Just Don’t Think Like Everybody Else
When I thumb through any major magazine, aviation publications included, I am often amused. I can’t believe how many companies spend money just to look like everyone else. My litmus test on these “Me too” ads is to cover up the logo and try to figure out who it is. A gorgeous airplane glistening in a spectacular sky is stunning, but is it distinctive? Does it communicate your company essence?
I’ve always appreciated a more disruptive approach. Whatever you are, whatever you believe, take a stand for your brand. I look for authentic, eye-catching ads that are different and move me to actually read the copy. That pull me in to find out more. Ads that make me a tad uncomfortable. Because you know what? They got me to look.
Words and Images Dancing Together
When we work on brand vision, we don’t just find a stock photo and call it good. We work hard to unite words with visuals, until they dance together. Heck, we love it when they do the tango. Seamlessly blending and supporting each other. Creating a choreography that will turn heads and make you feel. A ballet of wit and passion.
Typography – a designer’s secret weapon – can send the right message or the wrong one. Type serves as the air traffic controller directing you where you need to go, and confirming you have arrived. We choose appropriate fonts, finesse and kern. We set type boldly to accentuate a point, or keep it whisper light to communicate softness, sensitivity and elegance. Type is misunderstood by many, but when used properly can convey the emotion of a word. Call attention to a required action. Or make you fall in love with a company.
The Power of Headlines
Headlines do the heavy lifting. They express the essence of an idea in a few quick words. If a headline doesn’t grab you, you’ll never read the body copy. A headline can make or break your ad. We put our headlines through exhaustive boot camp, flexing every muscle and working every angle until they become strong and powerful and can lift that idea out of the ordinary. Headlines pull emotion – make you laugh, think, cry. And make you buy.
Dominance and Relief
Anyone who has been around me knows my philosophy on what makes a design work. It’s a simple concept, but difficult to execute because we tend to want everything plus the kitchen sink in our designs. My approach calls for dominance and relief. Give me something big and simple to establish a hierarchy. Support it with something smaller and less important. Build elements to create yin-yang relationships and bring balance to the design. So that each element allows the others to be seen and heard.
A Rare and Beautiful Thing
Great design, like an exotic bird, is rare and beautiful. When you see it, it stops you in your tracks. A lot of competent design bombards us every day. Even more loud obnoxious design pollutes our visual fields and insults our intelligence. But when brilliant design crosses your path, you know it, even if you lack the vocabulary to describe it. Take time to savor it. Apple, Starbucks, Louis Vuitton, and Target all deliver.
Color transports you to other worlds. Warm subdued hues of gold and amber fill you with feelings of a sun-baked afternoon. Blues and greens radiate a cool, clean, fresh feeling of crisp spring mountain air. The color wheel never disappoints with its choices and options to transform a design. Selection and manipulation of color is one of the most beautiful gifts in a designer’s paint box. Color is tricky, not to be used lightly, overused or abused but massaged with skill, cunning and subtle control.
Strategy Rules it All
In advertising as in business, strategy rules. Know your objectives, understand your target market, articulate your unique selling proposition. But most of all define what makes you special. Then be bold. Be different. Be unreplicable. And tell the world.