Denny’s Zinger: Paul Bacon — Master Marketer, Master Designer

The life of Paul Bacon (1923-2015) is to be celebrated.

Bacon’s book cover designs helped create warehouses stacked high with pallets of bestsellers.
Paul Bacon

If I’m looking to buy a well-reviewed book, it should immediately recognizable from across the room.

Also instantly readable as a tiny image from Amazon on a cellphone, tablet, or laptop

If title and author are obscured in a mishmash of design, another title nearby might divert my attention. Whereupon three people are screwed out of a sale: the author, the publisher and me.

We can all learn from Paul Bacon.

Bacon 2Chip Kidd: Rock Star Book Cover Designer
In a very early column in 2005, I ripped into the work of Chip Kidd. The New York Times called him a “Graphics Superhero.”

See above for the difference between Paul Bacon and Chip Kidd.

Paul Bacon

Takeaways to Consider: 

  • “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have earned eighty cents out of your advertising dollar.” —David Ogilvy
  • This is also true for titles, email subject lines and envelope teasers.
  • Of the four, by far the toughest challenge is the email subject line. You have just 45 characters of type and spaces.
  • If the reader doesn’t get past these attention-getters, the entire effort is a 100 failure.
  • “Headlines, subject lines, teasers and titles are the hot pants on the hooker.” —Bill Jayme
  • “We are all a mouse click away from oblivion.” —George Wolff

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Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at