When looking for a graphic design concept, remember this old rule…

Choose one and only one!

With all the personal computers, tablets, smart phones, apps including design and graphics, everyone has an opportunity to become a graphic and digital designer literally overnight.

For example, anyone can visit a royalty free photo site, pick up a copy of Photoshop, check out some nice typestyles on their computer, PC or Apple and even select a Google Font or two, CreativityWeband design away. Easy to acquire. Now comes the hard part.

Wait a minute. This can’t be right.

The above is truer today than ever before. The ease of accessibility of design elements often brings with it the temptation to use everything available. Yes, even the kitchen sink.

Yielding to this temptation is okay, as long as you do not try to use it all on one direct marketing channel. When desktop publishing was all the rage in the mid-nineties, our graphic designer adhered to a very simple, effective design strategy called “Choose one!”

  • Choose one typeface style for your headlines.
  • Choose one typeface style for your body copy.
  • Choose one style of border.
  • Choose one thickness of line for boxes or rules.
  • Choose one style of art, photographs or graphics.

Then stick with what you chose.

Check out this type style example from the archives.

BrandingIf you decide to use Garamond for your headline, stick with Garamond for all your headlines and subheads. Use Garamond Extra Bold for the main headline. Garamond Bold Italic for call outs and Garamond Medium in all caps for headlines.

Then keep all your main headlines in the same type size. Do the same for your bold italic callouts. Always remain consistent and avoid the temptation to try different design elements.

If you have questions on font selection, take into account the intended audience, your own brand identity and the surrounding color and design.

So, unless your document will be read only in print or on a PDF, keep it simple and only use widely available fonts.

Many of the best designers are simply the best because they show restraint and discipline by adhering to this principle.

The beauty of this tip from the past is that it is so simple. Try it the next time you design something for a direct marketing or mail offering on your own and see how it gives you a more professional look. Your response from the mailer may reach new highs as well.Printing

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© 2016 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.


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30+ years in marketing. 30+ years as a small business owner. Love music, photography, gardening and just about anything outdoors!

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