Sales Page Designing - a throw back to the 60s?

by 34 comments
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.
#internet marketing #60s #back #designing #page #sales #throw
  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Try selling that concept to people who want a WSO designed. lol.
  • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
    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?
    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      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.
    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      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?
  • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
    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...
    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      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.
  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    All that being said, there's a lot of "retro" work that I really do like.
  • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
    I guess you'd need to define retro for me, that word can take on many different meanings but i do share your sentiments!
  • Profile picture of the author
    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..
    • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
      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..
      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.
    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      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.
  • Profile picture of the author FantaMan
    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...
    • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
      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!

  • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
    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!
  • Profile picture of the author roblawrence
    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.
    • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
      Originally Posted by roblawrence View Post

      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
  • Profile picture of the author roblawrence
    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!
  • Profile picture of the author drewfioravanti
    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.
    • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
      Originally Posted by drewfioravanti View Post

      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:
  • Profile picture of the author Steve Wells
    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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