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literature life - how long will it be good for?

This campaign tip (no. 11) was published on Friday, 11th January 2019
When designing literature think "how long will the shelf life be" and look to make the most of a print run. And also consider whether people will recognise your literature to be in date - both the people picking up and reading the leaflet, and the stockists who need to keep their shelves current.

Let me illustrate today's ideas by example - lets start across the top row of the graphic that's above this tip - from the left

1. A bus timetable. Clearly "From 29th April 2018". But until when? Look though the racks at your local bus station and you'll see all sorts of start dates and no end dates. And that's because bus timetables can change at short notice - the operators do not want to be forced into unnecessary reprints if the buses run unaltered for years, nor do they want to have to maintain a timetable longer than they want just because the timetables are out there and people will turn up for buses that aren't running. The "say when it starts, no end date" may be operationally convenient for the bus companies but it is very customer unfriendly - transferring the confusion and doubt to the passenger!

2. Classic Railway timetable. Clear start and end date. Good ... though of course it might be that the timetable doesn't change from 19th May!

3. Another classic railway timetable - but perhaps extravagant to put a full line leaflet together for less that the 12 days of Christmas. Come 4th January, just fit for the shredder. And distribution probably wouldn't start until 10 days before Christmas.

4. Here's a leaflet that's had an issue when the bus stops were changed. Always a tough call between putting in specific data with the risk of something changing, and being so general as to be less useful.
2nd row ...5., 6. and 7. - Three leaflets designed with longevity in mind. Not huge demand for these , but useful to have and promote over several years. No prices, no times ... but even so things can go wrong as show you in a minute.

8. Melksham Rail User Group solution to the Christmas 2018 special timetable - a general leaflet with a tear off extra for the holiday period. I'm writing this at the tail end of the holiday period - ask me later in the year if we got negative customer feedback. We're on. tighter budget than the folks who did.a separate Christmas timetable ... so our one has to suffice for their two.

Now - the three leaflets on the right.

The top two both went out of date at the end of 2018 - the one on the left because of a staff and telephone number change, and the one on the right when new fares came in (but it was dated anyway, and that was done in the full knowledge that the fares would change!)

Finally - the GWR timetable. They produce dozens of different timetables - all of which change at certain dates. I love the way they make a subtle but obvious (to those of us in the know) change each time. I can take a look through.a whole rack of GWR timetables and spot the expires ones - they stand out like sore thumbs!

Most campaigners will want to consider literature life and cost ... and other aspects too which we'll come back to during the year. Rail and bus examples, and public travel, are likely to be especially date sensitive but in general do think before you print
      How long will this leaflet stay valid?
      Could I useful making it longer lasting by making some small changes>

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Contact details

These pages are written by Graham Ellis of Melksham, Wiltshire. Overlapping a life in IT and IT training, with running a hotel and campaigning for improved public transport, Graham has never been quiet - though he's starting to wind down gently now. He no longer takes overnight guests and has stepped doen from the "Community Rail Officer" role which he accidentally aquired. So he now has more time to write pages such as these and to travel in the UK. He'll be delighted to speak with your group or take a look through your case or camapaign, but be alerted that his time is not limitless even now, and he still has to keep the wolf from the door.

Postal: 48, Spa Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 7NY
Phonal: 01225 708225
Emailal: graham -at-
Or reach me on the Coffee Shop Forum (User Grahame) facilities

What a difference a campaign makes!

It probably wouldn't have happened without a strong community campaign with which I have been involved. Most days through 2019 I'll be sharing a thought, an idea, a way of working or an experience. Come back here for the links. Discussions via the Coffee Shop Forum - Graham Ellis, 31st December 2018

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