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Consumers send most direct mailers directly to the dumps. Avoid these common mistakes and your message may make it past the wastepaper basket.

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This story appears in the July 1999 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

"Avoid mistakes before seeking brilliance." This may sound a bit on the safe side, but when it comes to creating an effective direct-mail piece, it's also a sure way to avoid creative catastrophes. To avoid mistakes:

1. Don't be cutesy. Pun-laden copy combined with a garish design, wild colors and hard-to-read type hides your message and is a recipe for the circular file.

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