When it comes to the overall theories of effective marketing design, there are essentially two main schools of thought that you’re dealing with. One tells you to make sure that any piece of collateral you create has EVERYTHING your customer needs to know who you are, what you do, and why you matter and the other says that you should essentially go in completely the opposite direction.
Minimalist marketing design has become quite popular in recent years, and with good reason – it’s a great antidote to the information overload that we all experience every waking moment of the day. It IS, however, something that is possible to “get wrong.” Especially if you don’t keep a few important things in mind.
Minimalism Doesn’t Just Mean “Fewer Words on a Page”
One of the most important things to understand about minimalist marketing design is that you’re ultimately talking about more than just something that is “sparse” or “unembellished.” Minimalist marketing collateral isn’t effective JUST because it’s basic – it’s effective because you’re leveraging the power of “less is more” to your advantage.
To get a perfect example of this idea in action, look no farther than some of the marketing collateral that Apple has put out over the years. They’re notorious for their hugely effective minimal campaigns featuring almost no words at all, stark white backgrounds, and similar elements that some people might call “plain.” But this is very much one of those cases where the beauty is literally in the simplicity.
An Opportunity to Learn From the Best
Apple’s marketing materials work because they put the product front and center – and absolutely nothing will stand in the way of that. When you look at an ad for the original iPhone, keep in mind that you’re talking about one of the most sophisticated devices ever invented. It’s literally a personal computer that you can carry around with you in your pocket that is more powerful than the technology that NASA used to send men into space in the 1960s. If anything warrants ads filled with thousands of words touting all the groundbreaking features and innovative elements, it’s that one.
But no. Apple’s ads featured simple backgrounds, minimal ad copy and images that SHOWED you how cool the phone was and why you had to have one. They didn’t rely on reams of technical specifications or use cases. They let the iPhone do the talking – and talk it did, upending a variety of different industries in the process.
It doesn’t matter that you’re probably not selling the next iPhone (don’t feel bad – not many people get the opportunity to do that). If you truly want to master the art of minimalist design, you need to understand that it’s exactly that – an art. Therefore, you’ll need to think about every part of your campaign a bit differently than you probably do right now.
Bringing Minimalism Into Your Own Backyard
Take influencer marketing, for example. When you use a service like Respona to find thought influencers who your audience is paying attention to, consider shooting pictures to use in future ads that show them using and enjoying your products. You could absolutely partner with them on a blog post or video interview, too – but for minimalist materials, let the images tell the story better than words alone ever could.
The same is true for the visual materials that you’re creating, too. Just because you use a timeline creator to visualize data doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re leveraging minimalist best practices by default. You still need to cut everything down to the bare essentials – leaving only those few core ideas that people NEED to keep them WANTING more.
These principles can even help you with inward-facing material, as well. When you sit down with a decision tree maker like Visme to prepare something for your next big “all hands on deck” meeting, keep things as simple and as straightforward as possible. Not only will you end up with a document that people have a much easier time following, but it’ll also help prevent people from getting distracted so that they can focus on what really matters.
The Response is All that Matters
Keep in mind that none of this is to say that ALL of your marketing collateral should focus on minimalism. Absolutely everything has its place and time. Some ads or flyers or presentations will require a more detail-oriented approach. But for those situations where you really do want to hit people fast and hard with a few big ideas in an effective way, following minimalist design practices like these is a great way to get started.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.