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Develop a consistent look.

When you are creating a package, whether it’s a book, a trade-show exhibit, or even a salesletter, establish the basic look and stick to it. The font you use, the size of the text and margins, the headline style are all important. Inset paragraphs, etc. Your letters and sales pieces should have a consistency to them. For customers who receive ongoing mailings, this look becomes transparent, something that looks familiar but they don’t really see, so their only focus is on your message.

In this book, for example, the text is Times-Roman, 12 point. Chapter headings are 18 point Times-Roman bold, using small caps. Each Maxim is 14 point Times-Roman bold.

There’s no great rocket science here, in fact, you probably didn’t even notice these elements until I mentioned them. That’s the point. After awhile, the elements become familiar, and only the message is consciously thought about by the reader. The subtle differences give them subconscious visual cues, but your message is king.

There are simple, simple visual elements that bring it all together and make it look consistent. If you’re using columns, use them throughout. If you are interspersing pertinent graphics, make sure they fit where the body copy is discussing them, and not two pages later. Make sure your graphics have a description underneath as well. Don’t go with superfluous images and cartoon characters that only distract. Likewise, mixing and matching lots of different colors and fonts and graphics can distract, so just as with many of the writing techniques, use any visual elements sparingly.

Carpe Diem!

Emerson Brantley

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