time — you’ll have a proven designer you can call on.
Which means there’s a lot riding on every project and me delivering results. Since it’s my studio, I have a direct financial interest in making sure you get good service and the results you expect.
There are no account people to filter what you say or to interpret your instructions inaccurately. Cutting out that person in the middle means you deal directly with the one who does the work. Which means you get better work much faster.
Your work won’t be turned over to junior-level talent or fresh-out-of-design school beginners. There aren’t any at my place. I personally design and produce every part of every assignment. And because I’ve been doing that for more than twenty years, I generally get it right the first time — even when working under the constraints of postal regulations, HTML email rendering quirks and tight deadlines.
I'm based out of a home office in Chicago, and work with folks throughout the U.S. and Canada. The telephone and email make that easy. If I should happen to miss your call or email, most times I’ll return it within one hour.
What the great director Stanislavsky said about acting holds true for design work: There are no small projects, only small designers. And as far as I’m concerned, there are no small projects, either. Every project — from simple edits to an existing promotion to helping create a multi-component promotion — is the most important job in the house. I’ll put all my skill, stamina and know-how into every one.
I don’t have designers on staff. So I don’t have all the fixed expenses that come with a staff. And with low overhead I deliver high-quality work and service for generally less than what design firms charge. (Which is why when I compete against them, I usually win.) And, of course, lower charges from me leaves more room for you to mark up my service. If you do not markup outside services, then every dollar invested goes a lot further with me.
Gerard Creative Services specializes in designing and producing:
• Direct mail
• Emails, landing pages and order forms
• Online banner and button ads
• Print ads, onserts, wraps and inserts
I work only for the trade — ad agencies, marketing consultants, independent copywriters and commercial printers. Give me a call at 773-338-8700 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time) or drop me an email and let’s discuss your project.
Very likely. I’ve been doing this for more than twenty years, and I’ve worked in just about every industry and on all kinds of products and services. Including architecture, automotive, business services, education, financial, food, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, medical, not-for-profit, publishing, science, training and telecommunications. Chances are excellent that I’ve got experience in your client’s category.
I've been freelancing continuously since 1999 from a home office in Chicago.
Probably less than you think. But there’s only one way to know for sure. Call me at 773-338-8700 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time) and we’ll talk about what I can do to help. Or, if you’d rather, just drop me an email or leave a phone message and I’ll get back to you with a quote. Either way, there’s no cost or obligation.
With a call to 773-338-8700 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time) or an email. You’ll tell me what you’re selling, your call to action and who you’re targeting. Then you’ll describe the project and let me know what you have in mind in terms of deliverables. (Email? Direct mail? Online banner ad? Print ad? Landing page? etc.) You’ll tell me when you need to see first proofs and finished art. Then, I’ll write up a quote.
After you’ve given me the green light, I’ll ask for your copy, any ideas or suggestions you might have, any mandatories or requirements and examples of your client’s past promotions. If you have a creative brief, I’ll ask you to send it along. If your client has graphic standards or style guidelines, I’ll ask for those, too. You’ll have a first draft and finished deliverables on or before the agreed-upon deadline.
Most of my clients are enthusiastic about the work when they receive it. If you happen to be one of the few that isn’t, don’t worry. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you’re not 100% satisfied, I’ll revise the work according to your specific guidelines and at my expense. Just tell me what you want improved and I’ll improve it. There is no charge for revisions unless they involve a change in the project’s scope.
Yes. I’ll accept and sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Glad you asked. Here’s everything else you need to know.
RIGHTS TO FINISHED ART
You get worldwide and perpetual rights to use, reproduce and display the finished art.
PAYMENT AND BILLING TERMS
Established clients pay in full at the completion of the project, with payment within 30 days from the receipt of invoice. Projects of more than 45 days in duration are usually invoiced monthly until completion. Invoices are submitted by postal mail or, if you prefer, by email. I accept checks, credit cards and debit cards.
Projects begin when I receive background materials and your written authorization to proceed. First draft proofs are usually delivered within four to ten days, depending upon the complexity of the project.
Revisions are included at no additional cost unless they represent a change in the scope of the project. Minor changes are typically turned around in one to three business days. Last minute changes are completed in time to meet agreed deadlines.
DELIVERY OF FINAL ART
After your approval, I will complete print/press-ready art in half a day to three days. Tested HTML email final art is delivered within three to four days. Files under 15Mb are delivered as email attachments. Larger files are delivered via a DropBox link.
CANCELLATION OR KILL FEE
Fifty percent (50%) of the final fee is due if the project is canceled or postponed before delivery of finished art. One hundred percent (100%) of the total fee is due if finished art has been completed prior to cancellation or postponement of the project.
Any material you supply will not be returned unless arrangements have been made in writing prior to starting the project.
COPIES OF PRINTED WORK
You are asked to provide three sample copies of printed material to me.
I guarantee you’ll be enthusiastic with the design work when you receive it. If you’re not 100% satisfied, I’ll revise the work according to your specific guidelines at my expense, unless the revisions involve a change in the project’s scope. I don’t guarantee the design work will produce a specific result or response rate.
Call 773-338-8700 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time) or email me and I’ll get back to you right away.
There’s no cost or obligation to discuss an issue or to provide a quote.
Call Steve at
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time
or shoot me an email:
Get your hands on my one-page fact sheet.
You never know when you’ll need a direct response advertising designer. So why not get the best? Print or download my fact sheet and keep it on file.