Effective Body Copy Design – Graphic Design & Marketing (Part I)

Effective Body Copy Design – Graphic Design & Marketing (Part I)

Effective Body Copy Design - graphic design and marketingGraphic design and marketing is about making things attractive and effective. If you follow our blog, you probably know that we have a lot of opinions about typography. Mostly, we have addressed headers and titles… now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and talk body copy. There are a lot of things to remember when it comes to body copy. Hey, this is where most of your message is going to be, right? To help you out, we are going to do a few blog posts on how to make your body copy work for you. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when formatting body copy…

Graphic Design And Marketing Body Copy

It doesn’t have to be so dense.

1. Pick a boring font. Okay, not boring, but it needs to be simple and classic. There is a reason that Times New Roman is so popular for body copy… it has high readability for long documents. The more unusual a font is, the more fatigued your reader will be at the end of each paragraph.  Serifs are good because studies have shown that they lead the reader’s eye from one letter to the next. Every book you will ever pick up pretty much has typography with serifs. That said, stay away from serifs on the web. It’s going to muddle the paragraphs just a hair unless you turn up the size. When in doubt, default to Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Times, or any of the old standbys.

2. Change up the look. Now that you have picked your boring yet classy font, it’s time to make some adjustments. Squeeze those letters together a little bit or add more space between your lines or your paragraphs. Making changes like this will add some sophistication, whereas leaving your body copy on the default settings will make you look like an amateur.

3. Stay away from the reverse text. Humans have been conditioned to read black on white. If we had been raised reading white on black, we would be singing a different tune. Using too much reverse text will make your readers’ eyes tire out that much faster. If you want a hard and fast rule: Try to avoid anything more than three lines of reverse text in your body copy. Follow this rule when it comes to any other color besides very dark colors on a light background. Also, don’t forget your colorblind friends out there. If you completely desaturate the document, would you be able to read your copy? If the answer is no, you are barking up the wrong tree.

4. No body copy on patterned backgrounds. This really should go without saying, but the number of designers still doing this is astonishing. Too much background interference is going to confuse the heck out of your readers. If you want your background to be visible behind your body copy, pick a background that doesn’t have too much going on… like the picture for our post here. Think about adding an opaque or even a semi-opaque box behind your text to help your cause.

Want to learn more?

Stay tuned for more rules about laying out your body copy. There is quite a bit to remember. Do you have any thoughts about body copy that you would like to share? We would love to hear them. Stay tuned for more tip on body copy in graphic design.

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Carolyn Byard