Marketing & Promotions

NAILS 1ST Annual Graphics Contest

You don’t need to be a graphic designer to run a successful nail business, but attention-grabbing business cards, handouts, and advertisements are great clientele-building tools.

The idea behind sponsoring a graphics contest for nail technicians was not to show that you need to be a designer or an artist to make it in the nail industry. Rather, we wanted to emphasize the importance of well-designed business cards, handouts, advertisements and direct mail pieces as essential business tools.

We also wanted to feature the best from our readers---to honor designs that were truly creative and, we hope, to inspire other technicians. After all, when a client leaves your salon with a great manicure, she should also leave with a couple of your business cards or handouts in her hand---and, these days, business literature may say as much about your salon as the nails do.

We received nearly 400 entries from 141 nail technicians and salon owners. The submissions varied so greatly that we decided to expand the judging beyond our original four categories. We’ve selected the top entries in the following categories: business card, advertisement, direct mail (fliers, price lists, coupons), promotional handout (gift certificates, thank-you cards, follow-up notes), and newsletter/brochure. First place winners received $100 and a framed achievement certificate; honourable mentions received an achievement certificate.

We’ve already started planning for next year’s contest and hope to double this year’s response. Read on, then call your printer and get started on your own 1993 NAILS Graphics Contest entries.

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry, and congratulations to all the winners.


It was no easy task narrowing down the top designs in each category. There was such diversity that we’ve decided that next year we will ask entrants to describe how the materials reflect the salon’s personality and its clientele’s tastes.

In each entry we looked for materials that served to remind clients of the salon--- memorable, eye-catching graphic designs. Winners were chosen based on the entry’s attractiveness, the clarity of the message, innovation, and usefulness.

OUR JUDGES: Assisting the NAILS editors in judging the Graphics Contest entries were Lynn La Londe and Tom Price. NAILS art director Lynn La Londe holds a BA in design from California State University at Pomona and a BFA in design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Her design career began 10 years ago in advertising, and she has worked for Knapp Communications as an art director on Bon Appetit and Architectural Digest. Tom Price, currently art director for the trade publication Automotive Fleet, received a BS degree from the University of California at Davis and has been a designer for 11 years. He has been an art director for Peterson Publishing and Tri-athlete Magazine.


1st Place: The Scratching Post, Fall River, Mass. Submitted by Linda Medeiros.

A business card/emery board is such a natural idea, we had to wonder why there weren’t more of them. This cushioned zebra file is simple and practical, and the salon’s name, address, and phone number are printed on one side in simple black type. Medeiros obviously wants her clients not only to remember her salon, but to take care of the work she’s done on their nails.

Honorable Mention: Clients of Nails on Nails, Etc. In Franklin, Wis., will probably remember the salon long after their appointments. Printed on heavy paper stock, Nails on Nails, Etc.’s business card folds in half, and the client’s next appointment is written inside. The design is cutting edge, yet elegant. This card might have won the contest, but it doesn’t include the salon’s address, an element we feel is critical on a business card. (Submitted by Sandra Conklin.)

Focusing on the artistry of doing nails, Ms. Vicki’s owner Vicki Welke elected not to use the standard business card shape and opted instead for an artist’s palette. The card is made of colored plastic and printed with Welke’s specialties. The card’s flaw, though, is uneven and inconsistent typography. (Submitted by Vicki Welke, Denver, Colo.)

Business-like, simple, and elegant, the business cards from Tips Nail & Image Center in Foster City, Calif., are printed on high-quality parchment paper with elegant, yet clinical-looking, green type. A very useful feature of this card is the map on the back. The card also doubles as a referral card. (Submitted by Paula Gilmore and Stephanie Takahara.)

Nail Niche in Farmington Hills, Mich., shows potential clients right off what they can expect with professional nail care. With a lighthearted graphic design and a clear message, the card shows that ragged and bitten nails can become long and beautiful. Our only suggestion to Maher is to include the area code for the salon next time, because you never know where your cards will travel. (Submitted by Cheryl Maher.)

1st Place: Nail Station, Duncanville, Texas. Submitted by Linda Skrovan and Sonya Shackelford.                   

Printed on heavy white stock, this gift certificate features a drawing of the salon’s business card. The outside envelope has a lovely touch with the salon’s logo and address embossed in the upper left corner. The cards are an elegant and thoughtful salon reminder.

