A few weeks ago, Wendy and I decided that, with my older kids and grandkids living in Atlanta and with our own kids quickly approaching college age, we only have a few years left to spend time together as a family on weekends.
So to make the most of this time, we bought a second home near Atlanta — down on Lake Lanier – a two-hour drive from our North Carolina digs and only 45 minutes from my grandkids homes in Atlanta.
It’s a newly remodeled 40-year-old home on two acres of exquisitely landscaped heaven with our own, private two-slip dock just steps away from the back door.
And ever since we closed on our little lake retreat, The Redhead and I have been working almost around the clock to furnish it and to buy the boat and other water toys that would ensure my grandkids will nag their parents to go see Grandpa and Wendy every weekend.
I know – sneaky … right? It worked like a charm!
I’ve had more quality time with my older kids and grandkids in the last four weeks than I usually get in a year. And we’ve been having a ball – diving off the dock, tear-assing around the 700-plus miles of shoreline on the boat, tubing, grilling burgers and weenies every evening; the whole shebang.
So what does any of this have to do with marketing or copywriting? Not one darned thing. But since we’re new to the lake and to the Atlanta area, I’ve spent some down-time reading up on the area. That meant buying a bunch of magazines.
And that meant being reminded – once again – that the graphics guys and gals who design those things are hands-down the WORST designers ever to take a paycheck under false pretenses.
So this week, we’re going to talk about graphic design.
The way I see it, the people who create the layout, select the typefaces and sizes, kern and lead the characters and lines, set the margins and colors only have three objectives:
- To grab the reader’s attention,
- To convert that attention to readership, and
- To make reading so easy, the articles almost read themselves.
But as I settled down on the back deck to leaf through a copy of Atlanta magazine, here’s some of what greeted me.
Your assignment: You tell me what’s wrong with the design on these pages and what the designers should do to improve readability.
I’ll check in each day this week to give you my two cents … to give you new pages to critique … and also give you examples of designers who’ve gotten it right.
By the end of the week, we should have gleaned scores of ways to ramp up the attention-getting power and readability of your next direct mail piece, Web page or print ad.
Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Publisher & Editor
THE TOTAL PACKAGE
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