As every good fakir knows, if you put enough points together nothing will penetrate.
In visual communications it’s also true.
Your elevator pitch. Chances are it won’t be in an elevator. It may be hours long, it may be milliseconds. It probably won’t be a pitch. It may be your branded bag, your presentation, your TV ad, your book cover, your logo, yourself. What do you want your audience to get from this communication? One understanding causing one action? Perfect.
Posters and outdoor media are probably the easiest format to work the theory on. Look around the street. How many posters get the desired message across? How many have unnecessary information that just adds visual clutter. How many should have got out the pruning shears before publishing?
Too often, particularly when designed by committee, far too many things are crammed into a communication. Do you want your audience to remember everything? If there was just one thing you’d want them to take out of it, and one action to take, what are they? Try to remove everything else - or at least put it way down the visual hierarchy.
One nail will penetrate. One point will penetrate. The more points you add, the less likelyanything will be remembered.
It’s the Six Inch Nail principle.
(First published September 2017)