Advertising - The Essentials
( Originally Published 1902 )
Displaying Items and Prices.—Here is a subject that should be seriously studied by every advertiser. Small things count in advertising as well as in everything else, and although this is apparently a small point in a big subject, yet it is a point that assumes enormous proportions when you come to figure up it's results in the course of a year.
Lying on my desk are perhaps a score of clipped paragraphs relating to items and prices. They represent various styles of set-ups, and occasionally, in the course of this article, I will lay aside my pen for the mucilage brush and paste the said paragraphs on my copy to illustrate this talk. First comes an old friend--one of those styles of set-ups which flourished in 1871, and which is still found in evidence with some advertisers even today.
This type arrangement is antiquated, and it wastes a lot of very valuable space. It, however, has the saving merit of bringing out the price in a conspicuous manner, although the name of the article is not so conspicuous, The name, however, is plain enough to be easily read.
The second specimen shows another old acquaintance to which the same criticism could be applied, with the added suggestion that a heavier-faced type, such as How-land, De Vinne or Gothic could be used for the price.
With many price is first consideration, and the housewife running an economical eye down the price list of crockery values would have no special comment to make on the above set-up, excepting making a possible grimace at the small type in which the item is set.
Here is an example of the Wanamaker idea of set-up. It gives first consideration to a display of the article advertised. The price in this instance is found in the body of the " talk," set in the usual type.
This makes a very neat arrangement, and to my mind is very satisfactory in such advertising as this house puts forth. In certain sections of this country, where money is a rarer article than it is in Philadelphia and New York, it would be a very important point to display the price better.
Now we have another style. Again the price is given foremost consideration in the display-the name being lost in the "talk."
This is a very fair style of set-up, little space being lost in the arrangement. A further perusal of this article will show an improvement.
Here is a very handsome specimen clipped from a Chicago paper:
It has the merits of a handsome set-up-the type is neat and pleasing. The article advertised, however, is not displayed—probably the advertising man thought the symmetry of the ad would be affected if he displayed the shoe names.
The architect of the attempt at the top of the next page evidently scratched his head for a typo-graphical arrangement before it was brought forth.
The reader can make his own comment upon the arrangement given. As there is a large jump in the first sentence, and it is likely to bewilder the reader, it violates one of the first principles of advertising--viz., clearness.
The following is a neat style of set-up:
Both the name of the article and price are well displayed. If the price were in the same type as is the name, the result would be more harmonious and the rule could be well eliminated. Yet a page or half page of items all set up in this style under a suitable general head would make a very effective typographical showing.
This is a pleasing example:
The two small black rules with the prices help an effect. The appearance is neat and clean, and clothiers could apply it to their advertising with advantage.
The following style is also very commendable
The items and prices are well displayed. The em indention in the "talk helps the display line stand out. Yet it is possible to study economy even on such an excellent example. Follow this article and I will tell you how, as it is a matter of deepest importance to the up-to-date advertiser that these details be given full consideration. The example on next page shows the "how."
If you study the example given opposite you will find no waste what-ever of valuable newspaper space. The item and the price stick out in display type—the body of the ad is easily read and the appearance of the whole is satisfactory. Such effective advertising as this illustrates the beneficial work of a good ad writer.
Still another example and I will come to a close:
Quite a bit of space wasted here, eh? and the display a little bit eccentric? Yet it is an eye-catcher, and the man who arranged it very likely treated himself to an extra cigar after he contemplated its appearance. But he ought to remember a very important advertising adage that " while good is good, something better beats it," and if he would stop to think that a little study would improve the arrangement and save his employer a five dollar bill on that one item in newspaper space alone, to say nothing of pulling double or treble that amount in trade, he would accomplish a little some-thing in the direction of good advertising.
For general retail advertising I consider the next to the last specimen the best type arrangement for items and price. It displays -what is necessary to be displayed and does not waste space.
Occasionally, for the sake of variety, it would be well to try a different set-up, but before you do anything you should study economy in space and effectiveness in display. If you hit upon a good economical typographical arrangement for your items, stick to it. This is a good general rule to follow.
Preparing Advertising Copy for the Printer.-A friend of mine—a business manager for an out of town daily paper asked me to write an article on this subject. He says what only too many newspaper men in his position say, that the way in which the advertising copy comes to his printers is enough to make the judicious grieve.
When a man is going to furnish a room he takes a good look at it before putting furniture in it. Why can't he do the same before filling up his advertising space—take a look at his space then run in words and illustrations accordingly.
If he crowds in too much matter the ad is overcrowded, therefore unsightly—if he runs in too little matter the ad looks skimpy, extravagant and unbusiness like.
The point is to fill the space with just enough matter to make a striking, meaty ad.
With amateur ad men the best method is to measure a space on a blank sheet of paper about three times the size of the ad and lay out the display lines and body as they should appear in print. The printer can grasp the salient points very quickly from such a layout. The average advertising manuscript is about three times the size of the ad in print. Some are much more-some much less. Of course this depends upon the idiosyncracies of the writer.
As a general proposition two styles of type are quite sufficient for an ad. When I say two styles I do not mean two sizes, but two styles in all the sizes that uniformity and good taste may demand.
Thus for the principal display line thirty-six point DeVinne may answer, for sub displays eighteen or twenty-four point DeVinne would be necessary. When DeVinne is used for the leading display line use it throughout for all display. When Gothic is used for the leading display line use it in its various point sizes for all the other display lines.
Any printer can subject this to all sorts of changes, but it will be noted that, when the same style of type is used through-out for display lines, the result is neat and uniform.
There should also be uniformity in body type. When an item is set in Nonpareil, its neighbor item set in pica, and another near item set in Brevier, the result is displeasing to any eye. As a rule, all items in a retail ad should be set in the same style of type. Nonpareil is a favorite type with metropolitan advertisers.
Small Pica for body of headings or introductories is a type much used.
Here's a case where the displays are in one style of type, various sizes. The introductory body is in Small Pica and body of the items in Nonpareil. Note the uniform and business like effect:
I believe in borders. They are to most ads what frames are to pictures. At any rate they throw the ads into bolder relief. I believe in illustrations. Apart from their practical value in picturing the articles and so creating a stronger demand for them, they help to make the advertising more artistic. I believe in rules. Two light rules between departments, either short or long, two dark rules or a dark and a light rule, serve to set off the ad.
I believe in boxes. A box of four rules about a price or an article makes it stick out better.
If you see a style of set-up that strikes your fancy and you wish your ad set up in the same style do not bother marking each line of type. Simply clip that set up—paste it on the margin of your copy and mark "follow copy." This saves you and the printer time and fuss. The advertiser who studies display, studies a very important feature of advertising. Unless advertising catches the eye it is not of much use. Unless the advertiser works in harmony with the printer so as to bring out the right display effects he cannot expect to get striking ads. Talk is all right, but this talk has to be well dressed.
Advertising space is valuable enough to be filled up rightly. To the advertiser who takes a genuine interest in his work the matter of display is always interesting. Display can take a thousand forms. The fertility of ideas that a study of display can cause is wonderful. The oldest and wisest advertiser will find in his display work alone a constant source of inspiration and enthusiasm.
The advertiser—not the printer—is responsible for the display. The advertiser is supposed to furnish the ideas—the printer to carry them out, but the latter cannot do it unless the former expresses them clearly.
That is why the advertiser should study the advertising space at his disposal, and in his mind's eye have a good idea of how the ad will appear in print even before he touches his ink to paper.