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By Karen Post The Branding Diva®

“Wanted” the nitwit who created the type justification feature on the Microsoft Word® program, or any word processing program for that matter. And all the nitwit followers who always justify documents (proposals, letters, and even PowerPoint® presentations) and continue to use goofy outdated typefaces; underscore, bold, and capitalize letters in long phrases, and then separate them from the body copy with floating headlines.

This is not cool. I don’t care if your attorney does it, he or she is mislead too. It just makes your document look cheesy and your brand unprofessional.
Just because a computer or word processing application has these type features, does not make them right. Typography was born to help you communicate. Using type correctly can act as a visual tool in conveying your cause, selling your idea, or expressing your message; not to degrade your brand with bad type practices.

Here are five tips to polish up your documents, so they work with you.

1) Justifying type dramatically reduces readability. If you want to make your reader’s experience pleasant and reader-friendly, flush-left your type.

2) If you want to draw attention to a word, select one type style, like bold, not three. Less is more.

3) Designer typefaces are like fashion. They look good when they are in vogue. When they are out of style, they look worse than a light blue leisure suit showing up in a swanky, hip bar.

4) Headlines are meant to guide the reader’s eye to the body copy. Floating headlines with space between them (under the headline) serves no purpose except to make it more work for your reader to get your communication.

5) In most cases, all caps communicates that you are screaming. If that is your intent, go for it. If it’s not, try upper and lower case letters.

typeface examples

Applying these simple guidelines can drastically improve the effectiveness and quality image of your documents. Share these tips with every attorney you know. Who knows: together maybe we can eliminate these goofy, uninformed document producers’ bad type practices.

About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She is has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com, an idea engine for creative professionals and business. Her work has benefited large and small organizations in the United States and around the world.