Which is more important- the content of your message or the way it looks?
The question is obviously rhetorical. Effective print communications depend on appearance as well as content.
From the simplest wall drawings of cave dwellers to the illuminated manuscripts of the Renaissance to yesterday’s newspaper, history is rich with examples of the important role appearance has played in written communications. Johann Gutenberg’s introduction of the printing press to Europe more than 500 years ago, and the subsequent design of decorative typefaces, was a decisive turning point in mass production of good-looking print communications.
The advent of the computer was another; and because of it people are bombarded with print communications. Today, effective graphic design is more important than ever. Magazines and newspapers are crowded with ads. Mailboxes are stuffed with catalogs, newsletters and other direct-mail solicitations. Consequently, your message has a lot of competition, increasing the need for a compelling graphic presentation.
In addition, because of the increasing complexity of products and services (coupled with recent changes in sales techniques), buying decisions are often based on information gleaned from brochures, proposals and other print communications rather than on direct hands-on, pre-purchase experience or person-to-person contact.
First impressions last. Effective graphic design favorably predisposes people to accept your product, service or point of view. Often buying decisions are based on emotional and intuitive feelings, which are highly influenced by the print communications that describe the product or service.
If your print communications fail to create a favorable first impression, the buying cycle may be short-circuited.
Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression, design is all important to the success of your message.