Advertising Typographical Arrangement
( Originally Published 1902 )
A well-dressed advertisement, like a well-dressed person, commands attention by sheer force of appearance alone.
Other things being equal, the well-displayed advertisement has an immense advantage over the other sort.
Some newspapers and printing establishments have won a wide reputation by reason of the excellent printing they put forth.
Clean-cut presswork and artistic (yet business-like) typography should always be considered as an important percentage of business worth by every advertiser.
For display there is no type that has won the wide popularity the De Vinne has. Jensen type is also in demand, and the Howland is much in favor among advertisers. Our fathers saw more of Old English and Roman type than we do, and the business man of to-day has the strongest leaning towards type that catches the eye quickly and gracefully. There is not much room at present in advertising for the type all twists and curleysews. Even Script and Italic are not used as they once were. Block type-the emblem of business bluntness—has lost much of its old-time vogue.
The demand is for a display type at once graceful and business-like, and the De Vinne famously fills this particular bill.
Pica for body type is a great favorite with many advertisers—especially the clothing advertisers making a happy combination with the display De Vinne. Nonpareil, Brevier, Minion and Agate come in for everyday use. Pearl, the smallest type, is sometimes found in the small advertisements carried by the cheap mail-order journals.
Every leading newspaper issues a "type-book " or " type-card," but the advertiser that selects from it a variety of type for his advertisement is liable to be very much astonished at the result. For type in the book or card does not always bear the same appearance when transferred to an advertisement where the surroundings are altogether different.
The best plan is to so lay out the manuscript that the printer can grasp the salient points at a glance.
White spaces act as backgrounds to bring out the printed matter in bolder relief, and therefore should be studied by the advertiser.
If there is a cut at the upper right side of the ad, try and have another cut at the upper left side, as one balances the other. If there is a double headline in 3-line De Vinne on one side of the ad, try and have the same type heading on the other. If you have a double column department story for your ad, and all the other departments are set in single column, place the double column affair in the middle columns of the ad -at top if possible—and let the others group about it. If you have two double column talks, place one on the upper right side and the other on the upper left. Have all your department headings of a uniform type size. Study uniformity in your ads. A man to be a good ad builder must be something of an architect. He ought to have the organ of causality well developed.
If you see a certain style of set-up that you would like to follow in your ads, you will find the printer will understand your desire at once if you paste on your copy a piece of that style with a request to follow that type arrangement. This is easier than marking type and much plainer to the printer than any other way.
Drop in and see your printer once in a while. If he is interested as he should be in the appearance of the ads he sets up, he will welcome your visits. He appreciates an interchange of ideas, and both you and he will learn much from each other.
Box rules, either light or dark, about a department or item make it stand out. When rules are thus used inside an ad it is always well to run a border about the whole ad. Borders give an ad the appearance of compactness and solidity, besides being attractive to the eye.
If you can afford it get a font of type and a set of borders for your own special use. By so doing you give your ads an exclusiveness that will give you the advantage of distinctiveness that your competitors do not possess. But do not get fancy or too ornamental. The plain, easily read is the best. It is the business type. You should dress your ads with the same business air as you would like to have your clerks and travelling men appear in, that is, eminently sensible and to the point, without any frills or ornamental nonsense about them.