Advertising - The Embellishments
( Originally Published 1902 )
Types.—As words are but the vehicles of ideas, so are types the vehicles of words. As certain words are bizzare, so are certain types bizzare. As certain words are commonplace, so are certain types commonplace. Types alone wield a psychological influence, but not to the degree that ideas and words do.
Even the most casual student of advertising is aware of the importance of certain types at certain times.
An opening announcement of say millinery is seen to best advantage in Script type. Plain type proves all right in every day advertising but there are state occasions—as it were-in business when Script type and Script only satisfies taste and judgment. There are several styles of Script type, but here it is not necessary to wander into a maze of details regarding them. When you are in doubt as to this point, leave it to the judgment of a good printer.
Referring to the plain type—which as a general proposition should be the type in which all ads should be set —there are, of course, several kinds, and this matter is important enough to detail.
DETAILS.—Small Pica makes excellent body type for ads of clothing for men, women and children, furniture, upholstery, carpets, rugs, real estate and such material merchandise as yield a good percentage of profit on their sales. This fair percentage of profit implies that a fair degree of liberality could be used in the advertising. With other lines of goods in which the margin of profit is smaller, a smaller type like Brevier or Nonpareil should be used.
Agate or even Pearl is used by a great many advertisers, frequently because of the idea that the sale of their goods show but a small profit and often from a mistaken idea of economy. For it is not true economy to set up an ad in type so small as to strain the eyes.
A barrier to business is put up right there. In making up a page ad use a uniform body type throughout. Nonpareil answers this purpose with a great many good advertisers. It is a fair size, is easily read, does not strain the eyes, and one can say a lot with Nonpareil type.
Display type in a large ad should also be uniform. There may be occasions when it is as well to emphasize a certain offering with different display of body type, but this is at the expense of uniformity. Hence, as a general rule, it is not advisable. Regarding display type, if there is anything that answers the canons of art, dignity and business better than De Vinne, I have yet to learn it. Howland is also a very sightly type and Jensen is popular—deservedly so—for it is an eye catcher, and at the same time business-like. Jensen Condensed is. another modern type that has recently grown very popular, for it is extremely economical. Roman display is antiquated, so is Gothic. Gothic is a plain, blunt letter that suggests the amenities of trade about as elegantly as a burly night watchman.
Ideas are the reflex of the master-mind behind the business words. As the expression of these ideas and types are the expressions of these words, so it will be seen that types alone help to indicate the motives of the business and the men connected with it.
Some advertisers have so pronounced an individuality that they insist upon an individual type, purchased for their own exclusive use. As individuality has a certain commercial value, so is this individuality in type of distinct business value. At any rate their ads are dressed different to other ads, which alone forces recognition.
Some kinds of business are associated with ease, luxury, richness and grace—jewelry for instance; art goods for instance, silverware for instance. The advertising of such businesses-in conformity with popular impressions of high grade trades—should be in type that reflects these qualities. Here is where the exclusive Old English, the high class Script or the superb and shapely De Vinne is seen to advantage. Other lines of trade stand for downright utility, with accompaniments of fads and fashions—clothing for instance; furnishings for instance; interior decorations for instance. Such lines are well advertised by De Vinne or Jensen for display or Small Pica for body. And to carry the analogy still further, look in the trade papers advertising such heavy necessary merchandise as steel rails, spikes, machinery, etc., and you will notice how much the blunt, business-like Gothic is in evidence. So, taking it all in all, there is an intimate connection between the business advertised and the type to advertise it.
Now for the psychological influence of type. Have you often in opening an evening paper been shocked by the tremendous and outrageous type on the first page? That is, it may shock you, gentle reader, working all day in an office where business runs on a quiet, systematic basis, and living in a house where order is always observed. But stop and think of the thousands it does not shock. The paper appeals to that class, not to you. That class may work all day in a boiler factory; in a sweat shop, where the whir of machinery is only drowned by the shrieking of taskmasters; on the dock where the trundle of barrows, the clanking of chains, and the hissing of steam is constant; or in the tunnel where the drip, drip, drip of water is lost in the eternal picking, shovelling, blasting and noise overhead of vehicles. They do a day's work under such conditions. They then go home—to the tenement house region —where the noise of surface and elevated trains pursue them, and the influences of corner saloons are felt in tenement house fights, which are every night occurrences. Such readers demand excitement, and excitement must be kept up, even to the type.
On the other hand there is the exquisitely sensitive, the highly cultured—the "hot-house variety"-who are best appealed to by type neat, artistic, refined and dignified. If you will look over the pages of high class society papers you will see this point well illustrated.
