“You’re just the judge, jury, and executioner of the world!” my friend teased after I pointed out yet another oddity in a passing billboard. “No, just of their designs.” Well, technically I’d said “logos” rather than “designs” but really it goes for design in general. And, while I wouldn’t exactly call myself an executioner, I certainly do wonder why some designers choose to execute their work the way they do.
Today I caught myself… er… critically reviewing the ads in a local coupon mailer. I’ll add a few others that caught my eye, too.
I am excluding the many, many ads that successfully peddle their wares via misogyny — like the one I saw of a man in a suit and a woman in lingerie saying “Strengthen your marriage!” Because the strongest marriages are made up of white-collar wage-earners and women who run around in their undies all day? Or is that the OTHER woman you’re supposed to compete with by buying more lingerie? Maybe I’ll post those sorts of ads another day, since they bother me immensely but do, in the end, convince men and women that they or the women around them just aren’t hot enough without their products. Again, that’s a topic for another day.
But just on the basis of poor communication or bizarre aesthetics, you tell me, am I too judgmental? Also, I realize the photos taken with my droid aren’t very good, and yes, I criticize that as well. But my DSLR just doesn’t fit in my purse.
The Problem: Either really unfortunate photography, or (more likely) hasty photoshopping.
The Solution: If you can’t just use one good photo of your model, splice, don’t slice. Pay attention to shadows and natural placement. Ask yourself, “Do humans look like this?” and if the answer is no, go back to your originals.
Other annoyances: Seemingly random margins on the coupon, and truly ridiculously tiny social media icons that stand just a few millimeters tall.
Problem: Cognitive overload! Are those chicken nuggets? Why are the girly nuggets naked — as evidenced by their high shoulders and super-saggy cleavage — and lazy-eyed to boot? What happened to the middle nugget girl? What is that guy looking at? Are they on the pizza? What is going on here? OH! I see the 2nd from the left coupon says “our famous Mojo Potatoes” — which must mean these are potatoes. Whew. But what have they to do with this pizza? I don’t see any potatoes on it. The coupon says “Pizza & Mojos” but the top says “The Mojo Supreme Pizza” — I don’t get it! I need a nap.
Possible explanation: Maybe these … weird looking thingies — are featured on a TV commercial or some other marketing channel. I still don’t know what they’re trying to say, though. I would recommend sitting down and deciding all of the ways you could communicate what you’re trying to say, and then eliminate all but the most vital. Then, make sure that message is conveyed in each channel so that it can have stand-alone meaning.
Problem: Well, I had this typed up but lost it. and I’m tired. I’ll revisit in the morning. Unfortunately it already published since I posted this via phone, so, bear with me.
No wonder he was able to run away from the little old woman and the little grey man! He had no heart – at least not after brutally ripping it out. Here he is offering it up, though, and winking at us in the creepiest of ways, “Heh heh — well, wont’ be needing this, want it?”
The solution: Just don’t pose the heart in his hand next to the hole in his chest. That’s what made him creepy.