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This week I'm going to look at some of the design basics, what they are and how to use them.

Though I'm mainly thinking about fax designs as I'm writing this, the points here can be applied easily to any type of design medium.

An advertisement must be factual and explicit and you should tell the recipient there is something to know and how they can get the information – this is also referred to as "Come on dissemination"...

The goal of a design

As an overall concept the goal with any design is to:

  1. Attract
  2. Interest
  3. Deliver the message

Makes sense doesn't it? You start off by grabbing the attention, creating some form of intrigue or addressing a challenge the reader may have and then you provide an answer or pose some form of benefit in your message.

After you've put together a design it's a good idea to run it through the three points above and double check for yourself that it ticks all the boxes. If it doesn't tick all of the boxes the chances are high that the design will flop and you'll get poor results from it.

If you design does attract attention, interest the reader and deliver a good strong message there's still no guarantee it will work!

The better designed marketing pieces have 7 things in common which when combined make a killer design that rocks!

7 Design elements you shouldn't ignore

  1. What is it?
  2. How valuable is it?
  3. What does it do?
  4. How easy is it to do?
  5. How costly is it?
  6. How do you acquire it?
  7. Where do you get it from?

The above seven points are questions you can ask yourself when you have completed the design, of course if you have them in mind to begin with then you can just incorporate the answers into the design as you go.  The idea is that you put the answers to these questions into your design without actually stating the question itself!

Not all great designs feature all 7 points because brand awareness sometimes negates the need for them. Though a lesser known brand would be wise to make sure all 7 design elements exist in their design.

Check out some glossy magazines and in particular the cosmetics adverts and try and identify the 7 design elements - how many can you find?

Buttons - not just for sewing:

A marketing button is something which will resonate with the reader, a headline which associates with a problem the reader has, or a statement which rings true.  It's something which is going to draw the reader in and pay attention to what you have to say or offer.

A button should ideally be derived from a survey; in absence of surveyed button a common sense approach is best fitted.

Ideally you want to find a short sentence which impinges upon the reader and either causes them to answer a question or gain their agreement.  For example if you were advertising a company who sells bread who could say "Paying too much for bread?", though use of that button would only be useful if the advertiser sells bread cheaper than the majority of the competition.

To get the right button you need to use surveys, but in absence of a correctly executed survey you should consider what your unique selling point is, or why you think people buy from you, and how are you different to the competition. Writing great headlines is a topic all by itself though, so what you see here isn't even the tip of the iceberg!

A picture paints a thousand words:

The design should contain some kind of graphic which sumates the meaning of the design or indicates pictorially the button. Different mediums require different types of graphics, for example a graphic for a fax should be black and white, and ideally be a line drawing.  Photo’s can work in some instances, but getting a fair reproduction of a photo is a challenging task on a fax unless it is BIG.

Content is king:

Words are a symbolization of actions, motion or lack of motion, so using the right words will create action.  The target audience will respond to a carefully constructed marketing piece if you resonate on their wavelength; therefore understanding the target audience and assuming the role of the recipient when writing the copy is essential.

If you are writing for lawyers then its acceptable to infuse your piece with eloquence, if you are writing for tradies who are too busy for fussiness a more direct "tell it how it is" approach is wise.  Avoid using terms and abbreviations which could be miss-understood.

Offers and Call to action:

The advert should ideally have some form of offer which would give the reader a reason to act now so they may gain the benefit of the offer. An offer doesn't have to be something that cheapens the product, it can quite easily be some token gesture. Either way it needs to be enticing and the best way to know if your offer is enticing is to ask yourself the question: is it worth my time and effort to respond, and what do i get out of it?

Large contact details and a strong commanding statement to contact has been found to work very well providing the rest of the piece has been constructed thoroughly. You have to make it easy for the reader to contact you, after all you've gone to all the hard work to get your message delivered you don't want to lose them at the last hurdle.


Where and what do you want your reader to do? Maybe pick up the phone and talk to you, visit your Facebook page or go to your website. Whatever you want the reader to do, tell them that's what is desired. If you got everything right in your design they will do as you ask. With a fax marketing campaign it's usually best to direct people to the phone rather than a website, i don't know why, it's just what my own statistics have shown and I've never really taken the time to find out why!

I hope this mini tutorial on designs helps you to get a better response from your marketing!


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