As you plan the design for a brochure or website, it is important to remember that people take in information in different ways. To cater for this, you must structure the layout so it is comfortable for a range of people to connect with the message – while not pushing away others who see things differently.
To give you an appreciation of audience types, there are some ‘lookers’ and some ‘readers’. The first group are attracted by graphic highlights, images, icons and color. (As a designer are likely to be a part of this group). The second group are drawn towards typeset information. And remember, within that text-based group, there are those who prefer detailed information and references, and others who just want the salient points and headings.
So, you need to walk in the reader’s shoes to make sure you meet their needs as they read your brochure and make a decision. With this wide range of audience, you clearly need to think carefully about the layout. You want to lead people through the document in a way that appeals to them, so your client will get more sales from their investment in our expertise.
For those who are image based, look for ways to convey the message using relevant images and diagrams that they can easily and quickly understand. And of course, when doing this, you need to arrive at an overall feel of the document so it isn’t a mish-mash. For example, mixing cartoons with photographic images is something that should be avoided, unless there is a necessary reason for doing so.
For your text-based audience, use sub-heads, bullet points and other devices to break the information up into ‘chunks’ that people can easily digest. This avoids having an ocean of type, that will turn people away or make them put it aside until later. And as we know, ‘later’ never comes.
On this subject, make sure you read all of the copy before you start your layout, so you can make sure all elements on the page flow properly. You may even identify parts that don’t need to be in the context of the copy, which can be pulled out and set in a Resource Box or other design element to add more eye appeal to the document.
Another technique is to use captions with images. People are drawn to captions, and will often read them FIRST to get an understanding of what’s in your brochure. Be sure to focus your captions on the BENEFITS the prospect will enjoy when they purchase the product or service you are selling.
And lastly, make sure your call to action in the document or on the web page is strong, clear and easy-to-follow. Tell people what to do to get the benefits on offer, and don’t have any barriers that make it complicated to do so. To give your piece more sales punch, highlight the benefits they will gain as a result of taking action right there in the call to action.
Always remember, your clients are relying on you to develop a design that helps sell more of their products and services. To achieve that, your design and typography MUST connect with a wide audience in a meaningful and comfortable way. This is important, as thinking in this commercial way elevates you from taking an ‘artistic’ approach, so you deliver a better, more profitable result for your clients.