My grandmother explained the idea of *less is more* to me years ago and its fascinated me ever since. When I have to produce a communication at work, I always write it in full and then grab a red pen and reduce it to just the necessary elements. There’s no point in bombarding the reader with irrelevancies is there?
Words when used with a level of subtlety are incredibly powerful. To me subtlety is a close relation – like a cousin or a niece – to beautiful. Subtle messaging challenges the brain. It makes the reader stop, think and join the dots together for themselves. Explicit messaging – spelling it out for the reader in words of one syllable or less as if they were a five year old – is simply patronising. It assumes a lack of intelligence. Allowing your reader to make the connection unaided says a lot about you, and your understanding of them.
Dieter Rams, an exceptionally cool German dude, was appointed Head of Design at Braun in the 1960s and held the position for more than 30 years. When asked about his approach to design he used the phrase “Weniger, aber besser” which translates as “Less, but better”. I like that phrase. I don’t know why, but it pleases me. As do some of his designs.
I abhor marketing of any kind that is full on, in your face, shouting every single feature, function and benefit at you in a vain attempt to cultivate a level of confidence. The smart marketeer (or writer) understands the niche that they fit into, what their point of difference is, who their target audience are and exactly what they want to say to them. Basically they aren’t trying to be all things to all people. To do that is just a waste of energy, and we’ve all got better things to do with our time.