12 Tested Pointers on Effective Design

Make your material reader-friendly. Every element in your advertising should encourage readership, because if your prospects do not read it, naturally they will not respond to it. Serif-faced copy is easier to read than sans-serif. And roman faces are easier to read than italics, especially in large areas. All caps often depress readership. So does reversed type. Always use at least 10-point type — or 12 point, if you are selling to older people.

Jar eyeballs.

You want to spur action — so use call-outs, arrows, and anything else that creates visual urgency.

Secretarial-school graduates love to end a column with a period.

Yet that depresses readership. Sentences that run on to the next column boost it.

Set headlines above body copy.

Headlines under or in the midst of body copy are novelties that rarely work. Even less productive: no headlines at all.

Direct your reader’s eye.

Photos and illustrations should face into your copy.

Stress key words.

Use underscores, highlighting, boldface, or italics — but judiciously.

Make coupons inviting.

Stick to rectangular shapes, with heavy dashed lines on the top, bottom, and sides. Odd-shapes make clipping or tearing hard.

Show people using your product.

People do not identify with static photos or illustrations. Showing people provides your prospects with easy-to-grasp product size information.

Set phone numbers and URLs big and bold.

Your most-likely prospects urgently want to know how to reach you.

Design envelopes to be opened.

Some highly successful advertisers simply print “Open Here” on the back flap of a mailing package’s outer carrier. Simple, but it works.

Make your letters look like letters.

Avoid using illustrations or photos in letters. Since computers came into being, the use of a typewriter type face has dwindled, in favor of other serif faces for body text.

Use one-inch or larger margins (white space frames your copy). Keep your paragraphs short — four lines or fewer. Indent each paragraph five spaces. use single space between lines, double space between paragraphs. Use black or (preferably) navy blue ink for your signature.

Design folders to be read, not to win awards.

Most often — to the chagrin of some art directors — a simple, fact-crammed layout (even if not four-color) will collar more readers, and be more believed by them, than splashier graphic treatments.

Make your order form look easy.

If possible, use your database to fill in lines ahead of time for your customer-to-be. If you can’t. make sure he has plenty of room to print his information. Create a full-size mock-up to make certain your form will fit into your reply envelope without folding.

See also:

Advertising Copy Home Page

Marketing Tactics Home Page

Marketing Home Page

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