“The idea is getting lost.” “How about a bigger logo?” “I can’t shorten the headline.” These are the often repeated lines in an advertising agency. For an art director, the challenge is to meet all such expectations in a single design. Senior Creative Director Denzil Machado explains how keeping designs minimalist and simple can meet all of these to satisfy both creativity and the brand objective.
Leave it to the Audience
Advertising is different from other design areas like graphic designing and illustration. That’s because it’s an integrated communication that involves a union of the idea, visual and words. The idea, no doubt, plays the most important role. And then the art form must compliment it, which is where the challenge lies. The best way is to let the audience decode an idea, helped by a design. That’s when an artwork is able to achieve the objective for the brand, the client and the agency.
Make Your Visuals Talk
The objective is to do more with less. It’s a great challenge to try and solve a problem visually, without saying much. Especially when you have to say it all, integrating the product, idea, logo, copy, etc., all in one communication. Unlike a film which has the support of a narrative or dialogue, along with music and moving images, visual communication in advertising has to be made powerful on its own. Making intelligent use of colours, motifs and patterns help in doing so keeping it simple and minimalistic is the key. As a great mind once put it, “Simple is beautiful, but it is also most difficult to do something simple.” This is definitely tough, yet the most exciting part of the business.
Protect the Child Inside You
Usually, during the initial phase of an advertising career, people prefer to be spontaneous. At that raw time, they are primarily driven by instinct. And they just use elements because ‘they felt like it.’ However, after one reaches a certain stage and the game is played on a bigger level, it’s important to get a lot more calculative. It becomes necessary to carefully think through ideas again and maybe once again. It becomes important to ask ‘why am I using this font and not that? Why this colour and texture?’ You need to justify and reason out with everything you use. But the source remains instinct. The trick is to keep the child in you alive.
Find out the “Aha” Moment
Well, there is no one way to go about design in advertising. Every brief, every page is something different. The variations in the nature of the ideas, clients, brands and target audience enable an art director to experiment with a myriad style of visual expressions. Ranging from traditional Indian to contemporary, the page is all yours. However, the objective is always the same – to make decoding the visual communication an interesting experience for the target audience. Right when your audience connects to your communication and exclaims “aha”, your design meets success.
Stop Aping the West
It’s common to spot an art director flipping through the archive or referring to books like One Show, DnAD, etc, for that little push when one is stuck. No doubt, international advertising is inspiring and is doing rather well on the global level, but there is a lot of untapped potential in India, especially when it comes to design. Look locally. Look around. Extract from our incredibly rich and diverse art and culture. There are so many simple yet striking elements that can say so much on their own. There is a high possibility that designs, created using traditional inputs, might not even have crossed the mind of any artist sitting in an agency anywhere in the world. And that’s what makes it unique, utterly Indian.