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Looking Good

You’ve heard of dressing for success. Well, looks count when it comes to communications materials as well. In fact, looks matter a lot.
Views: 653 Created 03/06/2008

You’ve heard of dressing for success.  Well, looks count when it comes to communications materials as well.  In fact, looks matter a lot.

 

Whether you’re doing print or electronic communication, avoid looking bush league by watching these details:

 

1) TYPEFACE

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of typefaces.  Some are easier to read than others.  Make sure your text is easy-to-read by using a readable face.  (When in doubt, test typefaces on members of your audience.)

 

Type size and color matter also.  Larger type is easier to read.  Reverse type (light text on a dark background) can be hard on the eyes.

 

Avoid using more than two or three faces in any piece.  Multiple typefaces create a cluttered, unattractive look.

 

2) LINE LENGTH

Ever wonder why newspapers and magazines format their articles in columns?  It’s easier for human eyes to track shorter lines of text.  Break up your copy into columns that are no more than 3” wide for a cleaner look and better readability.

 

3) COPY LENGTH

Most members of your audience won’t have the time or inclination to plow through long text.  Keep what you have to say brief.  Use bullet points.  If it’s a web site, you can offer more information through hyperlinks.  That leaves it up to the visitor to follow what’s of interest.

 

4) PHOTOS/OTHER VISUALS

You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”?  It’s true.  Use visuals to emphasize your messages.  But be picky.  Poor quality, photos speak volumes about your organization.  And what they say isn’t good.

 

5) PAPER

If you’re printing a piece, the paper you use sends a message.  It’s a tactile thing, plus paper affects photo reproduction.  Use the best quality paper you can afford, and ask to see a mock-up of your piece on the paper you specify. 

 

6) REPRODUCTION QUALITY

Fuzz is okay on peaches but not in web sites, ads, brochures, newsletters or anything else with your name on it.  That means no fuzzy logos, fuzzy type or fuzzy photos.

 

7) CONSISTENT LOOK

Once you’ve worked out a look, standardize it.  Set up rules for logo usage, color, tag line, paper and layout, and follow them.  Consistency helps build familiarity.

 

A graphic designer can help you define a look.  A marketing communications consultant with experience in brand management can help you maintain consistency.

 

Copyright 2008 Clairvoyant Communications

 

About the author

 

Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, helps companies jumpstart their sales with increased visibility. She shares her expertise on her web site http://www.clairvoyantcommunications.com Sign up there for her monthly e-newsletter, Communiqué.  Contact Claire at 1-763-546-0479, 1-612-709-6845 or [email protected]

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