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Best Fonts & Colours For eBay Auctions?
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Jul 26, 2007, 07:43 AM
 
I'm probably giving this way too much thought, but I'd like to know what the MacNN consensus is about what fonts, styles and colour combinations are best for selling stuff on eBay.

I've been specifying ‘Helvetica, Arial, sans‑serif’ usually, based on the assumption that Helvetica is everybody's favourite, and even though Arial looks stupid, most PC users can't tell the difference anyway what with Window's crappy font rendering and all …but now I've read somewhere that serif typefaces are easier to read. Don't know what to think about that, a screen isn't a newspaper. What do you think?

As for colours, I occasionally use a black background if I feel it suits the item. Text then is predominantly white, although I tend to specify slightly larger and/or heavier, and/or varying‑shade‑of‑grey type for headers and such. I've also used bold red type when selling heavy metal records, in an effort of making the listing look more hardcore/evil to potential bidders. I also centre align everything.

Is this overkill?
     
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Jul 26, 2007, 07:58 AM
 
Reading white text, and especially sans serif white text which is what Helvetica is, is incredibly hard on the eye, especially on a screen. It's pretty much exactly the opposite what you should be doing. Screen or newspaper, the rules don't change - why should they?

And why did you post this topic twice?
     
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Jul 26, 2007, 08:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap
Reading white text, and especially sans serif white text which is what Helvetica is, is incredibly hard on the eye, especially on a screen. It's pretty much exactly the opposite what you should be doing.
Personally, I find white text on a black background easier on the eye than the reverse. I hear the same from a lot of other people.

Originally Posted by Mastrap
Screen or newspaper, the rules don't change - why should they?
Resolution and screen quality. The details in serif fonts are harder to view on an electronic display than they are on traditional print media, to me serif fonts on screen only look decent at considerably larger font sizes. Just because something looks good in print, doesn't mean it'll translate well to the screen.

Originally Posted by Mastrap
And why did you post this topic twice?
Accident, obviously. I started making it a poll, then thought better of it, went back and unchecked the box. Didn't expect it to show up twice.
     
zro
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Jul 26, 2007, 10:42 AM
 
Serif is much more pleasing to my eye than sans. Looks less sterile and cold.

Honestly, I think all the multicolor nonsense looks like a joke. It's obviously meant to say, "Look at me! Look at me! Nothing worth reading here, but look at me anyway!" I'd rather read a listing that looks like it was written by an adult, for an adult, with as much straight information as a buyer would want.
     
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Jul 26, 2007, 10:44 AM
 
please don't design your auctions. I like them best when they are plain and readable--no all caps, good descriptions, preferably several pictures. That will speak more than what font you used.
     
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Jul 26, 2007, 10:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
please don't design your auctions.
GarageSale has some really nice templates that are minimal enough not to be gaudy and slick enough not to be a boring old ebay-colored page. Many of their layouts involve something like a nice row of thumbnails near the top of the page. I much like "showcasing" my awesome product photography on the page, I definitely think it helps the sale.

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Jul 26, 2007, 01:39 PM
 
Try red letters and comic sans for a font. You can't go wrong there.
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Jul 27, 2007, 04:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by zro
Serif is much more pleasing to my eye than sans. Looks less sterile and cold.
If that's the case for most people, why do sites like Apple, Daring Fireball, VersionTracker, and any of the few dozen big sites I visit on a daily basis all use sans serif, then? Why does the iPhone use Helvetica?

Originally Posted by zro
Honestly, I think all the multicolor nonsense looks like a joke. It's obviously meant to say, "Look at me! Look at me! Nothing worth reading here, but look at me anyway!" I'd rather read a listing that looks like it was written by an adult, for an adult, with as much straight information as a buyer would want.
Agreed, that's why I only use black, white, shades of grey, and possibly one colour (red) for punch.

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Originally Posted by andi*pandi
please don't design your auctions. I like them best when they are plain and readable--no all caps, good descriptions, preferably several pictures. That will speak more than what font you used.
You're saying it doesn't bother you if a listing is all plain text, without any line breaks? To me that looks as if the seller is being cheap and doesn't care enough about his item to present it in the best possible way.

I do the minimal designing I do on top of the content and multiple pictures.

