All You Need Is Less
Author: Sergi Sauras
Creative Propaganda. All you need is less
Twelve brilliant tips as a manifest on returning to the origins of creative communication. Advertising agency POKO, from Barcelona, after winning a bronze Award in the prestigious Laus Design Awards 2014, whispers “ALL YOU NEED IS LESS”.
ALL YOU NEED IS LESS
1. LESS IMPACT, MORE CONTACT
Less impact. Impact is an aggressive term which refers to a primary and unidirectional way to communicate. An emotion is not measured in percentages and it does not fit in an excel format. We can talk about contact instead of impact. About feelback instead of feedback. People, instead of consumers, because people just consume part of the time. Luckily.
2. FORGET VIRAL, MAKE IT VITAL
Less viral. To talk about viral is somehow insulting, as it presupposes that designers are superior beings, who with our ingenuity can make masses repeat the meme of the moment. We must flee viral because it only serves to order massive impact at bargain prices. Trying to create a viral design is like demanding a musician a hit: reckless.
3. NO MORE CASE STUDIES
Less cases. We live in the era of the case study, the making-of, the aggrandizement. We attend a masturbatory show, where we are shown the unprecedented impact obtained in a project, how bright their creative team were and how grateful the client must be. Everything shines. At the end of the day it’s just the new hidden propaganda: advertising advertising.
4. AWARDS ARE FOR COWARDS
Less awards. Nowadays the awards are the first thing a studio shows and the only thing a client wants to see. Let’s distrust of the awards that don’t talk about the real protagonists of design: those who provide the funding and the public who enjoys it. Because it is more difficult to merit the attention of the public and get into their heart than it is to fill a cabinet. This is the real award. Everything else is superfluous.
5. THINK OUT OF THE BRIEF
Less briefing. It is easy to confuse the customer with God, and the required program with the Bible. But if you think about it, a brief is nothing but the formulation of a problem by the person who suffers the problem. It contains the symptoms, but not the diagnosis. So the first thing after reading the program should be to step away from it. To retain too much information, or try to interpret it too literally, it is to stop being the solution and start becoming part of the problem.
6. STOP STORY-TELLING, START STORY-MAKING
Less tales. Yes, we all love to be told good stories. But it is better to live them, jump the fence and transform from spectator to protagonist. In this schizophrenic world where everything expires at doses of 140 characters, there is no space for more literature. It’s time to go on the adventure. And that is the challenge: to create life experiences.
7. NOT ONLINE; NOT OFFLINE. BE ON LIFE
Less borders. We have lived almost two decades of digital communication and we keep talking about the Internet like it is a new world, something abstract, a kind of parallel reality. We already live permanently connected and people take the Internet in your pocket, it seems absurd to continue drawing lines between on and off, between the ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’.
8. AS LITTLE TECHNOLOGY AS POSSIBLE
Less technology. Yesterday was augmented reality and tomorrow will be 3D printers. Technology is not an end. And that good technology is not the one that basks in its complexity, but which remains invisible. I do not believe in the techno-creativity. A bad idea is still a bad idea, with or without 3D.
9. DESIGN BY DEFAULT
Less design. Today design has become an infinite exercise of small decisions that would have ended the mental health of all designers if it wasn’t because, inevitably, trends are followed by the majority. And that is not interesting. Let’s believe in a less superficial, less pretentious design; and a more functional and spartan. Because when the focus is placed in the frame, the message is blurred. And more than pretty images, reality today asks for relevant messages.
10. CHANGE ATTENTION FOR ATTRACTION
Less noise. Attention is scarce and limited, so everyone competes for it. But attention is not enough to communicate. Attention can be bought, and that gives designers freedom to annoy people, but that is no longer invisible. The atmosphere is deafening, and to shout only increases the noise. It’s time to stop asking for attention and start generating attraction. Stop chasing the mass to attract the individual. Stop screaming and whisper in their ears.
11. THE MESSAGE IS THE MESSAGE
Less formats. Not to go against McLuhan, but we are confident that today he would be on our side. Because the medium is not the message. Not anymore. Because today ideas are the king, and to them we yield. We believe in free creativity, not tied to formats or structures. Working with a liquid team orbiting around the idea and adapting it to what the idea calls. We believe that structures should adapt to the projects and never the opposite.
12. BEST ADVERTISING IS NOT ADVERTISING
Less advertising. Guerrilla, ambush, ambient, extreme, … Advertising is full of tags to label everything that escapes from the conventional. But where we feel more comfortable in the unusual, the unclassifiable. Because only in the unusual we find the unique and in the unique the memorable. We would like to avoid the word advertising, but we don’t even have an alternative that convinces us. Maybe we’ll find it someday. Meanwhile we say we do advertising that doesn’t look like advertising.
All you need is less / Poko / Solo Agency /Art Director – Óscar Germade / Graphic Designer- Sara Arias, Óscar Germade / Copy – Joan Alvares /