We all know the rule. Great design can’t do diddly to help bad sales copy. Great sales copy can often succeed despite bad design. But when great copy and great design work together? Watch out. So how can you make sure you’re getting the best work from the person who will layout your lovingly crafted sales letter?
It can be tricky, yes. But not impossible.
Let me just rattle off a few quick insights from a few years of plying this trade…
- For one, always, always… always… ask that your designer reads the copy. I’m blown away by how many don’t. And it shows. Boy does it show.
- Fancy design isn’t always good design. Your first aim is readability. Your second is to make sure the copy isn’t obscured by the design. Good design makes the copy feel easy to read.
- If you throw a designed piece of copy onto a table with other pieces of finished direct mail designs… and it disappears into the pile… you’ve got a problem.
- No screened images behind text. No screened images behind text. Did I mention? Please avoid screened images behind text.
- When in doubt, cut graphics before cutting copy. Really. By the time the designer gets a piece, the copy should be airtight. Or close to it. Graphics are less important than the written message. That’s just the way it goes.
- Designers need to understand the motivations of the target market just as much as the marketers and copywriters. There’s no way to be a good designer when you’re working in a vacuum.
I could add more. But that’s good enough for now… don’t you think?