Pretty Design is timely.
Beautiful Design is timeless.
Pretty Design is artifice.
Beautiful Design is truth.
Pretty Design is experienced visually.
Beautiful Design is experienced emotionally.
And now is the time during the blog post where you all know I’m going to rant about how no one should ever stoop so low as to design anything pretty.
But I won’t.
Because I will finally acknowledge that there’s some real value in pretty.
Sure, beautiful design is what my firm struggles to deliver, and what I know helps to build and support long-term brand equity, but it fails in a critical area that many of our clients are concerned with. Truly beautiful design – design that connects and represents the unique motivation of leadership with the performance of the product – encourages long-term relationships with a brand. But what if that’s not the goal?
What if you just want to move product quickly and you don’t care about long-term equity?
Pretty design is exceptionally good at attracting the impulse buy. It’s trendy and eye-catching. It tends to “feel right” to the prospective buyer because it’s often based on best-practices and common themes that are known to get attention. It’s more about attempting to be what the buyer wants or expects and less about being genuine.
Pretty design is by no means easy. It takes serious study and a commitment to learning and applying often complex techniques.
I’ve often said that “Stokefire doesn’t do pretty.” But that’s not really true. As an agency focused initially on the long-term strategy and success of our clients, the core of our branding work must first be established as beautiful. It’s not until we can understand and communicate the beauty of the brand that we can look to the pretty stuff that may help the audience notice the beauty.
We may do pretty, we just don’t do it first. Because it tends to backfire.
To trot out an overly simplistic chauvinistic reference, a beautiful woman is still beautiful without makeup, but pretty comes off with a wash-cloth.
Done right, pretty makeup should be used to accentuate and call attention to the true beauty that already exists underneath and not to set up unrealistic expectations that will destroy the memory of the whole experience when people learn the truth.
Clients love pretty design because it can move the needle on sales, but without putting in the effort to discover and communicate the beauty the pretty design limits the number of purchasing events to one per customer.