“Ugly works” in direct mail design, writes my colleague Denny Hatch in his latest column in Target Marketing (7/08, p. 50).
His premise: direct mail should be intentionally designed to look ugly and junky, because it will increase response.
The reason (here Denny quotes his former boss Lew Smith): “Neatness rejects involvement. If a thing is too neat, a reader will look at it and say, ‘Isn’t that nice?’ and move on.”
Old school DM experts have preached the “ugly direct mail design is best” rule for decades.
But … I can’t help noticing that most of the winning direct mail promotions that cross my desk today are not ugly. They are cleanly designed and easy to read — not at all “junky.”
So let me ask you, Gentle Reader: which school do you stand with?
Do you, like Denny, deliberately create direct mail packages that look crude, ugly, and cluttered — in the belief that “ugly works”?
Or do you find today’s direct mail prospects respond better to a more professional and sophisticated graphic approach?