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Denny's Daily Zinger: 5 Key Words From ‘Write Everything Right!’

March 27, 2014 By Denny Hatch
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Avoid gray walls of type.David Ogilvy

Today, the communications coin of the realm is the 140-character Tweet.

Everybody reads tweets—politicians, celebs, kids, seniors, business people, groupies.

The country's most popular Tweeter in 2012: Lady Gaga with 19,341,413 followers.

Tweets are fun, punchy, readable and, yes, well written. Twitter users spend time reworking information to make the biggest impact.

Gray Walls of Type Are Everywhere
letters • memos • emails • magazines • websites • news releases • newspapers

Journalism is dying, because clueless editors are using the 19th century design model—gray walls of type—in the Twitterverse era.

David Ogilvy on Design
After two or three inches of copy, insert your first crosshead, and thereafter pepper crossheads throughout. They keep the reader marching forward. Make some of them interrogative, to excite curiosity in the next run of copy. 
An ingenious sequence of boldly displayed crossheads can deliver the substance of your entire pitch to glancers who are too lazy to wade through the text.

—David Ogilvy

I am a glancer. I want to know what's coming next and what I can skip. Otherwise I bail.

[See Illustration #1 in the media player at right.]

You'll see immediately what I mean.

Takeaways to Consider
  • "Neatness rejects involvement." Lew Smith
  • "Ugly works." —Bob Hacker
  • "Short words. Short sentences. Short paragraphs." Andrew J. Byrne
  • Separate your short paragraphs with a space in between.
  • Type smaller than 9 points is difficult to read.
  • 9-point type on a computer screen is like 7-point point type in print.
Denny Hatch is a copywriter, designer and direct marketing consultant. Click on the title below to read the first three chapters of his most recent book, "Write Everything Right!" No cost. Contact him at


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