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Unread 22nd February 2013, 06:30 AM   #1
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Default Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

I'm a design geek. Love Typography, discussing design, User Experience and UX well blah di blah But one thing i have been noticing is the way in which i'm seeing many Sales Letters designed and constructed. I am not saying my opinion is correct and i have all the answers, i'm just throwing the idea out there...
I really think we over do it...

Can't over generalise but usually the message is lost in the medium... (too many font types, font styles over used etc)

Was re-watching a clip from a film called "Helvetica" and how one simple font revolutionised advertising.


For those of us that design, I do feel like we can learn a lot from this... What are your thoughts?

Just my two cents.
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 06:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

Try selling that concept to people who want a WSO designed. lol.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 06:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

What are your thoughts on Sales Letters sbucciarel and do you design any? experience of being involved in the designi process of a sales letter?
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 06:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by themezio View Post
What are your thoughts on Sales Letters sbucciarel and do you design any? experience of being involved in the designi process of a sales letter?
I was a designer on Elance for years and had a portfolio of many branding projects for print media ... logos, stationery, brochures, catalogs, etc. So I agree with the video completely. That being said, I have designed WSO sales pages that look like what the customer wanted ... a WSO sales page. I've had a few WF customers who didn't want screaming headlines, yellow underlines, crazy graphics, etc ... but very few.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 06:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

But what if we could change this? After all we are designers and we solve problems. Sometimes meaning we have to be bold and try new things.

I think i may run an experiment with a WSO sales letter that goes completely against what most people are doing. The end goal is profit obviously i think simplicity = clarity. And clarity in turn will lead to more sales...

simple concept i know... we'll see if it works...
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 07:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by themezio View Post
But what if we could change this? After all we are designers and we solve problems. Sometimes meaning we have to be bold and try new things.

I think i may run an experiment with a WSO sales letter that goes completely against what most people are doing. The end goal is profit obviously i think simplicity = clarity. And clarity in turn will lead to more sales...

simple concept i know... we'll see if it works...
Good luck with the experiment. There are so many strong opinions on what converts and what doesn't convert on the WF.

One thing I learned through Elance is that there are some clients that only want you to implement their vision, even if that vision is hideous. There are many customers that I tried to talk out of an idea with no luck. In the end, I did the project their way and simply asked them not to tell anyone that I did their design. lol.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 07:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post
Good luck with the experiment. There are so many strong opinions on what converts and what doesn't convert on the WF.

One thing I learned through Elance is that there are some clients that only want you to implement their vision, even if that vision is hideous. There are many customers that I tried to talk out of an idea with no luck. In the end, I did the project their way and simply asked them not to tell anyone that I did their design. lol.
hahaha this has happened to me many times. Feel your pain!
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 07:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

All that being said, there's a lot of "retro" work that I really do like.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 07:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

I guess you'd need to define retro for me, that word can take on many different meanings but i do share your sentiments!
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

One thing I learned through Elance is that there are some clients that only want you to implement their vision, even if that vision is hideous. There are many customers that I tried to talk out of an idea with no luck. In the end, I did the project their way and simply asked them not to tell anyone that I did their design. lol.
Yes you are right , ultimately we have to follow customer's idea/vision. For me customer is the KING.
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

Take alook at drudgereport and craigslist. i love those sites, simple to use, basic, yeah aesthetic masterpiece even though I also consider it ugly.. But Unique highly successful sites and not like the 99% other design masterpieces out there..

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:06 AM   #12
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Yes you are right , ultimately we have to follow customer's idea/vision. For me customer is the KING.
Sorry i really can't agree. No doubt we want to please the client in all we do but we must present them what we feel is the best approach and best solution regardless if it goes against their wishes. It may mean more work, that you come up with two solutions, one you believe fits but the other what the client wants... then so be it.

But imho we offer no real unique value to that client. What's stopping them from jumping ship to another designer who will do what they say... Don't give them what they want, give them what they NEED!

Yes Customer is King... But even a King has advisors...
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:08 AM   #13
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post
Good luck with the experiment. There are so many strong opinions on what converts and what doesn't convert on the WF.

One thing I learned through Elance is that there are some clients that only want you to implement their vision, even if that vision is hideous. There are many customers that I tried to talk out of an idea with no luck. In the end, I did the project their way and simply asked them not to tell anyone that I did their design. lol.
I've had the same...

