Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ad Headline & Book Title Dynamics For Illustrators

What in the world? Illustrators writing? Absurd! And, even more absurd may be an illustrator writing headlines, body copy, theme lines, story titles, and even stories, etc.? And they do. But, do illustrators need to write? Can writing skills benefit an illustrator? You bet!  But all of this depends on the illustrator. Writing skills can add value to the work an illustrator produces, or an illustrator's attractiveness as a potential company employee. And, writing can certainly help an illustrator sell his or her work. So, not all the creative development that an illustrator engages in needs to be pictorial. Words and phrases whether they become headlines or not, can inspire visual ideas and should always be a part of an illustrator’s ideation repertoire.  

© 2013 Don Arday.
Headlines and titles are often the place where creative illustrative ideas begin. After all, or to begin, illustrations provide a visual reference for written narratives and information to add to the understanding of a storyline or article. Illustrations are also used to increase the comprehension of information. And more than occasionally, an illustration may precede and inspire the composition of a story, headline, or title.

In advertising writing, headlines, slogans, and positioning statements are composed using structures or techniques that improve their attractiveness, enhance their clarity, and/or aid in their memorability. In editorial writing, book, story, and magazine article titles also often rely on the same techniques as those used in advertising writing for the same reasons.

Straight Talk 

No use of any technique at all is in itself a technique. Straight talk should be self explanatory, but here is an explanation just in case it isn’t. A straight talking headline or title states the message as straight forward and clear as possible, without any word play, phrase twists, poetical rhymes, or any other form of an applied technique.

Slogan Examples

24-hour cold protection so your symptoms don't come back. (Efidac)
Take an additional 20% off sale items today only. (JC Penney)
You should take a closer look at your aspirin tablet. (Bayer)
A 200 km/hr wind can blow away a whole State. (Actionaid)
Cancer cures smoking. (Cancer Patients Aid Association)
Save your money. (ING)
Stronger than dirt. (Ajax)
Connecting people. (Nokia)
Push button publishing. (Blogger)
Expect great things. (Kohl’s)
There is no substitute. (Porsche)
The document company. (Xerox)
Cover the earth. (Sherwin-Williams)
Expect something extra. (CVS)

Title Examples

Brave New World. (Aldous Huxley) 
The Sound and the Fury. (William Faulkner)
This is Not Novel. (David Markson)
Crime and Punishment. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Steal This Book. (Abbie Hoffman)
Saving Fish From Drowning (Amy Tan)
A Brief History of Time. (Stephen Hawking)

Double Emphasis Word 

Also known as the double buzz word technique, the double emphasis statement takes a key word or important term and repeats it twice or even three times in the same slogan or sentence for the purpose of emphasizing it. By repeating the key word, theoretically, the statement becomes more memorable, and even easier to say or repeat.

Slogan Examples

Beef. Real food for real people. (Beef Industry Council)
He turned his new school clothes into play clothes. You turned them back. (Tide) Don't spend more, spend smarter. (The GM Gold Card)
Which husky is too husky? (Purina)
Lasts longer, much longer. (Duracell)
How does the man who drives a snowplow drive to the snowplow? (Volkewagan)
Buy it. Sell it. Love it. (Ebay)
It keeps going and going and going.... (Energizer)
Bring out the Hellman's and bring out the best. (Hellman's)
Computers help people help people. (IBM)
Better things for better living, through chemistry. (Dupont)
Be all you can be. (US Army)
Cleans you teeth while it cleans your breath. (Dentyne)
Better ingredients. Better pizza. (Papa Johns)
I am Iams. (Iams)
Two great tastes that taste great together. (Reese's)

Title Examples

Eeeee, Eee, Eeee. (Tao Lin)
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (Raymond Carver)
Stranger in a Strange Land. (Robert Heinlein)
Who’s Who in Hell. (Robert Chalmers)
Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger. (Beth Harbison)
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. (Anne Fadiman)
Other Voices, Other Rooms. (Truman Capote)
How Late It Was, How Late. (James Kelman)
2Bro2B. (Kurt Vonnegut)

Familiar Phrase 

The familiar phrase technique is achieved by incorporating a euphemism into a headline statement for the purposes of sounding familiar. It is supposedly most effective for first time viewers. It gives a reader or listener a feeling of familiarity and an impression that they have already encountered the message.

