Slim Jims are happening again. No, we aren’t talking about the delicious and nutritionally-dubious dried meat snack. This kind of slim jim is a smaller sized catalog, designed to take advantage of favorable postal rates for letter-sized pieces.
Hugely popular back in the ‘90s as a way to combat the steep rise in postal rates (sound familiar?), they are back on the radar screen for this and other good reasons. These letter-sized booklets offer a nice change of pace for your customers, and can provide a more intimate reader experience especially when delivered in an envelope.
What’s A Slim Jim?
Basically a slim jim is like a standard catalog but smaller, with the same page height (10.5”) and a smaller width (5.5”). This smaller size qualifies them for “letter” or “heavy” letter rates at the post office and may save you a bundle over conventional flat rates.
They can be delivered as is with a tabbed cover, or inserted into letter-size envelopes for delivery.
(A digest is similar to a slim jim, but rather than being cut to smaller pages, the standard catalog page size is folded in half and then stapled.)
Why We Like Slim Jims and Digests
The first reason we are fans is the obvious cost savings. Businesses are feeling the pinch of recent rate hikes. Anything you can do to mitigate that expense is worth investigating. Mini catalogs are popular for this reason and creative designers are truly bringing their talents to bear on making some of these quite striking.
Another advantage? You get more pages in your booklet for the same square inches. For example, a full size (8.25” x 10.5”) at 16 pages has the same amount of square inches (1386 to be exact) as a 24-page slim jim. This makes it ideal for products that work best one-to-a-page and provide for a clean and photo-friendly layout.
Finally, anything that is not the “normal” size demands our attention. Like the oversized business card or the oddly shaped package, a slim jim or digest is likely to stand out from the pack. And this is a very good thing in direct mail.
Design Tips of Smaller Catalogs
Considering publishing a slim jim or digest for your next mailing? Great; talk to your printer or mailing professional for specifics, and keep these tips in mind as you begin the process:
- Don’t shrink your photos — Given the smaller page size, it can be tempting to shrink the images. Don’t do it. Case studies have shown that this is likely to diminish your returns. Instead, use large images and cut the text as needed.
- Take advantage of the two page spread. A gorgeous image on the left page with sales copy on the right might make a good read. Don’t stay boxed in to your usual catalog layout.
- Be selective in what products you include. A slim jim is a great way to do a smaller mailing to a subset of your list. Choose the products carefully and create a niche catalog experience.
- Check with your mailing provider and/or the USPS on specifics. There are cover weight restrictions, tabbing requirements, addressing issues, etc. Skip this step at your own peril.
Creative solutions to your business challenges come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Send us a sample of your best work; we’d love to see what you’re up to.