At the end of the day, for client based work, if your client has a vision - you follow it or else you're going to have an unhappy customer.

In my own personal projects I love trying new things and experimenting with 'out of the box' ideas... sure a few of them fail - but it's fun and I sometimes get some amazing results too...

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Take alook at drudgereport and craigslist. i love those sites, simple to use, basic, yeah aesthetic masterpiece even though I also consider it ugly.. But Unique highly successful sites and not like the 99% other design masterpieces out there..
It's funny you mention Craiglist. They are using a sans-serif font family much like Helvetica for most of their body copy and links. Back in the 2000's it would have been a breath of fresh air as compared to what someone like AOL were doing back then...

Would agree with you still classic per say but i think for craigslist the main reason they are still so popular is their usability aspect.
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:16 AM   #15
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomas Lodén View Post
Take alook at drudgereport and craigslist. i love those sites, simple to use, basic, yeah aesthetic masterpiece even though I also consider it ugly.. But Unique highly successful sites and not like the 99% other design masterpieces out there..
I don't think it's a great example of how ugly can work.

It's merely a great example of how a site that was established 13 years ago (when such Internet resources were more scarce and less attractive than they are today) can still continue to thrive with no aesthetical change.

In laymans terms, it was populated when ugly was rife.

There has been no attractive version of Craigslist to use as a contrast to see how much better it could potentially be.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:23 AM   #16
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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At the end of the day, for client based work, if your client has a vision - you follow it or else you're going to have an unhappy customer.
I don't agree with this.

Your client won't be happy if you do what they want and they make no money from it.

There have been plenty of times I have told my offline clients I will not do what they want. I remind them they have hired me because I know what I am doing and I know what will work best for them. I then tell them if that doesn't satisfy them they are welcome to look elsewhere as I only want to work with people who want results.

Guess how many people go elsewhere?

If you just always do what your customers want (even when you know it is wrong) you won't gain much respect from them. I have gained much more respect by standing up for what I believe in and telling things exactly as they are. Clients like honesty and clients are paying you for results. If I know something else will work better than what they want, that's exactly what they are going to get.

I'm not in this business to be a 'yes' man. I'm here to help them make money.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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I'm not in this business to be a 'yes' man. I'm here to help them make money.
I can't wait to start this WSO experiment!
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:51 AM   #18
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by themezio View Post
What are your thoughts on Sales Letters sbucciarel and do you design any? experience of being involved in the designi process of a sales letter?
My friend, some research before replying would be in order, don't you think?

She's done many sales letters, including one of mine (I just let her do what she wanted, since she's the expert).

Ugly probably converts better because it's more "real."

Yet we're drawn to Slick because it looks "cool" and projects an image of awesomeness. But it also creates a corresponding feeling of discomfort and mistrust. After all, can it really be this awesome?

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 08:54 AM   #19
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

Hi,

Its all about minimalist these days. I really think that's a good thing because its the most user friendly way to use print/design in advertising. Why over-complicate something and risk the chance of scaring away your target market.

The giants in advertising all get it right these days... Facebook, Google, Amazon, Coke etc...
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:00 AM   #20
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post
My friend, some research before replying would be in order, don't you think?

She's done many sales letters, including one of mine (I just let her do what she wanted, since she's the expert).

Ugly probably converts better because it's more "real."

Yet we're drawn to Slick because it looks "cool" and projects an image of awesomeness. But it also creates a corresponding feeling of discomfort and mistrust. After all, can it really be this awesome?
I love customers like Jason. It's always a pleasure to work for someone who says show me what you want to do with it.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:00 AM   #21
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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My friend, some research before replying would be in order, don't you think?
Um.. I'm sure she was not offended I was not aware of her work. The forum is a big place and we haven't crossed paths before. (I'm rather new also)

Having said that you have a short window to impress... I would never want to be remembered as ordinary. I'd rather you think i'm too good to be true (which means i've gripped your attention) than to be "real" and placed in the same category as everyone else.

Just my two cents.
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:05 AM   #22
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by FantaMan View Post
Hi,

Its all about minimalist these days. I really think that's a good thing because its the most user friendly way to use print/design in advertising. Why over-complicate something and risk the chance of scaring away your target market.

