Enough is enough

When I design materials for clients I invariably end up rewriting the wording they’ve given me. People can at times lose the meaning of what they’re wanting to say by dressing it up in redundant and superfluous verbiage (AKA pointless waffle). Any design I produce will suffer if the supporting written content is poor, so I see it as my duty, a little bit of added value if you like.

There can be a temptation to make things seem more than they really are or even need to be, by over-explaining. I think this is something we’ve subtly taken on from advertising where brands and products differentiate themselves and offer unique selling points to try and stand out in a crowded market.

With the work I do, this is rarely necessary. In health, education and materials for the third sector, less is almost always more. People don’t need to have simple issues complicated with flowery language and there’s no need to use 50 words when 10 can say the same thing more directly and honestly.

There is an art to this and it’s a skill I’ve developed over a long period from having to distil complicated content into something understandable. Graphic design is about solving visual problems, conveying a certain message though colour, form, format and tone etc. It is also about the words and I’m as fussy about these as I am about perfecting a Pantone selection.

It drives me mad when I see pointless package prattling! It actually puts me off buying an item. I don’t need it and I’m not sure who does. Incidentally, I have been to New Zealand’s south island, experienced its glaciers and verdant vistas and they smelled nothing like Febreze fabric refresher.

  • Blog
  • July 16, 2014
  • Arthur Schenck

    Yes, I agree with you. And when I’m doing a layout, I also cut out other people’s unnecessary words (much easier than cutting my own, of course…).

    As an aside, I can’t begin to list the number of people who have sent me photos of that Fabreze, but it was only today I noticed the spelling error: South Island is actually its formal English language name, not a mere descriptor, so it should have been capitalised.

Leave Your Comment Here