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With all the digital apps including design and graphics, everyone has a chance to become a graphic and digital designer, literally overnight.
For example, a person can visit a photo website to scour pictures and secure a few. Next, pick up a copy of Photoshop, load it in the computer, and waste a ton of time trying to figure out thousands of ways to make your picture great.
You can visit any of the design websites from your comfortable office chair, such as Stencil, and simply use your average copywriting, hopefully record sales. Now you have everything available right at your fingertips. Now comes the tough part! Wait a minute. This can’t be right.
The above is truer today than ever before. The ease of accessibility of design elements often brings with it the temptation to use everything available. Yes, even the kitchen sink. Yielding to this temptation is okay, if you do not try to use it all on every direct marketing mail or using any other communication channel you desire. On one particular occasion, while working with our graphic designer, I am reminded that design is not my forte.
At our agency, our graphic designer adhered to a very simple, effective design strategy she called “Choose one!”
- Choose one typeface style for your headlines.
- Choose one typeface style for your body copy.
- Choose one style of border.
- Choose one thickness of line for boxes or rules.
- Choose one style of art, photographs or graphics.
Then stick with what you chose. Check out this type style example from the agency days. If you decide to use Garamond for your headline, stick with Garamond for all your headlines and subheads. Use Garamond Extra Bold for the main headline. Garamond Bold Italic for call outs and Garamond Medium in all caps for headlines. Then keep all your main headlines in the same type size. Do the same for your bold italic callouts. Always stay consistent and avoid the temptation to try various design elements. If you have questions about font selection, consider the intended audience, your own brand identity and surrounding corporate colors and design, choose one.
So, unless your document is read only in print or in a PDF, keep it simple and only use widely available fonts. Many of the best designers are simply the best because they show restraint and discipline by adhering to this principle.
The beauty of this tip from the past is that it is so simple. Try it the next time you proof a design or when writing copy for a direct marketing or mail offering on your own and see how it gives you a more professional look. The response from the mailer may achieve new returns as well.