Dieter Rams is the pioneering industrial designer who led the design team at consumer products company, Braun, where he worked from the 1960s through the 1990s. In the wonderful documentary Rams, he shares a fascinating insight into his approach to product design.
“We were trying to eliminate the need for user manuals. We wanted to make it so that the machine could be used without one. Which means the reduction of everything to the bare essentials and removal of anything that could be a distraction.”
This applies to your brand as well. If a brand is the unique position you hold in the minds of your customers, prospects and employees, it needs to be simplified and pared down until only what is essential and obvious remains. Everything else is a distraction.
In fact, let’s go one step further. Anything more than the most simple, clear brand message actually waters down and undermines your position, making it less unique and more interchangeable with your competitors’. That’s the opposite of branding.
The same is true of your website. Think of Rams’ call for “the reduction of everything to the bare essentials and removal of anything that could be a distraction.” If you followed that principle, would your site become more user-friendly? Clearer? More effective? Yes.
In a world where a lot of content is created simply for the sake of having more content, it makes sense to strip away everything that isn’t necessary to help people find you and the solutions you provide. Because if it isn’t needed, it’s getting in the way.
The same is true of presentations and slide decks, collateral and emails. How can you get to the point faster and make it more clearly?
Rams closes out his Ten Principles of Good Design with this: “Good design is the least design possible.” Less is more as long as what’s left is the essence of who you are and how you can help.
Try this today. What’s the least number of words you can use to state the unique way you help people or companies? It’s a great team exercise — or a great competition. Take it for a spin and see what you get. (Hint: it will probably be a stronger brand statement.)