Layout Guidelines for Direct Marketing
The most important decision to make when designing a flyer, brochure, or other direct marketing piece is to decide what message it is that you want to convey. Though the piece can communicate a fair amount of information, there should be one simple, direct message that is the focus of the piece. This message should be supported and reinforced by the layout and position of each piece of information as well as by the text and images themselves.
A good layout will help the customer find the information they need to make a decision and will lead their eye around the page by creating a visual hierarchy of information. The most important information should be emphasized using placement, spacing, size, color, and contrast. The next most important information should be slightly smaller, lower, etc. and less important information should be unobtrusive while still being readable and accessible.
If the customer only sees one thing on your piece, what do you want them to see? What is the one part of your message that will encourage them to read the rest of it? Identify the one most important piece of information and emphasize it through the use of color, contrast, spacing, and size.
It’s often a good idea to put important information in natural hot spots, the areas where the reader’s eye naturally falls. Because we read from the top to the bottom and from right to left, most people generally look first at the top left corner of a page so this area should include important information.
After reading the headline at the top of the page, many people next look to the last sentence or paragraph because they are used to seeing the call to action there. Make sure that you end the message as strongly as you began. Information at the beginning or end of a paragraph or page is also easier to find, so it’s a good idea to put your website, phone number, or other important information at the end of a paragraph instead of burying it in the middle.
You can also create your own hot spots to draw the reader’s eye to important information. You can use starbursts, contrasting color, or bold text to set apart the headline or call to action.
One of the most important things to remember is to leave space between items. This white space is not wasted space, but rather a way to emphasize certain information and eliminate clutter. The order and spacing of elements can also help you to guide the reader’s eye through the information you are providing.