Slogan Examples

Let your little rascals join our gang. (YMCA)
Shoot everything from soup to nuts. (Presto Saladshooter)
Eating right shouldn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. (Le Menu LightStyle)
Crisco beats butter with a stick. (Crisco Stick Shortening)
You commit 4 of the 7 deadly sins just looking at it. (Harley Davidson)
Life is harsh, your tequila shouldn’t be. (Sausa)
From the days when men were men, and so were the women. (Timberland)
To err is human. To er, um, ah, is unacceptable. (The Economist)
Better gas mileage. A Civic responsibility. (Honda Civic)
If gas pains persist, try Volkswagen. (Volkswagen)
Something special in the air. (American Airlines)
Peace of mind. (Chubb Insurance)
Love every minute. (Minute Rice)
When it rains, it pours. (Morton Salt)
Raising the bar. (Cingular Wireless)
Tried. And true. (Michelin)

Title Examples

And Then There Were None. (Agatha Christie)
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. (Joanne Greenberg)
Sticks and Stones. (Veronica Lovejoy)
Less than Zero. (Bret Easton Ellis)
Bright Lights, Big City. (Jay McInerny)
Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear: A Novel. (Katherine Weber)
Wikipedia Says It Will Pass. (Diane Salier)
Void Where Prohibited. (Marc Linder)

Rhyming Phrase

Rhymes and song lyrics, for that matter, possess a rhythm. So building a rhyme into the headline or title interjects a rhythm, which is thought to make a message easier to remember. It is also thought that a rhyming slogan is even able of enticing a reader or listener to want to repeat it. For this reason, many rhyming statements are set to musical phrasing.

Slogan Examples

Great taste, no waste. (Duncan Hines)
State of the art, for your heart. (Bayer Aspirin)
Big Taste. No waist. (Sugar Free Popsicle)
Taste. Not waist. (Weight Watchers)
Cream Pie vs. Dream Pie. (Dream Whip)
Grace, space, pace. (Jaguar)
Plop plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is. (Alka Seltzer)
Don't be vague. Ask for Haig. (Haig Scotch)
The flavor of a Quaver is never known to waver. (Quavers Crackers)
Cooks who know trust Crisco. (Crisco)
Nothing sucks like an Electrolux. (Electrolux)
Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (Timex)
They’re not just alrighta, they’re Ore-ida. (Ore-ida)
The incredible edible egg. (Dairy Producers)
Be wise. Alkalize. (Alka Seltzer)
The quicker picker upper. (Bounty)
Don’t get mad. Get Glad. (Glad)

Title Examples

There’s a Wocket in My Pocket. (Dr. Seuss)
Yertle the Turtle. (Dr. Seuss)
Is Your Mama a Llama? (Deborah Guarino)
City Dog, Country Frog (Mo Willems)
Assassination Vacation. (Sarah Vowell)
Delicious and Suspicious. (Riley Adams)

Word Opposites

It is said that opposites attract, and in the advertising industry it is said they attract customers. Just as pictorial contrast is used to create visual interest, the word opposite technique is used in slogans to create verbal interest. A reader may reread, and a listener may rethink a headline or title simply to compare the opposites. A reevaluation of a message increases its comprehension.


Tone up your outside. Tune up your inside. (Metamucil)
Fisher-Price lets every rookie feel like a pro. (Fisher-Price)
When our van is outside, your home is clean inside. (Servicemaster)
My bottoms are tops. (Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans)
Hot eats. Cool treats. (Dairy Queen)
Does she or doesn’t she. (Clairol)
It Does More. It Costs Less. It’s that Simple. (Apple Macintosh)
Beauty outside. Beast inside. (Mac Pro)
You've got questions, we've got answers. (RadioShack)
Expect more. Pay less. (Target)

Title Examples

Up the Down Staircase. (Bel Kaufman)
Good Morning, Midnight. (Jean Rhys)
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down. (Sherrilyn Kenton)
The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch. (Neil Gaiman)
The Uses and Abuses of History. (Margaret McMIllan)
Days of Magic, Nights of War. (Clive Barker)
Living Dead Girl. (Elizabeth Scott)
White Hunter, Black Heart. (Peter Viertel)
Ugly Heaven, Beautiful Heaven. (Jeffery Thomas)
Leave Me Alone: I’m Reading Finding and Losing Myself In Literature. (Maureen Corrigan)

Familiar Twist

This technique uses what sounds like a familiar phase, but is actually a variation of it, to create a slogan with a twist. The phrase sounds familiar to the reader but requires rereading and participation to discover the alteration. This technique has two advantages. The first one being that of having familiar phrase recognition, and the second one of enticing a reader or listener to reread or rethink the statement resulting in improved comprehension.

