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Simple is the new black

Nothing cuts through like a simple beautiful idea. We all love it when we see it, with a tinge of jealousy that we didn’t think of it first perhaps…

And when I say we love it, I also mean this is how you achieve results, by creating that old cliché: a smile in the mind. Simple is a cleverly crafted piece of design that just works. It says what you want with clarity and conviction. It is not cluttered with add-on messages. As technology delivers service and function, Simple will score the extra points you need to cut a path to a stronger brand. To retain market share and to go for growth, Simple can be your secret sauce.

After a period of time where marketing has focused on technical advancements and possibilities, now is the time to get back to Simple and let pure creativity back into the room. Here are five things to think about to ensure that the brilliant simple idea created early on comes out alive and well at the end of the project.

1. At the start, ask the right questions – the most important one being Why? Why should people care about your brand? Why is it important? If it does not instantly feel relevant, your audience will probably just ignore you. When reviewing work, be critical and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo if your gut tells you to.

2. Prioritise – this can be tricky as you need to be brave and work out what the most important thing is that you want to say. Say this and nothing else.

3. Get the team size right (ie. small) – we all know what happens when too many chefs are in the kitchen. If there are many stakeholders attached to a project, make sure only a select number of individuals are entrusted with the job of reviewing and approving. Trying to please everyone will only lead to the land of clutter.

4. Hunt the magic – Simple needs a spark so you have to engage in some lateral thinking and take the time to explore some new ideas and styles. It is unlikely that Simple will come straight out of your brand guides, but it might. Either way, the idea and execution are what matters most so trust your instincts.

5. Deliver with conviction – make sure the channels are carefully chosen to suit your Simple idea. If you don’t have a big budget, do fewer things and do them well. Quality is devastatingly important to Simple so you can’t afford to cut corners.

It is especially brands that trade on value rather than price who stand to gain the most from keeping it Simple. In one way, it could be described as being astute and, rather than shouting at or annoying people, drawing them in to connect with you by being classy and confident. Brand loyalty will come to those who interact intelligently with their target audience and create a bit of magic, delivered through a Simple effortless-looking design. It will also ensure you are consistent in your communication as a Simple solution is easy to apply to a broad range of scenarios and more difficult to dilute with additional visual noise.

I firmly believe that a Simple, clean and clear piece of design is more likely to be liked/shared and in an increasingly fragmented digital space, remembered. A visual that sticks in your mind and perhaps surprises you, may just seem incredibly refreshing!

Alex Haddon, Managing Director, IC Design

Tel: 020 3750 0250

Email: info@icdesign.co.uk

Web: icdesign.co.uk

Twitter: @ICDesignLondon

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