Great design doesn’t

need instructions!


We believe when it comes to great design, first and foremost it needs to work and after that it should be simple, logical, accessible and memorable. As soon as you add anything complicated, or ask the user/audience to do something like reading instructions perhaps, the beauty of 'less is more' is completely lost.

From logos to brochures and websites to exhibition graphics, all your marketing should be consistent and represent your organisation with clear and straightforward messaging. But what about a tap – yes you heard me correctly. What about that wonderful device which controls the flow and often the temperature of water being delivered to us? Well, a recent visit to a swanky hotel, proved that even in that heady world of tap design the KISS acronym (Keep It Simple Stupid) should always be followed.

A recent visit to a swanky hotel, proved that even in that heady world of tap design the KISS acronym (Keep It Simple Stupid) should always be followed…

Don’t meddle with perfection

A tap is a good example of design principles generally and one where we are all familiar with the concept. For a start there are sometimes two, hot and cold, which have a function for turning on and off and which also controls the amount of water. And if there is just one, for example a mixer tap, you can work out quite easily through trial and error the way to balance the hot and cold amounts and the flow, so you get the temperature and speed that you want. So why meddle with perfection?

Fast forward to our weekend away in a very funky hotel. We were excited to be there and looking forward to a few days of luxurious hotel living. But that fizzy moment quickly turned to confusion when we entered the bathroom. In front of us was a tap. It looked great, modern and shiny and completely in keeping with the rest of the room, but there was obviously a problem.

Special, but not in a good way!

This tap was special. It was not to be operated by mere amateurs. It needed extra time and effort to use it correctly. We knew this to be true because there was a series of laminated “how to” homemade signs stuck to the mirror. Ok so in the end we followed the instructions and the tap worked. But that’s not really the issue.

The point of the story is that the tap was in effect a design fail that needed explaining to reap the rewards. The hotel’s way of dealing with that was a to stick something horrid and cheap looking to help you through this information wasteland of their own creation.

Design must work

At Pixooma, we know that when it comes to graphic design you shouldn’t do anything that is counter intuitive, or likely to confuse. People expect promotional content to flow in a certain way and artwork to be styled so it is familiar.

A simple, elegant design that works, is always better than one which at first glance is ‘flashy’ or impressive, but ultimately fails because people don’t understand it. And then inserting extra stuff, that doesn’t contribute anything useful or doesn’t add anything visually to support the brand look, is as bad as changing the way a tap works just for the fun of it and finding no one can use it!

Don’t reinvent the wheel

So next time someone suggests that you really should think about reinventing the wheel when it comes to your brand marketing, so your business can be fresh, new or different, you might want to push back. Remember a wheel works fine for a reason and by adding gimmicks and innovations nobody wanted or asked for, you risk either turning off your target audience, or worse still, alienating them completely.

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