The connection between types and the various minds influenced by printer's ink is so subtle that many advertisers may not recognize it. But this connection however exists, its influence is evident to those who study it, and no matter how subtle and evanescent it may seem, yet it is sufficiently important to be studied.
Borders can be used to advantage. White spaces should be studied. White spaces throw the printed matter into greater relief, and when used judiciously are all right.
It is a good plan once in a while to use either a single or double set of heavy or light rules to box in a portion or whole of your ad. Such a rule box made about a paragraph or item makes it stand out. When a box rule or several are used in an ad, always run a border about the whole ad.
If you are in the habit of using borders, and it is a good habit, change them every once in a while. If you can afford it get a set of borders for your own exclusive use. Acting on the same thought, it is a splendid idea to have your own type. There is an exclusiveness and richness about such ads which only the possession of a particular font of type can give.
If you can afford to own your own types and borders you possess a distinct advantage over your competitors, from the fact that your ads possess an individuality which their's do not.
Illustrations. — Illustrations have been part and parcel of advertising a long time—they will always remain an important factor for the advertiser to consider. For they have proven their practical, money-bringing worth and whatever does that is certain of the advertiser's distinguished consideration.
An illustration in an ad bears about the same relation to the article advertised as does the text. Whether to simply picture the article or to illustrate its purpose is a matter for the artist and advertiser to consider and decide.
Cut and dried rules are out of the question. Sometimes the articles should be pictured with photographic fidelity; sometimes the article should be simply suggested; sometimes the article with its purpose should be illustrated; sometimes the purpose alone is all-sufficient in a picture, and sometimes the illustration that serves simply as a decorative border, panel or decoration is all that may be necessary.
One thing is sure. You cannot get the same effect with a cut in a newspaper that you can in a magazine, book or book-let. The paper, printing and ink, cause this difference—a difference that has surprised and pained many an embryo advertiser.
"Line cuts" or outline cuts are best for newspaper work. Shaded cuts are apt to smudge. All newspaper cuts should be engraved deep and drawn with bold, clean and sharp lines.
Wood cuts are excellent for magazine and booklet work, as well as for the higher grade of newspapers. For cheap publications, i. e., publications that use cheap paper and ink, wood cuts should be cut extra deep. Wood cuts—good ones-are rather expensive, and for this reason many advertisers do not use them.
Half-tones produce beautiful pictures, especially when advertising articles of feminine wear in magazines and high grade booklets, catalogues, etc. Speaking about catalogues, I saw the other day a shoe catalogue in which all the shoes were illustrated with half-tones. The paper was superfine, the press-work admirable, and you could fairly see the polish reflected from the shoes. The morning sun shining on the bootblack stand in front of the Tribune building, and smiling at the best efforts of the bootblack, never shone with a brighter patent leather reflection than did the lustre from these half-tone shoes. Each illustration had a light rule square about it, and it was surprising how well this frame set off the picture.
Which suggests a good idea!
The next time you use an illustration in your ad have a light rule about it. It makes no matter whether the cut be large or small you will notice a neater, smarter and more business like air to it.
As outline cuts are the cuts most used, a little talk regarding them may not be out of place. An outline cut goes through three hands, viz.
The artist's. The engraver's. The electrotyper's.
It is unnecessary to go into details, as it is presumed that the artist, engraver and electrotyper know their various duties to perfection. But it may be here remarked that the first impression of a cut is the clearest and best—that succeeding impressions grow more and more indistinct. An engraving prints clearer than an electrotype, and the first dozen electrotypes print better than the next dozen, and so on.
If you give a cut to a big daily newspaper and wish impressions of that cut for several newspapers, you can get papier-mache impressions technically known as matrices. Advertisers find these matrices very handy, as they can be wrapped up in small packages and mailed from point to point at little cost. Again it may be here remarked that each succeeding impression from a matrix grows fainter until it is possible to arrive at a point when matrix impressions grow so indistinct and blurred as to be worthless. Before concluding these remarks it may be well to say a little something about the connection between the text and its illustration. One helps the other. The illustration pictures the merchandise and arouses interest-the text with its good argument, clever talk and price quotation clinches this interest.
The relation between the illustration and the text is intimate. Both are there for a business purpose—to sell goods.
There may be art in advertising, but first there is business in advertising.
Art for art's sake is distinctly out of place in advertising, but art for business's sake is eminently fit and proper. Business in its coldest and most forbidding aspects recognizes art and when one, considers that business when selling goods puts on its most benign and pleasant aspect, then is understood why art is heartily welcomed. In fact, art enters into about every human relation, emotion, viewpoint and consideration, and as advertising plays a leading part in human affairs, so does art play a leading part in advertising. But the centre of the advertising stage is business-cold business reaching out for more business!