Honorable Mention: Festive and fun, this gift certificate from Joyce’s Nail Salon is one-of-a-kind. Lettered with felt tip pen on acetate, the certificates can be made up individually and done as decoratively or simply as the technician chooses. However, though they are truly unique, the certificates may become too costly and time consuming to do in volume. (Submitted by Hope Lang-Moskowitz, Philadelphia, Penn.)

Any client of Nails by Barbara is bound to feel special when she gets a hand-colored invitation in the mail. Owner Barbara Smart-Smith lettered and colored 60 cards for a Valentine’s Day promotion. She also created a fun pedicure promotion, with a similar color scheme, to send clients. (Submitted by Barbara Smart-Smith, Fresno, Calif.)

The Nail Doc has a very pretty gift certificate with a matching envelope. This handout carries out the same color scheme that owners Art Munzer, Vince Bucchianeri, and Tommy Bucchianeri use on their business cards. Our art directors liked the elegance of the typography and the paper. (Submitted by Karen Lees, Arlington Heights, III.)

Clients will no doubt be impressed when receiving this thank you note from The Buckhead Nail Club. The thank-you message is sincere and the card is printed on recycled paper. (Submitted by Natalie Brown, Atlanta.)

1st Place: Sun Tropez Salon, Edison, N.J. Submitted by Linda Kuper.

Sun Tropez packs a lot of information into a clean presentation with this brochure. Printed on linen paper and folded twice, the brochure details the salon’s services, including prices, and has important safe tanning instructions for tanning clients. The back of the brochure is blank, allowing it to be mailed or given to clients in the salon.

Honorable Mention: Tanya’s Styling Salon has a newsletter titled The Clawzzz Newzzz, which takes a fun and practical look at nails. There are interesting tidbits about nails, and on the back is extensive copy on each service the salon offers. (Submitted by Gaylun Swango, Alameda, Calif.)

Nails Update from A&W Salon in Birmingham, Ala., is a short newsletter where Joseph Cromwell runs upcoming monthly specials, safety tips, and promotes the salon’s products. Printed on heavy pink paper, it can also be used as a mailer.

1st Place: Tips Nail & Image Center, Foster City, Calif. Submitted by Paula Gilmore and Stephanie Takahara.

Tips’ mailer features photos of the owners, their services and prices, and an interesting extra element titled “Promises,” where owners Gilmore and Takahara let clients know that they will back up their services. This is sure to instill confidence in new and regular clients.

Honorable Mention: Barbara Kappesser of Hair Network Etc. In El Toro, Calif., offers her clients a “Nail Menu,” which allows them to choose their services (and cost). This is a la carte pricing structure allows a technician to charge as services are added on and ensures that the client knows ahead of time what she’ll be charged.

Marie Neubauer of Marie’s Beauty Center and Salon in Anchorage, Alaska, elicits excitement with her fire engine red mailer. The instructions on the envelope say “Please do not open this envelope.” It instructs clients to take the envelope to the salon for a 5% to 50% discount.

This brochure from Shearlocks Hair Design in Royal Oak, Mich., creates a feeling for the wide choices available from this salon. Each card shows services and prices. (Submitted by Joann Bologna.)

Norman Stephens Salon has a full direct mail “wardrobe,” including birthday cards and discount cards. Printed on the same paper as the salon’s business cards and other handouts, they leave a lasting impression. (Submitted by Demetra Psilopoulos, Cranston, R.I.)

1st Place: Nails on Nails, Etc., Franklin, Wis. Submitted by Sandra Conklin.

This high-impact ad from Nails on Nails Etc. Has a clever headline and a perfect photo of perfect nails to bring in the clients. Offering a special in the ad is a great draw. Its contemporary design might pull in clients who might not otherwise try a nail salon. This ad shows how good artificial nails can look.

Honorable Mention: Santa Cruz Hair Designs & Nail Care grabs a newspaper reader’s attention with a very cute photo of a child biting her nails. Alluding to how their nail technicians can work with nail biters, the ad also offers a special discount on manicures and full sets. (Submitted by Dianne M. Brummitt, Soquel, Calif.)

Victoria’s Nails in Plant City, Fla., advertised in this city map of local businesses. It’s an eye-catching design, and one that clients probably won’t throw away. (Submitted by Victoria Shivers-Egdorf.)

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