Design & Copy Tips That Get You Noticed

When designing any marketing communication, it’s important to stay on the lookout for tips to help with the design, the list, the offer, and the CTA. However, tips to improve readability can make a big difference, too.

If people can’t read the message easily or if you have inadvertently created stumbling blocks that limit their ability to absorb it, your response could be diminished. Improve the readability of your message and you will improve your response rates, conversions, and sales.

Let’s look at five tips for improving readability.

  1. Be specific.

People are drawn to details. Pat Friesen, author of The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook, gives the following examples:

  • “Save money.”
  • “Save hundreds of dollars.”
  • “Save an average of $478.22 per year.”

“’Save money’ is a powerful draw, but ‘save hundreds of dollars’ is more compelling,” she says. “Even better is ‘Save an average of $478.22 per year.’ We see this approach a lot in the auto industry.”

  1. Be relevant.

People’s eyes are drawn to messaging that talks about things that matter to them. For example, your audience has children about to graduate from high school. You can add, “Save money to put your child through college.”

“Pair that life stage incentive with the specific detail of saving $478.22 per year and it makes a strong statement,” Friesen explains.

  1. Add images.

Even the most specific, relevant copy can fall on deaf ears without an image to accompany it. For example, you might create a banner ad that says, “Download your free retirement guide” that goes totally unnoticed, even if it’s hitting your ideal target audience. Add an image of the cover, however, and suddenly the ad gets noticed.

Images in email newsletters and other digital media can look flat, so try adding drop shadows for dimension and depth.

  1. Use numerals when possible.

When discussing numbers in running text, use numerals instead of spelling them out. This makes those details pop. Readers’ eyes will be drawn to numerals right away, even in the middle of a paragraph.

Try it! Which one of these stands out most to you?

  • 10,000
  • 10 thousand
  • Ten thousand
  • $10,000
  • $10,000.000
  1. Avoid using all caps.

For the most part, the human eye has difficulty distinguishing between words and letters in all caps. Avoid using all caps except in rare instances.

If you must use all caps, use smart font choices to make the words more readable. “A general rule of thumb is that serif fonts are easier to read in print,” notes Patrick Fultz, president and chief creative officer of DM Creative Group (Woodstock, VT). “But on the Internet, serif can fall apart. The thicks and thins break up. Traditionally, sans serif font reads better online.”

Want more ideas for great design and type that make your message stand out? Give us a call!

Taken from the webinar “Design & Copy: Little Things You Don’t Want to Overlook (2016 DMDay Virtual Conference Session)” hosted by “Direct Marketing News.”


3 Steps to Making A Colorful Impact

Did you know that, according to CCI Inc., consumers make a subconscious judgment about people, their environment, or products within 90 seconds of viewing and that between 62% and 90% of their decision-making is based on color alone? A University of Loyola, Maryland study found that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

Color is power! 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, color impresses images more deeply into people’s memories.

Consider the current trend toward retro packaging. Major brands, including Cheerios to Skippy, Doritos, and Tide, are throwing back to the 70’s, 60’s, and even the 40’s with styles and colors that are deeply familiar to consumers. By tapping into happy childhood memories, they are creating positive associations that help to sell products.

Another example of the power of color can be seen in the 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. Heinz factories worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep up with demand. The new green ketchup has generated the highest sales increase in the brand’s history.

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

  1. Make color a priority. Really put thought into your choices. 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!



Make Your Printed Materials Pop with Color!

Printed materials are a visual introduction to your company. Adding a splash of color will…

  • Distinguish your marketing collateral from the competition;
  • Emphasize important information, like the name of your product or a Web address;
  • Lead the reader to the most important content first; and
  • Convey a specific mood or tone.

Color is a powerful way to elicit a particular response. Psychologists and marketers alike associate red with excitement and passion; yellow is cautionary; blue is cool and authoritative, but also peaceful; green is relaxing and symbolizes nature. It’s important to make sure your color palette is consistent with the message you wish to convey.

You must decide not only which colors to use, but how many. Too many gradients and colors can be distracting. A two-color ad can be just as effective as a four-color ad. The simple use of color using these basic combinations is still interesting and pleasing to the eye. Make sure the light color dominates your printed piece to maximize impact.

  • Orange/blue: A great attention-grabber; think of the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.
  • Green/red: Doesn’t have the same contrast as orange/blue, but still gets attention; this is often used by restaurants (the colors stimulate appetite) and for environmental pieces (with red symbolizing fire and green the earth).
  • Orange/yellow/black: This combination shouts, “Look here!” Go for maximum effect by placing black type against an orange or yellow background.
  • Purple/yellow: These complementary colors create a sense of elegance and importance and are often associated with royalty.

Color reproduction can be a challenge. What you see on your computer is not the same as what you see in the final printed piece. Images on your computer monitor are displayed using RGB colors produced by combining red, green, and blue. Offset printing produces color by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) inks. An RGB file may appear blue, but when it is printed with CMYK ink using a combination of 100% cyan and 100% magenta it will look purple.  If you plan to design printed pieces in-house, consider investing in a color management system.

Ask us about combining the colors you select with different paper options and varnishing techniques, such as UV coating, to produce different eye-catching effects and add even more pop to your brochure, postcard or direct mail piece.