Catalog Doctor: Good Readability Makes a Healthy Catalog
If, for some reason, you must use a sans-serif font for body copy, try to use one that has shape — that is, where all letter parts aren't exactly the same thickness — to help your customers' subconscious brains better recognize differences between letters at scanning speed.
Rules for Big Copy
The bigger the copy, the fewer the rules. A big headline that runs across a two-page spread, like "Gifts under $25" in 72 point can be in any font, including a swirly initial-cap script on the "G," and it can be in a color, even pastel.
The smaller the copy, the more you need to stick to easy-to-read rules. Consider the following:
- High-contrast black ink on white paper.
- Upper and lowercase sentence style. Big-upper/small-upper is OK for specialty uses, like a big page or spread headline, but don't use it for product heads or body copy.
- Roman — that's the "regular" version of a font as opposed to italic or bold.
Big product headlines can be a color, but make sure it's dark for good contrast. It can be all uppercase if it's fairly big, but the closer a headline comes to the size of the body copy, the more you need to change to upper/lowercase and black type. ROI
Susan J. McIntyre is founder and chief strategist of catalog marketing agency and consulting firm McIntyre Direct (email@example.com).
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.