Copywriting Design Done Wrong

By: Mike Capuzzi on: January 11th, 2010 15 Comments

Recently, I heard a news report about “Artic goo.” Apparently there is some nasty, algae-type material floating around the North Pole. As the camera panned the ocean, this goo was floating on the water’s surface, leaving a disfiguring wound on an otherwise pristine natural setting.

Being a copy cosmetic geek, I couldn’t help making the mental connection of how many people add a similar type of nasty goo to their copywriting and marketing design, in an effort to grab attention or even worse, make a half-hearted attempt to copy somebody else’s work.

The copywriting “goo” I am talking about is a misuse of the copy cosmetic techniques I teach and similar to the Artic goo, it takes away rather than adds to the effort. Whenever I speak or coach a mastermind member, I always go back to what I call “functional design.”

This means every copy cosmetic technique used has a specific and functional purpose in mind. Everything is done with intention and careful thought. Nothing is done haphazardly.

Here’s a perfect example of what I am talking about. Since I created CopyDoodles®, people all over the world have grasped the power of how adding handwritten notes and doodles to your marketing materials can boost response. However, too often I see what I consider a misuse of CopyDoodles, which I believe can result in decreased response rather than a boost!

Here’s the three biggest blunders I see:

1) Using too many CopyDoodles! The big benefit of CopyDoodles® is to create “eye stops”, grab attention and cause the reader to pause at particular locations within your copy. When too many CopyDoodles are used, it only confuses the reader. I always say “overuse = abuse” ; when everything is emphasized, nothing stands out.

2) Using too many styles of CopyDoodles at one time! Currently there are five different styles of CopyDoodles found on the CopyBoosters membership site. This means, if one so desired, five different looking handwriting styles could be used on one piece or web site.

BIG MISTAKE! Again I go back to one of the reasons I created CopyDoodles®, which is to help people create their own “handwritten notes and doodles” quickly and easily and most importantly realistically! This is a key point – realism.

If you were actually adding your own handwritten notes, you wouldn’t be writing in different styles and handwriting – would you? This would make it appear as if multiple people are adding a note, which doesn’t make sense, therefore why do it with CopyDoodles? I highly suggest you use one style of CopyDoodles within a particular marketing piece.

3) Using too many colors! Much like mistake #2, using too many colors is often distracting and unnecessary. It creates the false illusion you picked up different colored pens to make your notes.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of picking up different pens to add notes to a letter I am writing to a friend doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t seem real.

This brings me to my final point. Effective copywriters understand one of their main missions is to connect with the reader in a personal, 1:1 way. I often teach it’s similar to writing a friend.

Might you add a doodle here and there to draw attention to areas within your copy? Absolutely!

Would you make your letter look like a wall of graffiti, with different handwriting and different colors and way too much goo? I think not.

Keep these principles in mind when you craft your next marketing piece and watch your response rates soar!


Mike Capuzzi is a marketing strategist, author and speaker. Since 1998, he has been helping entrepreneurs and business owners improve their marketing and response rates. He also leads over 150 business owners and entrepreneurs within the Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle – Philadelphia Chapter. You can find out more about CopyDoodles® at

15 Responses

  1. Rob Anspach says:

    …Copy doodles is an awesome tool…thanks Mike.

    “With great power comes great responsibility!”
    Just becuase you have the power doesnt mean you need to use it.
    More is not always better… a sprinkle here and there is usually adequate.

  2. very useful. thank you

  3. “overuse = abuse” is exactly to the point. It applies to copy cosmetics as much as anything else in life.

  4. Great post Mike!

    Copydoodles seem to work best when using them in non saturated niche markets… has that been your experience as well?

  5. Mike Capuzzi says:


    Actually I haven’t found that to be the critical factor. Context and how you use them is more important than the market saturation that may or may not be there (subjective – wouldn’t you say?)

    I always stress context and selective emphasis as the primary factors for knowing how and when to use them.

  6. Charles says:

    Effective copywriters understand one of their main missions is to connect with the reader in a personal, 1:1 way. I often teach it’s similar to writing a friend.
    thank you Mike

  7. Great points, Mike.

    But as you know, “overuse” or “misuse” of CopyDoodles is hardly as big a problem as the 99%+ of entrepreneurs, business owners and sales professionals who don’t use them at all!

    I use them in everything I do (except this comment — I’d have to use one instead of my own photo. lol). I can’t imagine going back to the boring, plain vanilla, lower-response days before I discovered your fantastic products!

    Thanks, Mike!

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  9. John Danbury says:

    Thanks Mike, I just want to say that I have a copy of the copydoodles classic edition although I am not a member of the site yet and have used these to great advantage here in the UK I have spotted them used on others mailing pieces to and am always interested in what is going on both for my business as one of the UKs most successful Magicians and for my brand new marketing consultancy many thanks for all your great ideas.

  10. Lee Little says:

    So true.
    As a freelance CopyWriter I’ve had to learn design because it’s just as important as the words.
    If the design doesn’t draw them in, they’ll never read the words anyways.

  11. jonas says:

    I’m looking for someone who can professionally copydoodle a report I wrote.
    Thanks Jonas

  12. Mike,

    Sorry I did not see your comment before.

    You are definitely correct! I just have found that when I, for example, read salesletters that have copydoodles, because I *know* they are copydoodles, it makes much less of an impression on me then it would make on someone who is not “in the know” about copydoodles and their power.

    PS. Mike- you should hyperlink your name back to your site! :-)

  13. Rob Anspach says:

    I think the most effective copydoodles are ones that dont look like copydoodles…should be in thinner pen ink looking fonts.

  14. I’ve been researching about this for last few days on-line until i last but not least got here in your web-site. I must say, you have made good quality guidelines in post above. I hope you will add more more articles soon because i added your site in my bookmarks and shared your url with my pals. Keep up with great work

  15. Copy doodles really help make the printed word more exciting and engaging. Just don’t overuse them

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