Those of you in the design or advertising industry would probably be familiar with this situation, where the client insist on cramming in maximum amount of information in what is already a limited amount of space. Well, sometimes less is actually more…
Reality Of The Design World Today
Manufacturers are the biggest culprits when it comes down to this. They always want to advertise why their products are better, or have more features than their competitors. Because of that, they tend to go all technical, and start labelling all the technical jargons, and start to balloon up the numbers of whatever parameters that they deem important enough to show the potential customers that their products are “better” than their competitors.
Those of you who grew up in the 1990s would probably remember the Mega-Hertz race of the computer industry. Microprocessor manufacturers were literary upping the clock-cycle of the CPUs every half-year or so, and then start claiming that they had the fastest chip on the block. Computer assemblers who used these CPUs then started advertising that they have the fastest computer in the market… For a while at least.
Let The Numbers Game Begin
Processor clock speed and number of cores, RAM amount and speed, storage space and access speed, even the number of monitors your computer could hook up to, everything was fair game. And the way they chose to let their potential customers know about all these numbers was by literary splashing all the data on the packaging box that it came in.
Just like how computer manufacturers try to convince potential customers to buy their products by selling them numbers, advertisers and designers are also caught up with playing the numbers game.
Graphic Designers are bowing to the demands of their clients, of wanting to put anything and everything about their products onto whatever limited real estate that’s available for them to advertise their products.
This is a classic example of a fictional car manufacturer’s poster advertisement.
Notice that they’re literary trying to list everything about the car onto whatever free space available on the poster? This is known as the phenomenon of literary trying to sell the car (or whatever product or service that they want to sell).
In the midst of all their enthusiasm, the client (and maybe the designer too) had forgotten that customers are not logical beings. They more often than not make buying decisions based on emotion rather than logic. Putting all those data (although accurate, but boring nevertheless) onto their advertising platform isn’t going to sway their customers into buying their products any more than they would buy from their competitors.
The keyword here is emotional marketing. People make irrational decisions on what to purchase based more on emotional attraction rather than the actual data. And what better way to tickle their fancy by addressing their emotional needs rather than logical minds?
Less Is Really More
Selling the same fictional product as the example above, this advertisement poster is a lot less informative than the one above. But what it does best is that it actually presses the emotional buttons of the potential customers, by making them want to “feel” the adrenaline rush just by looking at the poster, rather than digesting all of the specification data of the car itself.
So it is actually much more effective to simply omit all of the unimportant data that is cluttering the poster real estate with useless facts, and show only what makes their heart race. In fact, you don’t even need to show the actual shape of the car at all. Just the bits and pieces of tightly cropped images of the car parts is more than enough to whet the appetite of the potential buyer.
The Less The Amount Of Information, The More Effective It Becomes
The most powerful visual communication is that of a type of advertising method, called the “teaser advertising”. What it actually does is to tease the viewer of the advertisement (in this case, a poster), into wanting to know more about the product, by actually showing them less… not more.
Humans are a strange bunch of beings. The more information you give them, the lazier they become. Humans tend to become bored pretty quickly, and move away to something else more interesting. This is because information is cheap. But give them an incomplete picture, and you will press all of their curiosity buttons, making them want to find out more. The more they want to find out, the harder they will work for it. And the harder they work for it, the less likely they will forget about whatever it is that you want to show them.
The Most Effective Full-Page Newspaper Ad
Full page newspaper advertisement don’t come cheap. As a result, advertising customers who buy them tend to want to maximise its use. Most choose to do it by cramming as much information as possible onto the full-page advertisement. But a really smart advertising customer would prefer to put incomplete information, just enough to tickle the curiosity of the readers, making them want to find out more. And the more they try to find out, the more they will be come hooked to it.
Double up the effect by running similar advertisements, revealing a little bit more information on every subsequent issue. Before long, you would have hooked up a long line of curious on-lookers, wanting to find out exactly what was it that you were selling.
Therefore, Less Is Indeed More
Armed with all that information, make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistake that everybody else are making. Let them cram their advertising space with all that unnecessary data, while you tackle what really counts to hook more readers to your advertisement, and your product.