The main point of display in this ad is the price, $6 and $8, the lower half (sketch only shown) being devoted to the strong points of this line over its competitors.
One of the annoyances to which a live adwriter or firm is subjected to, is the imitation of successful designs and schemes bearing the stamp of originality and distinctiveness. While there is often no recourse against such an act on the part of another advertiser, yet the spirit of fair play often acts as an offset to whatever is gained, as a reader will often reason that a firm which has no more originality than to copy another's design can not treat its customers better. When such imitation of a design, device or trade-mark comes under the head of unfair competition it may be stopped by legal proceedings.
It would seem superfluous to say that exact accuracy of facts is an absolute necessity in an ad, both in pictorial representation and in general statements, but often ads run at considerable expense in a high class medium bearing such evident errors, as to be of no effect as an advertising medium. An ad occupying 1 1/4 columns in a leading monthly magazine, makes the following remarkable statement under the head, "What 16 Horse Power Means:"
"The mechanical definition of one Horse Power means the power necessary to lift 33,000 pounds one foot per hour. Sixteen actual horse power would therefore lift 528,000 pounds one foot an hour."
The adwriter of course meant to say "one foot per minute," and "one foot a minute." As if this were not enough inaccuracy in one ad, the artist had represented an arrangement of pulleys hitherto unknown to science, to support the 528,000 lbs, in which the supporting rope frays to small cords apparently glued to the block which holds the 528,000 lb. engine in suspension.
Space occupied by an ad having one or more evident errors is worse than wasted and error of any kind should be guarded against by careful revision, especially if the matter written about is of a technical character.
The use of cuts to strengthen advertising matter is nearly universal. Any picture will serve to catch the attention, but if not in keeping with subject in hand, if not to the point, it does not serve the purpose of telling something about the goods for sale. Stock cuts should be avoided under all circumstances. The use of illustration is so common that the reader is liable to recognize the disparity existing between the cut and the text or between the cut and the goods, and it cannot help but react upon the advertiser. Then, too, the cut should be adapted to the paper, printing and ink with which it is used.
The simplest form of illustration is the outline cut. This was much in use several years ago and is still employed for some purposes. Shaded cuts are liable to smudge on fast or long runs and should not be used unless they are sure to print well. The cut now most in use and appearing to the best advantage is the hand stipple. This is a pen and ink drawing the shading effect of which is derived from stippling instead of lining. If not reduced too fine in the engraving process it prints well, even on coarse paper and from a stereotype. Half-tones have two disadvantages, the mechanical difficulty in securing a good result in printing, and the absolute fidelity with which they reproduce the original if a photograph. The former imperfection may be obviated by using a coarse screen, but this does away with necessary detail: the latter disadvantage may be remedied by going over the photograph and adding such lines as are necesary and taking out those which are not needed. Wood engravings are comparatively little used on account of cost.
If an advertiser has but one cut and wishes to use it for several newspapers, he can get a number of papier mache impressions or matrices from any of the daily newspapers on his list. These matrices are very handy and can be mailed with an ad with very little cost.
The same general rule should be observed in the display of cuts as in the display of type. Being an important part of the ad, it should stand out, should not be crowded or have the appearance of having been put in anywhere.
The adwriter at all times tries to have his type in keeping with the medium which he is using, the article which he is advertising and the class of people to which he is making his appeal. For instance, an announcement of a sale of art goods would call for script, Old English, or a similar type. Certain lines of trade are associated with utility and call for a serviceable type, as De Vinne for display, and a body type of leaded small pica. In trade papers advertising heavy machinery, steel rails, etc., the substantial heavy-faced Gothic is much used.
A border to an ad acts the same as a frame to a picture, throwing it into bold relief. A box of four rules about a price or an article is of great use in making it show up in a large or blanket, ad.
The size of type is expressed in two ways. Old-time printers designate types by their old names, as nonpareil, brevier, long primer, pica, etc., but now the common designation is by points. A point is 1-72 inch and 6-point nonpariel would be 6-72 inch in width (or heighth of letter). Type faces are not always of the same size as the body, thus we may have a 6-point face on 8-point body.
The following table gives the old names of type bodies and their designation in points:
... 3 1/2
... 4 1/2
2-line Minion or English
2-line small pics
2-line Long Primer or Paragon
2-line Small Pica
2-line Great Primer
41 line Small Pica or Canon
Type faces may be divided according to the nature of their use into two distinct classes: (1) Body or text types, used for plain paragraph matter, such as that of books and newspapers; (2) fancy types, used for displayed matter, such as that of jobs.
Body or text faces may be subdivided again into several classes, of which only two may be considered: (1) Old style; (2) modern. The difference between these faces may be noted with a little practice. Old style has a lighter effect than modern, and the figures do not line at top and bottom. The most striking characteristic of modern is the contrast between the light and the heavy strokes. Old style and modern faces should not be mixed; a book or job should be set in one face or the other- not, as is too often the case, having both used indiscriminately.
A certain amount of technical knowledge of printing is necessary to the successful writing of an ad. Theoretically, at least, a man should be a printer and know what is possible to be done by the compositor, proofreader, and pressman, as, even a minor change may mean a considerable delay and an expenditure of an amount of money out of proportion to the results obtained. The tables and rules and other technical information given in another section of this book will often be of service.
Proof Reading. It is important that anyone having to do with advertising should understand the various marks used in proof reading. An explanation of such characters is fully given under the head, "Marks Used in Proof Reading," to which the reader is referred.