The Beauty of Simplicity

We’ve all been there. In those meetings where someone wants more information in that ad, an extra flair to a graphic or several extra steps in a process. Usually, at that point you’re up against a deadline, need to get whatever it is done and out, leaving you little or no time to see if it still works. Or you just have to do it because it is what you can get approved.

The result, however, is clutter. Clutter diluting a message, crowding much-needed “white” space or creating something highly inefficient. What you had is no longer effective.

In an excellent report from the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers found that the less advertisers said about their products the more prestigious and trustworthy they appeared to audiences. Earlier research referenced in the study showed clutter in ads indicated deception about the product.

Even Albert Einstein, speaking from a scientific point of view, said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

If it is simple and straightforward, people can understand it. It makes a point. It has meaning. And the message is right there in plain view.

When we complicate things with complexity, too many words or jumbles of images we create vampires that suck the life out of our messages, our products and our processes. They get lost in the very clutter they create. Just look at the mortgage crisis, which was caused by a scheme so convoluted even the supposed experts couldn’t understand what was happening.

But don’t overdue the simplicity. Whatever it is, it still has to function. At the same time, only do as much as you need to get the point across and for it to work.

It’s not about what you want to say to your audience. It’s about what they need, and want, to hear.

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