Just the other day, I saw some copy I’d written, now laid out, formatted and surrounded by all the other elements of the page.
I was horrified.
Copy that was strong and punchy had lost its mojo – cramped into a space that was too small, oddly formatted, and in a font that was difficult to read.
Things used to be so simple.
If you’re as old as me, you’ll remember a time when we had a limited range of printer fonts – all at fixed point sizes. If you were daring, you could add soft fonts, but they were still fixed.
Then along came the font revolution and with just a few clicks, you could turn even the most innocent communication into a ransom note.
It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it
The best copy in the world can be scuppered by poor formatting. Yesterday, I abandoned somebody’s blog – not because it wasn’t interesting, but because my eyes hurt. The font was jagged and just didn’t work, so I gave up.
It’s surprising how many sites these days use tiny point sizes. Of course, you could just change the size of the text using the menus, but it’s a hassle. So you don’t.
Bullets, headings and short paragraphs all make copy more readable. As do fonts specifically designed for the screen – like this one (Verdana). And white space breaks up text and gives it room to breathe.
Of course I have to be careful not to overstep the mark. Graphic designers and web designers are fiercely territorial – though not nearly as prickly as copywriters.
So how did I solve my copy layout challenge last week?
Very, very diplomatically.
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