A lot of people are using the term ”clean design” without even knowing what is the true meaning behind that expression. Well, the clean design doesn’t always mean something minimal. The clean design is something beautiful and creative, able to deliver and clearly communicate a message to a wide audience effectively.
Let’s take as an example the ”Imagine” campaign of Lego done by agency Blattner Brunner, from the USA. This picture is so simple and at the same time so absolutely beautiful, and deep that really gave me goosebumps. It took me back to my childhood and to my inner self. I have no words to describe the beautiful feeling and the mood that picture put me in.
In order to achieve that ”wow”effect a lot of designers, marketers and the occasional strong-willed clients are often driven by personal preferences rather than communication design value. Watch in this Mojo’s video below with a few examples of the worst commercials ever. Terrible right?
Have you seen this popular Super Bowl Pepsi commercial? In my opinion it is kind of annoying and after watching it I found myself wondering, what are they trying to advertise and communicate through this commercial? Yes, the advert is colorful, funny and professionally executed, some famous people are involved, but I can’t stop wondering, what was the purpose of it? Have they made me choose Pepsi instead of Coca-Cola? What was the message? Steve Carell’s acting is kind of spooky and scary, it all sounds and looks so bad and fake to me in general.
Now, just relax and enjoy the case study of this breathtaking advertisement of Netherlands Staatsloterij (States lottery). This ad delivered an amazing message that as much money you have or you wish to have, money can’t buy the love and happiness, because the love is the most valuable thing in life. This advertisement is made by TBWA\NEBOKO agency based in Amsterdam.
The Frekkel advertisement became the movement and it brought to tears the entire Dutch nation. So, guess what happened after? The sales of the States Lottery increased significantly from last December. Here you can see the original advertisement in Dutch.
Besides off all, the Frekkel advertisement also moved hundreds of Dutch to adopt the shelter dogs, donate to shelters, or even to buy a pet. Isn’t that just wonderful? So, there’s a lot more in it than just good production skills and creativity in order to achieve clean, simple and effective design than you think. First of all it is necessary to invest a lot of hours of hard work, brainstorming and a lot of love for what you do in order to get such a result. Your design needs to communicate the intent of your content in a simple way, clearly and honestly. If your viewer has the wrong idea of what your content is trying to tell them, your design simply isn’t honest enough. Nobody will trust your message no matter how many famous people you involve in it.
So, now we all know that the clean and effective design in advertisement is: simple, neutral, honest, timeless, nicely composed, sophisticated, well planned, easily understood and pretty. It is not easy to achieve all of these though. I’ll never forget an exercise of abstraction from the time I studied Graphic Design some years ago. That exercise gave me a lot of headache .
Professor gave us some realistic drawings and photos and asked us to simplify them by abstracting and removing successive levels of details from them in order to capture only the essential features, step by step. Every time I presented my next step to my professor, his answer was, you can do it better than that, try to remove more of the details please.
I believed at the time that if I remove more details the drawing would make no sense any more. But I was wrong, because the final result was simply amazing. So, if you think that simplifying is easy, believe me it is not. It takes a lot of patience and effort to achieve it, especially when it comes to adverts. Adverts should be simple, honest, eye-catching, informative but also kind of disruptive as Darre van Dijk, my idol in advertising business like to say.