Graphic Design MUST support and strengthen the copy message.
What does that mean? Your design needs to be easy to scan, there needs to be a focal point allowing users to quickly see what’s important and where to begin, and it needs to be easy to read. A good point is to focus on communication not the decoration. That’ll get you every time! Do you know what the graphic eye gaze pattern is? It can vary based on the media, however basic studies have shown that pictures have dominance, using headlines is secondary and the body copy is the last piece of the gaze.
So what draws the eye in?
Photos with people will draw in the eye before a product or object shot. Living rather than inanimate objects are best so use people as much as possible on your piece. Knowing that larger illustrations will draw the eye before smaller will allow your gaze to go in the direction that you intend. Do you have a specific color pallette you are using? Warm colors draw the eye before cool or neutral colors. You’ll want to use that color functionally and not overkill however. If everything is bright yellow, it won’t work for instance. But using one yellow insert (box) will put a pop to the page and draw the eye of the user to that spot.
You want to lead the eye onto the page not off the page, so understanding where to put everything is a MUST! If you have a person looking down to the right, you’ll want to put them toward the top of the page on the left and put the product you are trying to sell below. A nice pop of color with the call to action directly below that will really ensure a high response rate (of course a strong statement for your call to action is necessary.)
Note: Eyes jump from picture to picture and observe medium to large headlines.
Smaller headlines are usually unobserved unless you put them directly under the large headline. Don’t try to outsmart the customer. Don’t hide what you have to say. Did you know that if you have a 2-page spread the right side has an automatic 15-20% increase in orders? So how do you get attention on the left side? If you are placing an ad in a magazine, you want to always have that right hand page as opposed to the left.
A good book to read if you want to know about typography is “Type and Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes,” by Colin Wheildon (paperback – March 2005)
1. Black ink on white paper gives best comprehension for body copy
2. ALL CAPS ARE HARD TO READ (according to 93% of participants in a Direct Marketing Association study)
3. Red is ok for headings and small copy, but not for body copy, use it sparingly
4. Use caution in photographic backgrounds. You don’t want to make the customer have to work to read, if you must use the photo, then put the call to action words in a drop box so it’s easy to find and clear.
5. Reverse type can work for headlines, but it’s dangerous for body copy. BE CAREFUL! Black type on white paper will get you a 33%lift rate in sales. Reverse that and you’ll see that drop to 12%.
6.Color around the page will pull your eyes to the middle. If you want proof, go look at a magazine layout. (Thank me later)
7. Website design is different, the typeface is much more important online than hard copy print because you have no control over the users computer monitor.
8. With a website, you’ve got to get the customer engaged prior to scrolling starting or you will lose them.
9. You should use thermal mapping for any web design to determine where eyes are drawn prior to making massive changes.
10. Not sure about thermal mapping? Contact http://www.eyetools.com – they are the guru’s!
I hope this information is useful to you and you start seeing a higher response in your current design efforts! If not…well…call me and you can hire me! Ha!