Incidentally, what would you suggest the ideal picture size is? At the moment, I'm using 600x450 pixels at 100 dpi.

_________________________
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure
GarageSale has some really nice templates that are minimal enough not to be gaudy and slick enough not to be a boring old ebay-colored page. Many of their layouts involve something like a nice row of thumbnails near the top of the page. I much like "showcasing" my awesome product photography on the page, I definitely think it helps the sale.
GarageSale stopped working for me, the only version I can get to run doesn't upload my auctions. If it worked, I would be using it just to save time. My hand‑coded listings do somewhat follow some of the plainer GS templates.

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Originally Posted by Rumor
Try red letters and comic sans for a font. You can't go wrong there.
Comic sans,

( Last edited by red rocket; Jul 27, 2007 at 10:07 AM. )
     
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Jul 27, 2007, 09:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by zro View Post
Serif is much more pleasing to my eye than sans. Looks less sterile and cold.
Sans is typically used for screen media; serif is used for print media. Sans-serif is generally easier to read on a screen than a serifed font, especially at small text sizes.

Honestly, I think all the multicolor nonsense looks like a joke. It's obviously meant to say, "Look at me! Look at me! Nothing worth reading here, but look at me anyway!" I'd rather read a listing that looks like it was written by an adult, for an adult, with as much straight information as a buyer would want.
I use the same "template" for all my auctions. I put the shipping rate in blue, my feedback rules in orange (I have to get payment within five business days of auction close, or else I report the buyer and leave negative feedback), etc. I use different colors to emphasize different parts of my auction. I haven't sold anything on eBay in awhile, so I can't show you what my auctions look like.

I'm not a fan of white text on black. It's too stark and hurts my eyes. After looking at a page like that, going back to default black-on-white makes the white background look too bright.

What matters more than anything is the content of your auction. People tend to include little pertinent information in their auctions, which is a turn-off for a lot of potential buyers. It seems like you might be hiding something. Put as much detail as you can, and as any pictures as you can.
     
zro
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Jul 27, 2007, 10:54 AM
 
Ewww.... multicolor!


And WTF is it with you people and what's pleasing to my eye? I'm not saying sans can't look good or doesn't have a place, but for body copy (the majority of text) serif's where it's at.
     
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Jul 27, 2007, 11:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by zro View Post
Ewww.... multicolor!


And WTF is it with you people and what's pleasing to my eye? I'm not saying sans can't look good or doesn't have a place, but for body copy (the majority of text) serif's where it's at.
If you Google "serif vs. sans-serif on the web", you will get a plethora of results that support the concept that serifed fonts are simply harder to read on screens, especially at smaller sizes.

You'll notice that default UIs for any modern interface (Gnome, KDE, OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, etc) use sans-serif fonts. An eBay auction is not a book. It's not a piece of literature that will be printed out and saved for posterity. Choose whichever typeset you want; the general consensus for web designers will still be that sans-serif is better for web design.
     
zro
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Jul 27, 2007, 03:35 PM
 
Gee, I want to care, truly I do, but I just don't give a **** who thinks serif fonts don't belong on a computer screen. They are pleasing to my eye.


Ok, I lied. I don't really want to care.
     
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Jul 28, 2007, 02:52 AM
 
Am I the only one that likes plan eBay auctions?
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Jul 28, 2007, 01:49 PM
 
First rule of design club:

MAKE IT BIG.

Second rule of design club:

If you can't make it big, make it red.

Third rule of design club:

If you want to really make it work, make it big AND red.

Enough said.
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Jul 29, 2007, 08:12 AM
 
I hear red text on green backgrounds work wonders. Big, bold, centered Comic Sans of course!

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Jul 29, 2007, 07:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by design219 View Post
First rule of design club:

MAKE IT BIG.

Second rule of design club:

If you can't make it big, make it red.

Third rule of design club:

If you want to really make it work, make it big AND red.

Enough said.


And for the record, of course a listing needs paragraph breaks, that's what I consider "readable" and plain text.

What bothers me most about auctions is

OMG HERE IS MY ITEM 4 SALE IT IS AWSOME PLESE BID

followed by umpty million all caps disclaimers but no real info about the listing. Or good pictures.
     
   
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