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Make Your Dent in the Universe
Wow your reader with every element of your marketing materials - from the word choices that you make, to the way it all looks as a finished document, design to instill an emotion in your reader. The right design choices can make a demand on a customer's attention before they've even had a chance to read a single word. In the same way, wrong choices can instinctively tell your customer that a document isn't worth their time unless they're looking for a sleep aid. Paragraph indicators, for example, can completely change everything from the flow of the document to the feeling that a person gets when they look at one of your documents, depending on your intentions.
The Different Methods of Indicating Paragraphs
We're all familiar with the standard ways to indent a paragraph. The reason we're all familiar with these techniques is because we've seen them countless times before, in books, pamphlets, websites, and everything in between. One of the best ways to shake things up, grab your reader's attention, and refuse to let it go is to switch things up a bit and indent paragraphs in a bit of a more unconventional style.
One great method to accomplish exactly this is to experiment with different shapes of content depending on the material that you're creating. Sometimes each paragraph of text can create its own unique shape, other than a square. For example, try creating paragraphs that are circular in nature. When a new circle begins, the reader subconsciously knows that a new paragraph has begun by the very nature of this design. If properly designed, this simple, visual choice instantly elevates you outside of the norm and can instill a sense of fun in your reader.
Here's another idea: say your document doesn't use line spacing to denote paragraphs at all, and instead arranges text in one large, unbroken block. The careful use of strategically bolded words or letters can also be an efficient way to denote new paragraphs. You get the benefit of being able to fit more words onto a single page and still get to separate information into sections based on topics, themes or larger ideas.
Ultimately, paragraph marks are one of the best ways to visually indicate that a new paragraph or idea has begun in your marketing materials. Even if your paragraphs all run together to form one solid block of text, this particular typographic box can still allow you to separate information and invoke a feeling at the same time.
Paragraph marks are also a great opportunity to get creative. Say you were sending out materials on behalf of an animal shelter, for example. Your paragraph mark might be a small icon of a puppy paw or footprint. Visually, the mark itself is keeping in line with the overall theme of your content and you still get to control the flow and digestion of information through a unique and effective formatting choice at the same time.
Step out of the box and liven up your designs by getting creative with your paragraph indicators.
by Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas
The classic Designing with Type has been completely redesigned, with an updated format and full color throughout. New information and new images make this perennial best-seller an even more valuable tool for anyone interested in learning about typography. The fifth edition has been integrated with a convenient website, www.designingwithtype.com, where students and teachers can examine hundreds of design solutions and explore a world of typographic information. First published more than thirty-five years ago, Designing with Type has sold more than 250,000 copies--and this fully updated edition, with its new online resource, will educate and inspire a new generation of designers.