How do you drive more results? The principles of design can help.


We all live in a visual world and studies have shown that to connect with consumers, a strong approach to the visual impact is key. 

Research at 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. 80% of people remember what they see, compared to ten percent of what they hear and 20 percent of what they read.

One of the most popular principles used in design is the concept of visual hierarchy. It’s the order in which readers view things on a website or direct mail piece. Since we fully understand this principle, designers put everything in the right place to capture the reader’s attention. The marketing game is all about “eyeballs,” after all. The more people who see your deliverables, the better your chances of making an impression, and impressions lead to contacts and sales.  

Visual Hierarchy for Websites

Since the 1990s, consumers have developed habits when it comes to reading website content. Their eyes will naturally navigate toward the most important points – if those points are arranged in a way that garners maximum audience attention. A designer would never use the same big, bold font for everything on your website. This would be confusing and cause most readers to lose interest.

Websites should be designed following a clear visual hierarchy. This is intended to draw people’s initial attention to your main point, such as who you are and what you have to offer. From there, a variety of other visual cues are designed to guide the reader through the information in the order they need to receive it. This practically guarantees readers will absorb your message and have a positive impression of your company.

Visual Hierarchy in Direct Mail

Like websites, people don’t randomly read direct mail. There is a flow and order to where their eyes typically go, and clever marketers have the experience to make the most of this. It’s important to identify the “hot spots” on your direct mail piece. These are the areas that people tend to view first. A good designer will know the best strategies to make the most of these spots in order to make the right impression with your target demographic.

In direct mail, there will always be natural hot spots such as your return address, postage corner and front/back teaser copy. Other areas include the letterhead or masthead and greeting. While using these areas can be effective, the best marketers create other ways to draw the readers’ attention through typography and other techniques such as:

  • Simple, compelling headlines and subheads
  • Eye-catching background or accent colors
  • Engaging photos or illustrations
  • Infographics to make information easily digestible
  • Highlighted content or callouts for key information
  • A clear call to action

Put Visual Hierarchy to Work for You

Our research-driven, data-led, custom marketing solutions focus on understanding your audience and creating dynamic results. We can help you reach the people you want to reach and make a positive impression on them. For more information on how to use our immersive approach, reach out using the contact information below.

Mark M Gaskill
Mark M Gaskill

EVP of Marketing Solutions

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