Avoid These Top 5 Typography Mistakes

When you are putting your best foot forward, it’s important to pay attention to the details. Details can make the difference between looking like everyone else and really standing out.
When it comes to the design and layout of your print materials, one of those details is attending to the fine points in typography. According to Creative Bloq’s Christopher Phin, here are five very common typography conventions you want to maintain.

1. Using smart quotes. Whether you are reproducing a quote or citing a magazine article, you should use smart quotes (“this”) instead of the straight quote marks (“not this”).

2. Proper use of the apostrophe. Your keyboard doesn’t know when you are shortening a word or making a citation. When using them to indicate shortening, the mark should always curl toward the missing material. For example, it’s not “Keep ‘em coming.” It’s “Keep ’em coming.” Or when referring to dates, it’s the ’90s, not the ‘90s.

3. Using primes. When typing, many of us use straight quotes to refer to feet and inches. But the correct convention is to use primes, which tilt at a slight angle. Instead of typing 5′ 6″, type 5′ 6″ instead.

4. Properly set fractions. Like straight quotes instead of primes, many of us type fractions using the slash mark (1/2 or 1/4). Instead, most typefaces have dedicated glyphs for the most common fractions that should be used. For example, ½ and ¼.

5. Multiplication ‘x.’ Oh, that pesky math! Like fractions, there is a convention for that multiplication ‘x.’ Instead of referring to 8 ½ x 11” sheets, it should be 8 ½ × 11”.
Use this simple checklist to clean up your typography and ensure that it looks its absolute best.


Tap Into the Power of Color

There are a few black-and-white aficionados out there, but most people agree that color creates a stronger impact, especially on marketing collateral and other pieces designed to encourage people to buy. It’s why marketers fiercely protect their brand colors and the retail shelves look like kaleidoscopic explosions.

But thinking through color issues and designing in great color schemes takes time. How can you be sure that the additional investment is worth it? The answer is that, used correctly, color has a long track record of increasing the effectiveness of print.

For example, CCI COLOR (Color Communications, Inc.) has found that consumers make a subconscious judgment about people, their environment, or products within 90 seconds of initially viewing them and that between 62% and 90% of their decision-making is based on color alone.

In addition, a University of Loyola, Maryland study found that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

How can color be so powerful? According to the American Psychological Association, by hanging an extra “tag” of data on visual scenes, color helps people to process and store images more efficiently than black-and-white. As a result, people tend to remember color scenes better.

As an example, consider the current trend toward “retro” packaging. Savvy consumer products manufacturers are using retro packaging to tap into consumers’ emotions. Major brands from Cheerios to Skippy, Doritos, and Tide are throwing back to the 70’s, 60’s, and even the 40’s with styles and colors deeply familiar to consumers. By tapping into happy childhood memories, they are creating positive associations that help to sell products.

The power of color to influence purchases also can be seen in the recent addition of green ketchup to the Heinz brand. According to Junk Food News, more than 10 million bottles of Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup were sold in the first seven months following its introduction last year. Heinz factories worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep up with demand. The result? $23 million in sales attributable to the new green ketchup, which is the highest sales increase in the brand’s history. Now the company is working on a new color, Funky Purple, to be introduced this fall.

So, what can you do to tap into the power of color?

  1. Make color a priority. Really put thought into the power and meaning of color. Make great choices in using color to draw out the desired emotion from your target audience.
  2. Use great graphics. It’s worth spending a little extra money on artwork, photographs, and design to really make your color pop.
  3. Manage your color carefully. Work with us to manage your color all the way through the process. This starts with submitting images in the right color space (CMYK rather than RGB), using established printing standards to set color profiles, and working with us to optimize your color for our color proofing system.

These basic steps will go a long way toward taking your color from ho, hum to Wow! Use color to maximize your brand image and selling power.