Can something be too beautiful?
I ask this everyday when I look at myself in the mirror, of course. But in all seriousness, here at Proof, we’re continuously faced with the balance of style and substance.
Let’s face it, we are, of course, drawn to pretty things. Recently a new client listed “Apple” as their primary reference of “good design”. This isn’t surprising and in today’s world they’re the front-runner for clean and beautiful design and UX.
But being beautiful can also backfire. Something that’s too shiny and pretty and new is often less approachable, less “real”, and may not at all resonate with your target audience of customers and consumers. Dave, our Lead Developer, for example – recently bought a new PC – not a Mac – because of what it can do and what it makes possible. He wasn’t distracted by the fancy retina displays, cool apps, bells, and whistles.
He is a stronger man than yours truly. I love my Mac.
In a world where we are inundated with beauty, style still takes a backseat to substance. The most beautiful design meets a need, fulfills a desire, and tells a good story.
Most of us don’t have Apple’s marketing budget (over $1.5 billion this year). Most of you reading this aren’t designers and may not be in a position to hire a group like us.
And that may be just fine.
We are, as buyers, collectively over the bullshit. We want to be sold to but hate being “sold to”. We want our experiences to feel authentic. We desire to latch on to compelling, creative stories. We’re becoming increasingly aware of inauthentic messaging and while design still matters, all the fancy graphics, bold headlines, and loud calls to action are empty without purpose and substance.
What we strive to help our clients unlock and portray is what makes them truly authentic. Those “personality” quirks, blemishes, and subtleties that make you, you.
While we consider ourselves savvy in the ways of the branding force, the best thing we can do in leading our clients is making sure that the final product is not one that reflects our personal opinions and industry trends, but one that’s defined by the people behind the product.
Hitting your buyers, supporters, fans, and followers with a compelling, authentic story, supported by quality, relevant design empowers them to feel understood, safe, and comfortable.
That’s when “no’s” turn into “hell yes’s”. Cautious turns into confident. And bullshit turns into something beautiful.