Design in The Details

It’s the detail that sets apart
the good from the great.

I’m not necessarily talking about the 4 point type on a postage stamp or those remarkable people who can paint a landscape inside a bottle top.

I refer to those who cover all the bases.  They go the extra mile.  They become their effort, feel their market, experience the functionality and think their way through the problem, blossoming into a solution.

When a client arrives at our door, they expose problems like exposed nerves, tell tales of situations out of alignment, and seek a response which calms their panic and soothes the savage breast.  They want to know that you can deliver a solution, how much and when by.

Fortunately, we have considerable experience in that initial simplification; cutting through the yarns and scenarios to quickly find the root of the problem, to get us at least half way to the solution.

At the shaking of hands and agreements, it then all becomes our turn; beating out the cobwebs, finding the shortest distance between two points and once the options begin, so the often complex mapping of details follows suit.

It has been our trademark for over 20 years.  Our business is going extra miles, if necessary, to satisfy ourselves that our client and the work which is our charge, not only looks great, but performs above and beyond everyone’s expectations.

It is the Capo di tutti capi of messages; stay ahead of whatever you want, by attention to detail.  It gives you space to maneuver and to innovate, confound and pounce on a market, or that irritating competitor, uplift your image and change even hard bitten market perceptions.  The hotel industry does it every day; the chocolate on the pillow and the fan folded serviette; the packaging industry’s constant renewal, hand in hand with emergent technology, to change the same old to the fresh and surprising.

For me, detail has been the single element of every piece of work which keeps me coming back, driving me forward as a designer and, after over thirty years in the fickle business of design, still with a fresh eye for our clients.

6a00d83451b74a69e20133f563527d970b-piThis all brings me to The Single Minded Proposition, sometimes known as the USP, or Unique Selling Point, a term crafted in the 60s by Rosser Reeves, a pioneer of TV advertising at The Ted Bates Agency.

Reeves stated that:

1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”

2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique-either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.

3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

Reeves was an ad man, but the SMP Is the heart of any creative brief and without the discovery and establishment of this detail, any designer will start to guess at a solution, rather than find the best one and often fall woefully short.  The SMP cuts through the doubt and confusion and builds a foundation for a great communication, without the seemingly current need for promoters to wander into procrastination and lose the thread of what they are selling, in Photoshop and After Effects filters and techniques.

These curious days, marketeers may befuddle clients to believe that bigger picture sales and marketing wins mass approval, but from  considerable experience I would say that a concise promotion, where all the bases are covered and the SMP is front and centre, with an abundance of attention to detail is the best and only play.

If content is king, then fine detail is the element that sets that content apart, and, as designers have quickly become the craftsmen of content, then sharp still trumps blurred.  If as an old tutor used to say to me “intension is no substitute for achievement”, then the design industry will only recharge its batteries for a new and diverse future, by providing clients with new views and perspectives, filled with an over abundance of fine detail.