The giants in advertising all get it right these days... Facebook, Google, Amazon, Coke etc...
I agree with you.. Case in point Apple. Their advertising strategy for offline print work consists nearly 99% of the time the Apple logo, Product Name and Huge Hero Image of the Main Product.

Simple... And it works!

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:06 AM   #23
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Um.. I'm sure she was not offended I was not aware of her work. The forum is a big place and we haven't crossed paths before. (I'm rather new also)

Having said that you have a short window to impress... I would never want to be remembered as ordinary. I'd rather you think i'm too good to be true (which means i've gripped your attention) than to be "real" and placed in the same category as everyone else.

Just my two cents.
I don't think she was offended, either.

I also think copy trumps design any day.

If the message ain't there in the first place, no amount of prettiness or explosions will transform it into valuable content.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:10 AM   #24
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post
I don't think she was offended, either.

I also think copy trumps design any day.

If the message ain't there in the first place, no amount of prettiness or explosions will transform it into valuable content.
I do too. There are plenty of examples of very boring, plain design with dynamite copy that can crush a flashy design that doesn't deliver the message.

I consider great copy a work of art also.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:13 AM   #25
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

Agree with you both, it depends on the product though. No amount of copy can effectively sell a Wordpress theme for instance, without a clear main shot of the Main Product.

Great discussion got my design mind ticking over! Always great for inspiration!
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:15 AM   #26
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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I don't agree with this.

Your client won't be happy if you do what they want and they make no money from it.

There have been plenty of times I have told my offline clients I will not do what they want. I remind them they have hired me because I know what I am doing and I know what will work best for them. I then tell them if that doesn't satisfy them they are welcome to look elsewhere as I only want to work with people who want results.

Guess how many people go elsewhere?

If you just always do what your customers want (even when you know it is wrong) you won't gain much respect from them. I have gained much more respect by standing up for what I believe in and telling things exactly as they are. Clients like honesty and clients are paying you for results. If I know something else will work better than what they want, that's exactly what they are going to get.

I'm not in this business to be a 'yes' man. I'm here to help them make money.
As much as I agree with the fact with not being a 'yes' man, if the customer wants a specific design done in a specific way then that's what they are hiring me to do...

For example - lets say someone wants something in a specific font thats UGLY and I want to use helvetica for example (keeping in topic)... I'm not saying just to say okay and do it... Of course it's your job as the service provider to advise them that the other way has much better potential then the way they would like to do it.

I would never turn away a customer because I don't think the way they want to do it is right... at the end of the day, if I've advised them and they are still set on the way they want to do it, it's best that I provide them that service then them spend another few days trying to find someone else to do it surely?

Yes, it's important to not be a 'yes man' - but as long as you've helped them make an informed decision all I'm saying is the customer has the final say in what THEY want.

I'd much rather be the guy to help people achieve their visions (with a little advice from me) then push mine on everyone.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post
I don't think she was offended, either.

I also think copy trumps design any day.

If the message ain't there in the first place, no amount of prettiness or explosions will transform it into valuable content.
Couldn't agree more Jason!

Copy is 75% of the job... the design is there to emphasise the key points in the copy, not just look pretty.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:25 AM   #27
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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As much as I agree with the fact with not being a 'yes' man, if the customer wants a specific design done in a specific way then that's what they are hiring me to do...

For example - lets say someone wants something in a specific font thats UGLY and I want to use helvetica for example (keeping in topic)... I'm not saying just to say okay and do it... Of course it's your job as the service provider to advise them that the other way has much better potential then the way they would like to do it.

I would never turn away a customer because I don't think the way they want to do it is right... at the end of the day, if I've advised them and they are still set on the way they want to do it, it's best that I provide them that service then them spend another few days trying to find someone else to do it surely?

