White space - It's what's NOT there that counts!
White space is king
This blog is all about how the quantity and placement of text in marketing collateral is controlled by the type of collateral and the media where it will be found - online or offline (print). No matter what the marketing collateral - signs, billboards or fliers or online graphic images - WHITE SPACE is king.
White space is exactly what it sounds like - the space in between and around the words and the images. Think of it as the quiet place where people can think and make decisions.
Here is a great (or should I say 'bad') example of a sign (only two words and the phone number were changed to 'protect the innocent') with a serious lack of white space - it's too busy for its own good. Even if you don't speak Hebrew you can clearly see that this sign is too busy to be an effective marketing tool.
So what is wrong with the sign?
OVERALL This is a sign for a take-away restaurant on a busy street - no one has the time or inclination to read this complete sign or digest what they offer.
TYPEFACE/FONTS/COLORS The sign contains old-fashioned typeface and fonts, in two washed-out (hard to tell from this image) colors: black and a dark reddish hue. These colors don't appeal or stand out to the person in the street or passing in a car.
VISUAL CUES The sign contains too much information and no visual cues to what the store sells.
MEMORABLE The sign does not invite us to give it a second glance or grab our attention.
How can this sign be improved?
While it is easy to say that any change will improve this sign; there are two glaringly important areas that are needed: white space and visual cues. Here are my recommendations:
Make the sign readable!
Cut down the text to a minimum: business name, offer, business hours and contact details.
Improve the typeface and add a bit of color (not too much).
Make the sign memorable!
Take a page from the McDonald's playbook: use images and visual cues to tell the story. The McDonalds' food menu is posted on the wall of each restaurant, above the cash registers and presents clear food images and pricing, perfect for a quick look and easy, fast-paced ordering. This is also perfect for a store front sign on a busy main street.
In addition to the food items presented, there are visual cues that add a cultural dimension to the sign: the image of Shabbat candles and challah. This non-verbal clue informs potential customers that the store offers take-away food for Shabbat meals.
In all, the images are easy to understand and cross all cultural/language barriers.
Converting a sign into a social media post
You can easily convert and repurpose these sign elements into a valuable online social media graphic, because:
The quantity and substance of the text is perfectly balanced.
The graphic elements can be reused providing the images are hi-res.
Because an online post cannot provide the sensory experience of a sign hung on a brick-and-mortar store, with the aroma of food to help make the marketing more memorable, an online sign must contain clear and visible branding, a site link where possible and associated texts that supports and enhances the image.
White space in an online graphic is just as important as it is for its offline print sister, as this graphic will be viewed on a 5.5" smartphone screen. Remember: busy images will be scrolled past.
The bottom line you must trust your minimal text and professional images/imagery to tell your story effectively, efficiently and memorably.
YE Associates is a marketing agency established to help small business owners make sense of their social media chaos with a wide range of business and marketing services. Need help with your marketing strategy and social media presence. Contact us today.
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