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Bring Marketing Materials Together with Flow

Printed marketing materials must have balance, meaning that nothing should be so heavy or large as to prevent you from seeing the other elements. As you put your ad together, think about your entire page as an artistic composition that has to have certain qualities.

However, perfect balance is boring, so use differences in size and placement of type, white space, and illustrations to create flow. Flow is the smooth movement of attention from an entry point, around the page, and to an end point.

In marketing, the entry point is almost always the headline, and the end point is either the brand name and logo, or a call to action, depending on whether you want to emphasize brand-building or generate traffic.

This ad has great flow. The eye starts with the headline and is drawn down by the lemon to body copy that has a gentle sweeping curve to its ragged right side, until the eye is temporarily arrested by the bolder punch line. But it doesn’t end there.

The larger scale of the second lemon makes it jump up off the page, and the boxed, contrasting type of the call to action also demands attention so that the eye goes down and to the left for another batch of reading.

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Notice how it has a subtle flow cue in the way the second lemon has been cut. It seems to be telling a sequential story in which the service the ad describes has processed the “lemon” or problem and found the “lemon aid” or the solution within it.

The flow doesn’t quite stop at the call to action. The eye wants to finish the journey by moving to the right (a natural way to read), where it encounters the big lemon again before ending on the signature. The last thing you see in a list is the most memorable, so this exit point ensures maximum recall of the brand name.

In a really well-designed print ad, brochure, website, or blog page, the writing and the selection of type styles are just a part of the bigger-picture design, which ought to draw the viewer through a well-planned flow of reading and viewing experiences. Many designers lay out their designs on imaginary grids, where each section, like a headline or a column, fills a rectangular zone in the layout grid.

However, ensuring good flow is more important than worrying too much about establishing an elaborate grid or underlying architecture. As long as the ad attracts attention and flows the reader through its component parts, the design is working.

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