Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is the Rule of Three? Does it have anything to do with devil worship? -- signed "Gothic W. Riter "

Dear Gothic:

You’re thinking of 666. The Rule of Three is different. Photographers, graphic designers, interior designers and architects follow it. So why shouldn’t copywriters? Actually, many do.

Visually, the Rule of Three is about harmony…and odd numbers. Cecilia Walker at Cecilia Walker Design explains the Rule like this: “The basic idea is that details and objects that are arranged or grouped in odd numbers are more appealing, memorable, and effective than even-numbered pairings. While it is easier to create symmetry by balancing elements in twos, odd numbers create harmony.”  

In copywriting, the Rule is about words, obviously. But more than that, it’s also about what those words (or phrases) look like on a printed page or computer monitor (or in any other form of communications). Additionally, it’s about the rhythm of the words and how they sound when read aloud (or silently).

For instance, how enduring would Timothy Leary’s 1960’s mantra be if it was just “Turn on, drop out” versus the actual 3-part one: “Turn on, tune in, drop out”?

How memorable and engaging would the Pep Boys be if they became “Moe and Jack” instead of “Manny, Moe and Jack”?  

How iconic would Nike’s “JUST DO IT” be if it became “DO IT”?  

Copyblogger founder Brian Clark wrote an excellent, in-depth article on subject: “How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content” It’s a must read.

Dear Freelance Copywriter is brought to you by Robert Roth at ROTH copywriting