Slogan Examples

Zingle serving. (Kraft Cheese Whiz)
Zomething special. (Zima Beer)
Roast and relaxation. (Reynolds Oven Bags)
Honestea. (Tetley Tea)
The brake stops here. (Mr. Goodwrench)
Tis the season to be Jell-o. (Jell-o Gelatin).
If you can afford a glass house, you can throw anything you want. (The Economist)
They're waffly versatile. (Bird's Eye Potato Waffles)
Easy as Dell. (Dell)
Think outside the bun. (Taco Bell)
The Citi never sleeps. (Citibank)
Get found in the crowd. (Lexus)
Answer the smell of the wild. (Old Spice)
It’s time to wake up an smell the tea. (Twinings)

Title Examples

To Live and Drink in L.A. (Ben Peller)
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. (Toby Young) 
Are You Loathsome Tonight? (Poppy Z. Bright)
Still Life With Woodpecker. (Tom Robbins)
Still Life With Crows. (Douglas Preston)
Moby Duck. (Donovan Hohn)
Live and Let Die. (Ian Fleming)
Around the Day In Eighty Worlds. (Julio Cortazar)
Uselysses. (Noel Black)
Sleepless Beauty. (Alaska Everfall)
Carpe Demon. (Julie Kenner)

Three Little Words

Believing that there is something extraordinary about things that come in threes, many clients, advertisers, authors, publishers, etc., think a three-word slogan or title will stick in peoples minds the most. It is thought that three words are easier to remember than four or more, and that three words communicate more completely and clearly than two or one.

Slogan Examples

Snap! Crackle! Pop! (Kellogg's Rice Krispies)
Just do it. (Nike)
Beanz Meanz Heinz. (Heinz)
New. Fast. Efficient. (Air France)
Do you Yahoo? (Yahoo)
I’m loving it. (McDonalds)
Finger lickin’ good. (KFC)
Imagination at work. (GE)
Like no other. (Sony)
Unlike any other. (Mercedes Benz)
Zoom, zoom, zoom. (Mazda)
Think. Feel. Drive. (Subaru)
Taste the rainbow. (Skittles)
Isn’t life juicy. (Starburst)
Pure. Fresh. Clean. (Colgate)
Built Ford tough. (Ford)

Title Examples

Wake the Wicked. (Christion Baloga)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Truman Capote)
Twelve Angry Men. (Reginald Rose)
East of Eden. (John Steinbeck)
Breakfast of Champions. (Kurt Vonnegut)
Snowballs in Hell. (Eve Langlais)
Assholes Finish First. (Tucker Max)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra. (Friedrich Nietzsche)
Far From Xanadu. (Julie Anne Peters)

One Word

Last and perhaps least are single word slogans and titles. It is supposed by the creators of single word slogans that one word says it all. Thought to be thought provoking, it is believed that single word statements force readers or listeners to ponder the meaning of the word in reference to its setting. This serves as a form of participation with the slogan, which increases its memorability.

Slogan Examples

Innovation. (3M)
Imagine. (Samsung)
Imagine. (Lego)
Invent. (Hewlett-Packard)
Advance. (Acura)
Think. (IBM)
Whassup? (Budweiser)
Different. (Dodge)
Shift_. (Nissan)
Fahrvergnugen. (Volkswagan)

Title Examples

Microserfs. (Douglas Coupland)
Twilight. (Stephenie Meyer)
Holes. (Lewis Sachar)
Atonement. (Ian McEwan)
Blindness. (Jose Saramago)
Lolita. (Vladimir Nabakov)
Neuromancer. (William Gibson)
Exodus. (Leon Uris)
Applause. (Carol Muske)
Defiance. (Carole Maso)
Awake. (Dorianne Laux)

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