The Write Stuff
November 2013 Volume 9 Issue 11
Looks Do Matter
Writing strong, compelling copy is the best way to get your message across. Unfortunately, you can sabotage yourself when you present what you have to say in a way that turns off readers. Getting a designer involved is one way to ensure that doesn’t occur, but there are also some easy fixes anyone can do:
1. Don’t overwhelm with color, especially a bold one. I’m not a fan of colored copy, but if you simply can’t help yourself, be sure it’s done as tastefully as possible; maybe limit its use to headlines or subheads. A client sent me a brochure to review that almost hurt my eyes between the red design elements and red copy. I suggested she change the red copy to black, and she was amazed at how much better the piece looked when it was “calmed down.”
2. Don’t use too many colors. Another client sent me a flyer to review that made me want to avert my eyes, given its use of multiple colors combined with bold and italics. I again suggested toning down the “noise,” changing the colored copy to black and using two colors (red and green, since it was holiday-related) sparingly in some headings. The result was a more sophisticated flyer that still had a festive feel to it.
3. Choose a readable point size. I always find it a bad idea to decrease point size to squeeze more copy onto a page. Small text is hard for many people to read and its use will likely result in a crowded, unappealing design. Both those things were at play in an offline newsletter I recently received. The author created it, printed it and mailed it–but his use of copy best read with a magnifying glass, combined with how much is jammed into the one-page document, is rather disconcerting. A better option would be to eliminate some copy and bump up the point size to one more easy on the eyes.
A Capital Idea
Proper nouns should be capitalized–names of people and companies, states and countries, etc. Other nouns should be lowercase unless they begin a sentence. “Bank” and “company” are often capitalized when they refer to a specific institution or entity, and that’s just wrong. I finally got a glimmer into why this happens when a client challenged my suggestion to lowercase bank: “Isn’t Bank considered a proper noun when referring to our Bank?” No, it isn’t.
All We Need Is a Happy Ending, authored by Renae Farley and published by Kandon Publishing, will debut later this week. This inspiring story recounts the odyssey faced by Renae and her family after her sister was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Its sadness will tug at your heartstrings, but you’ll also be inspired by its message of the power of unconditional love. The book will be available in paperback from Amazon.com and on Kindle. My connection? I served as Renae’s first editor and introduced her to Kandon’s Kathryn Cloward.
Know someone who needs a book editor or can benefit in other ways from using my writing or editing services? I appreciate your referrals.
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