The Gill Rule
Bob Gill is an 88 year old graphic designer who’s had the kind of career most of us can only dream about. In short, you want your work to endure as long as Bob has… and yes, he’s the guy behind the typeface. Show some respect.
That said, Bob authored a book back in the 80’s that changed my life. I was called “Forget something or other…“. I don’t remember. Sue me.
What I do remember is that the book did two things… it actually showed me HOW he thought about design solutions that he faced and I could follow his execution. AND, he had a knack for simplifying the design process with a few clever rules, that, for the most part, hold up exceedingly well.
BORING IMAGES NEED EXCITING WORDS.
BORING WORDS NEED EXCITING IMAGES.
It’s pretty self-explanitory. If you or your copywriter has written something truly brilliant, don’t let the pictures get in the way of these great and compelling words.
That’s not to say you should dumb anything down. Just follow that rule. Make sure whatever imagery you think needs to be there, take second place to the words that are driving the “sale”.
Conversely, if you have an image that blows your audience away, why would you muck it up with a bunch of copy that dilutes what they just saw. This simple balancing act has provided my work with a whole lot of sanity and smarts when our natural tendency is to vomit on everyone. Don’t let your client do it. Don’t you do it.
Here are some great examples of each: