As most of you know, graphic design is imprinted in my heart, therefore, I see visual communication everywhere I go. I see it even when some of my family and friends don’t. Did you know we are constantly being fed visual communication? Yes! Even when we don’t realize it. You know that billboard sign that you always notice whenever you drive past it? Yes, it somehow manages to visually get your attention every time you drive by.  I want to share a short story with you that will support that cliché, but true saying that Less is More.

The Story

I’d just finished some grocery shopping at Publix and if you are familiar with Publix, then you know that they usually offer to help you to your car with your groceries. The Publix associate and I were making our way towards my car when we both became distracted by a loud and annoying sound. We both had trouble knowing exactly where the sound was coming from but quickly realized it was coming from a van that was apparently riding slowly through the parking lot. The sound was so unusual and quite annoying that I attempted to investigate it further by trying to make out the million and one images that were plastered on the sides of the van. I then realized that the sound I was hearing was actually the driver speaking into some type of speaker system which amplified his voice. His voice was so amplified that it was not audible or maybe he wasn’t speaking clearly. Regardless, neither me or the Publix employee had any idea what the driver was saying or even knew the purpose of why he was riding around the parking lot in a van covered in several colorful images. I said to the gentleman as he put the groceries in my trunk, “It would be nice to know what he’s saying or what the heck is on the side of his van!” He chuckled and said “I know, right?” I thanked him for helping me with my groceries as I got in my car and then drove home.

What is Organized Chaos?

Now, I know you are probably thinking what does this have to do with the saying of Less is More or how this relates directly to design and marketing? Let’s back up for a moment and examine what I like to call “Organized Chaos.” Organized Chaos is when concepts or ideas are great ideas but have been organized to be executed in not so great ways. It is organized chaos because the message makes sense to the person who came up with the idea but usually doesn’t make much sense to the individuals or target market that it was actually intended for.

Truly Organizing the Chaos

In today’s market, we are overloaded with imagery and textual content daily. What this the guy in the van did was actually not a bad marketing idea but his execution was very poor and most likely won’t lead to a lot of results and here’s why:

Mistake1

His PA system was horrible.

It was very difficult to understand and the message that was being presented was unclear.

Mistake2

Poor quality visual imagery plastered on his van.

Although his speaker was not great (or maybe he wasn’t speaking clearly), he did manage to get the attention of both me and the Publix employee. Once he had our attention, the imagery on the side of the van could have and should have been used to keep our attention. In today’s market, you only have about 20secs (if that) to get someone’s attention and actually keep it. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. I am almost sure this guy decided to use these poor quality images because they were cheaper. I don’t know about you but I would rather spend more money on one or two images of higher quality that will get my target market’s attention than to spend less money (or the same amount of money) on poor quality images that will not get anyone’s attention at all. The true goal is to yield results!

Mistake3

Too much imagery

Yes, there is a such thing as having to much imagery. Not only was the imagery poor quality but it was way too many images covering his van. When he annoyingly got our attention, we should have been able to at least focus on the images on his van. If we had been able to focus or on this images, perhaps we would have gotten and idea of what his message actually was. Instead of us having and idea, we only came to the conclusion that we both didn’t understand his message at all.

Moral of the story

Having a great marketing tactic is less effective or not effective at all if you don’t execute it properly. Imagine what this guy could have accomplished had this been executed properly. Starting a business or organization can be very challenging but what you cannot afford to do is cut corners on your marketing and design. Can you think of a time where you didn’t yield the results you wanted due to poor execution? Quality is and will always be greater than quantity!

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