Yes, it's important to not be a 'yes man' - but as long as you've helped them make an informed decision all I'm saying is the customer has the final say in what THEY want.
I've had very strong minded customers that knew exactly what they wanted and what they wanted was amateurish and ugly, IMO. They most certainly would have gone elsewhere after accepting my bid on the project had I not delivered what they wanted. While it's nice to help the customer to make money, I took on projects to make me money and the hardball approach would not have worked for some of my customers. I'm not going to turn a customer away normally just because they're hard headed and have their own ideas and insist on their own vision. I've even gone the extra bit by giving them what they want and giving them what I thought it should look like, and guess what? They wanted what they wanted and I got paid to give it to them.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:33 AM   #28
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

I vote for ugly over pretty design. Try to keep it real. Sometimes if something is too polished, it looks suspect. People aren't easily conned nowadays, especially when every Internet Marketer's sales letter looks the same (same squiggly handwritten graphics, order buttons, etc.). When I see one of those fancy 1-page sales letters with the hyped-up headline, the B.S. meter goes off. Seems like one person wrote one of "those" types of letters and all the new people "copied" it.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:37 AM   #29
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

Here's an example of a perfect "ugly" advertisement from the old days. I have tons of these in my files. I think something like this would still get a response...even today!
Attached Thumbnails
Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?-handwrittenpromise.jpg  

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 09:46 AM   #30
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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I vote for ugly over pretty design. Try to keep it real. Sometimes if something is too polished, it looks suspect.
The main reason i feel we think something is too good to be true (design wise) is because we have been heavily drawn in and we WANT what their selling.

How often have you been on a date and thought "i'll not look my best, she/he will think im too good to be true, they may not like me.. let me dress down to impress them"

Rarely happens imho i think the principle translates... Business is like Courtship, you woo a prospect hopefully get married (the sale). Even after marriage you keep wooing to keep the love alive I think its the same in business and can apply to a sales letter.

With the right copy give me polished prettiness any day
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 10:04 AM   #31
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

I've been the monkey who knows how to use the software too many times. Which is why I got out of designing for a while. White space was a four letter word. Make this bigger. Bold this. Center this. Make this yellow. Make this red. More images. Blah blah blah.

Everyone thinks they know design. They are all experts.

Now I tell clients that I will do the design and if they want to do it they need to hire someone else.

If you do a design to a client's specifications, and it is not something you would put in your portfolio, have you really done them justice? They will think so, but you know you have not.

Their opinion is right and you will never convince them otherwise. To them, I pass.
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 11:16 AM   #32
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Everyone thinks they know design. They are all experts.
So true lol when i was an in-house designer i would randomly get a Finance Account Manager explaining to me that the shade of blue i was using was not quite right... If i walked past his desk and pointed out there may be better piece of software for accounting... I would be looked at as crazy.

Afterall we are just designers... What do we know? Not like we had to study hours of complex theories like Semiotics and Iconography. Nahh we're just designers :rolleyes:
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 11:42 AM   #33
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by themezio View Post
I agree with you.. Case in point Apple. Their advertising strategy for offline print work consists nearly 99% of the time the Apple logo, Product Name and Huge Hero Image of the Main Product.

Simple... And it works!

I like the dry cleaners.

..but then I'm blind to ipads so I'm bias.

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Unread 22nd February 2013, 11:45 AM   #34
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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I like the dry cleaners.

..but then I'm blind to ipads so I'm bias.
hahaha fair enough
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Unread 22nd February 2013, 02:03 PM   #35
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Default Re: Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

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Originally Posted by themezio View Post
I'm a design geek. Love Typography, discussing design, User Experience and UX well blah di blah But one thing i have been noticing is the way in which i'm seeing many Sales Letters designed and constructed. I am not saying my opinion is correct and i have all the answers, i'm just throwing the idea out there...
I really think we over do it...

Can't over generalise but usually the message is lost in the medium... (too many font types, font styles over used etc)

Was re-watching a clip from a film called "Helvetica" and how one simple font revolutionised advertising.

Helvetica - PERIOD. - YouTube

For those of us that design, I do feel like we can learn a lot from this... What are your thoughts?

Just my two cents.
Seen that video a few times. Lol!

Anyway, one of the problems I see is that people who are not designers, hire designers, then they want to tell the designer how to design. I'm not saying that some input and direction is necessary to start, but professional graphic designers are trained in DESIGN, COLOR THEORY, and many other design fundamentals.

So, when someone who is not, hires someone who is, then micro manages them, it's a little frustrating for sure.

I honestly have done work where I would not want to show it in my portfolio of work, because the design was guided by a person with an untrained eye (the client), and I could not do what I knew would look best.

As for fonts, at the most you should only use at the most 3 different fonts, at least that's the way I was trained. I personally try to stick to only 2 and if I need more I try to use different styles of the same font, bold, italic, condensed black, etc.... which adds variety but still stays uniformed.

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