Nuts & Bolts: Design for the Copy

The following is an excerpt from Direct Marketing IQ’s recent report, “Design & Formats for Boosting Direct Mail Response.”

If you visit Little Italy in New York City and stroll down Mulberry Street at dinner time, a dozen maitre d’s accost you. Ultimately, the restaurant that enticed me had a quaint sign and a gentleman in a bow tie and apron, flanked by an easy-to-read menu. With no distracting gimmicks or hassles, I walked right in.

In direct mail design, a similar “what you see is what you get” principle induces reader response.

It’s All About the Copy
You wouldn’t order dinner without reading a menu first. “It’s the words that drive direct mail. [As a designer,] my only job is to get people to read the copy,” stresses Ted Kikoler, president of Ontario-based Ted Kikoler Design Inc. To emphasize the copy, Kikoler suggests avoiding images and brochures that can distract the reader from the offer and response form.

“A good writer and a good designer together can awaken much more emotion than a picture. Leaving out the easy show-and-tell forces people to read,” Kikoler says. A simple format also emphasizes copy, which is why Kikoler’s favorite is still a #10 standard business envelope with a sales letter, separate order form and reply envelope. “That’s the basics, and it’s still by far the best,” he says.

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