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Capture attention in the first sixty secondsFirst impressions are visual: your viewer’s eyes are the door to the processing part of their brain.

Getting that first impression right through good design is essential if you want to engage readers long enough to absorb the rest of your information.

But if you’re trying to design a marketing piece yourself, you may not be sure how to get attention and keep it. This week’s post will show you the three areas you should focus on the make an immediate impact on your viewer.

1. Design Perceptions with Color

One of the first things that’s perceived is color. Are your colors:


I’m all for minimalism, but if that’s your style be sure it’s an intentional choice that communicates what your business is about, not a place you’ve arrived at because you couldn’t decide what else to do.

Over the top?

If you’ve got more than five colors present on your website and in your print materials, you’re not communicating with color at all. Use a limited color palette and be sure to use it consistently in all your materials over time so it has a lasting impact.

Not in sync with what you want to say?

If you’re trying to appeal to a corporate crowd, but your colors are all fluorescent, they’re working against you.

Think about your ideal customer when you choose your colors so you can be sure they’ll appeal to the group you’re trying to reach.

Spend time on your colors so they communicate your brand effectively.

2. Control the Experience with White Space

One of the next things people notice is the amount of space around the information you present. Are your pages crammed and crowded? Or do they have plenty of space, making your information easy-to-read and follow?

White space is your friend! Want some basic tips on using it? Read more about how to use white space here.

White space is the number one way to make your pages more attractive and readable, and using plenty of it (in the right places) makes your information easier to absorb and process.

3. Intrigue and Invite with Your Headline

Finally, once the visual impression is made, people move on to your message.

The first thing they read is your headline. The headline helps them decide whether to continue reading the rest of your material.

Write headlines that attract and promise a payoff. To get a head start, try getting inspired by magazines that use powerful headlines to get impulse buyers to pick them up and buy them.

Remember, the reason a headline exists is to encourage the reader to keep investing time and energy in your information. Headlines are like funnels that capture attention and channel it to the words below.

Convince Them in a Minute

Use this golden minute concept on every page you create, whether it’s in print or on the web. You’ll keep attention where it belongs: on your information.

Question of the Week

What do you find most difficult about grabbing and keeping attention? Coming up with effective colors, incorporating white space, or writing compelling headlines? Let’s talk about it in the comments (and I’ll answer any questions you have, too).

Thanks to A Askew on Flickr for the beautiful golden clock image.

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