One of the things that Whit George pointed out at last month’s COTM Creative meeting is that the details matter. I’ve also noticed that details are inextricably linked to nearly everything we see, touch, hear and do. Things I watch or interact with or even purchase, I do so because of the details.
I pride myself on being a man of details when it comes to design. My instructors noticed it too, although not initially. I distinctly remember having a conversation with my mentor Dennis Crouch, where he mentioned my hearing handicap and how he thought at first that I “wasn’t paying attention” and “not detail oriented”. After seeing my work though, he found “actually the opposite was true – you’re extremely detail oriented.”
While I’m not trying to toot my horn so loud I drown out the message here, I do have a recent example that proves my point. If I don’t particularly like some aspect of a project I’m working on, I may go back and change it or submit for a change to the client after it launches, just to see if I can make it better. Case in point: this image from a recent project of mine at the Tulsa World – the Reach Image. The idea here was to point out to our potential advertisers how the ‘World compared to local competition of different mediums, such as television and radio. While the initial image got the point across, I felt it did so in a haphazard manner that really stuttered it out, rather than boldly proclaiming it. Things looked kind of clumsy, or at the very least, lacking polish.
Problem was, we were under deadline, so I couldn’t take the time to really think about this the way I needed to in order to get out a great image. So I submitted what I had, they went with it and we rolled out it.
Sometimes, putting out something subpar will help you realize how to go back and fix it. Once this image was in the midst of it’s surrounding website, it was pretty clear that it stuck out – and not in a good way.
The most obvious thing to me was the original image completely clashed with the rest of the site, which was nice corporate undertones, with soft details. For some reason, I used a burnt orange and green and blue for this image and I’m not sure why. So that was the first thing I fixed – the colors. Secondly, I noticed that it seemed like none of the icons had any sort of visual relation – one was a a circle, one was square, one was rectangular. The only reason you could tell what they meant was their descriptions on the right. And then there was the descriptions themselves, each it’s own color, none giving emphasis over the other.
So in the redo, I went back and change colors as I said. I also made some detailed changes – putting each icon in a circle, adjusting the antennae on the television and moving both their respective boxes to the inside of the Tulsa World’s – all trying to drive the point home that we were awesome, and could be depended on to reach the maximum audience. While the stats themselves might have been enough to do so, how much more emphasis was it going to get now that we had a nice, detailed image to help visualize that data? The details matter – maybe more than you know.