Tried-and-true rules for direct-response design

Are there any tried-and-true rules for direct-response design?

You'll get lots of different opinions depending on whom you ask. Below are a few of the more widely accepted rules of thumb that should have you on your way to boosting your response and profitability.* Keep in mind, though, that rules are sometimes made to be broken!

Seven Rules for Attention-grabbing Design

  1. Type should be 10 to 12 points, unless your audience is older and requires a larger type size.
  2. Use bullets to break up long copy chunks.
  3. Photos are much more effective than illustrations.
  4. Place your caption BELOW the photo.
  5. Avoid reverse type for any copy block more than three words.
  6. Use serif type in body copy; it's five times as readable as sans serif type.
  7. Apply color, underlining, and boldface to important messages for added impact.

*I strongly encourage graphic designers I work with to read Type & Layout, by Colin Wheildon. It is a remarkably scientific study of how readability and response fluctuate with specific design elements plus - it's a great read and a steal at only $24.95!
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