Choose and Use Your Fonts Wisely.

Back in the 90s, I attended a DMA session on the subject of typography. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this was the takeaway.

“Everybody is aging, so use larger type.”

As a 30 something year old Designer somewhat new to direct mail, who could still function without reading glasses, this idea seemed ludicrous, but the message stuck with me.

Remember, designing for direct response is different than other marketing. Here are a few rules to live by:

  • Avoid type that’s too small. 11 pt body text is as low as I’ll go, especially in letters, brochures, and direct correspondence. It’s better to edit copy than cram it in, and better to change the format to suit the copy.
  • Avoid fashion. Small, gray type with negative letter spacing may look awesome, but if it’s not readable, it’s a waste of effort, and only serving the creative ego.
  • Mousetype, disclaimers, astericks should be avoided. I’ll always look for options to eliminate them, or incorporate legal copy into the body of the piece. Mousetype triggers mistrust and suppresses response. It’s much better to “eliminate and incorporate”. In some cases it’s almost impossible to not use mousetype, say for financial products, for auto-renewals and other situations. In those cases, unless the lawyers insist, use the back of the form, or a separate insert where you can use a more readable font.
  • Always defer to brand guidelines, but don’t let those rules “boss you around”. You can maintain brand without sacrificing response. Remember, it’s about response.

For more insights into the power of type, give this article in Fast Company a read:

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Dwight IngramCreative Director  |  IngramCS