So I’m republishing what I saw on somebody else’s blog as well as somebody else’s, so what? Isn’t that what blogging is all about? This was too good to pass up, however, because it leads into a good conversation on a number of topics, including:
1. Because a company is big, does that mean everything they do is right?
2. Cheap advertiser syndrome
3. The power of design
4. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy, nor does it mean it should cost you less money
Now, watch this animation/video and then read the rest.
1. Because a company is big, does that mean everything they do is right? Several times my agency has come into a project where we have to work with another agency or designer. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes it isn’t. It depends on whether the agency/designer knows their stuff. Sometimes they don’t, and maybe it’s just coincidence, but whenever they don’t know what they’re doing and I make any hint about the difficulties that lay ahead, the client says the same thing “This guy/agency has done a lot of work for big clients” and sometimes that is followed up with “And this guy/agency has won a lot of awards.” but don’t get me started on awards.
Everyone wants to show off work they did for a big client, because that makes them look big too. However, the fact of the matter is that big companies sometimes make big mistakes, and just because they’re big doesn’t mean they have a clue about what good design is nor does it mean that they know how to hire a good agency/designer.
2. Cheap advertiser syndrome. Less is more, and more is less, more or less. Advertisers who are cheap are also short-sighted. If they buy a magazine ad, they want to fill every last bit of it with something. You know how some magazines sell smaller sizes of ad space in the back of their magazines? That’s how a cheap advertiser’s ad will look even when it’s a full page ad. The logic is that by saying more, the consumer will understand more, be more affected, and be more likely to buy something. And if they don’t like one product we’re selling, we’ve got ten more they can learn about in the same ad.
But the logic falls apart in practice because what really happens is that a reader will ignore the ad entirely. If they see it at all, they won’t want to spend the time reading it. They also subconsciously recognize bad design and will feel the ad is not from a reputable source. But when Apple runs an ad and the entire page is blank except for an iPod that is well designed, it creates desire, and desire drives sales. Cheap advertisers cram lots of information into a limited space. Smart advertisers create focus by removing distractions and driving a key point home.
3. The power of design. I’ve talked about this before here, and here. Good design is a component of competitive advantage often overlooked by those who were educated to be accountants, salespeople, and even marketers themselves. But since when do designers become CEOs of companies? That’s one thing that is so unique about Steve Jobs, whatever else you might not like about him, is that he lets designers do their job. BMW gets it. The AIGA sends designers to get a business education, but business people often have a disdain for design and therefore don’t learn about it, and therefore will ultimately not be able to take advantage of it.
4. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy, nor does it mean it should cost you less money. Sometimes coming up with a simple design takes more time, more hard work, and is only accomplished because of greater experience and creativity, and yet clients look at it and say “I’m paying how much for that?” The follow up sentence which, if not said out loud, is probably running through their brain is “I could do that.” Of course this is being said after the fact. Many things that are quite difficult look easy after the fact, like sailing to the American continent in 1492 (I mean, the continent is huge, who could miss it?) How do you convince a client that just because it’s simple that doesn’t mean it is easy to do and therefore should be inexpensive? I’m not sure, that’s another topic for another day.