Thanks to Marie Kondo, people across the world have been asking themselves, "Does this spark joy?" And if the answer is no, the item goes out the door. She has taught us to tidy up not just our homes, but our lives.
So what does this have to do with marketing? We can learn a lot from this philosophy of simplicity. Marketing designers often reference KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid. It's a little more brash than Marie Kondo's advice but expresses the same important idea: that many times, less is more.
What is Minimalism in Marketing?
Minimalism is, of course, less. But it means much more than that when it comes to marketing. It's about using simple, clean designs and copy that immediately gets to the point – creating something that truly embodies the brand.
This is easier said than done. It's human nature to always want to add more. We fear leaving something out and missing a potential opportunity because we didn't name every single thing. But if we follow Marie Kondo's advice, and ask ourselves if each part is truly necessary (it sparks joy or serves a specific purpose) then we will be able to boil it down.
From their products to their branding, Apple is a perfect example of successful simplicity. Their aesthetic of hidden navigation, exaggeration of negative space, and minimal color palettes create a memorable, bold brand that stands out from the rest.
How Do I Simplify My Marketing?
There are many things to consider when simplifying your marketing.
From color schemes to typography to imagery, there's a lot that goes into any marketing design. Keep in mind that the more visually complex a design is, the more work the eye has to do to send information to the brain. When it comes to colors, it's best to choose one palette and stick to two to four colors. This way, your colors will be cohesive and striking instead of overpowering your design. You'll also want to limit the number of elements – such as photos, icons, copy, and logos – to give the design some space to breathe. Be very intentional when you're choosing design elements. When it comes to typefaces, it's best to limit the number of different fonts you use in one piece.
There's a fine balance to be struck when it comes to messaging. You want to be compelling, tell a story, create intrigue, and motivate people to take action. But at the same time, you want to be clear and to the point. And there's a way to do all of this, but it involves being extremely deliberate about every word you use. And sometimes super straightforward messaging is all it takes to see high click and engagement rates. When crafting your message, make sure your copy is easy to understand, memorable, and consistent with your brand.
Online advertising is extremely crowded these days. You literally have milliseconds to make an impression and grab someone's attention who is trying to avoid banner ads at all costs. Because of this, many are finding that basic, straightforward ads can be more successful than those that are more visually complex and clever. Splashy ads can easily overload consumers, causing them to look away or X-out as quickly as possible. So instead of putting the kitchen sink into your banner ads, make sure they get your message across as clearly and succinctly as possible.
You may be tempted to fill up a full-page ad with a ton of imagery and copy because, well, you have more room than on a banner ad. But more often than not, it's smart to resist this urge. All the above rules about minimalistic design and copy apply to print advertising as well.
There's a lot that goes into simplifying a website. But there are a few key things you can do to get started. First, make sure you're only featuring the most essential elements of your company and website. While sometimes everything can feel important, you need to step back and strip it down to help achieve the things that matter most – such as a customer viewing your products or reading about what makes your company special.
Next, focus on the 80-20 rule, which is the idea that 20% of your content will bring you 80% of the results. So if your goal is to increase sales, you want to remove any elements that might distract from people making a purchase. Finally, make sure the important stuff is above the "fold" (what shows up on the screen without scrolling down). Most people spend the majority of their time at the top of a page, so don't bury your most important content where it will seldom be seen.
How Do I Get Started?
It may seem overwhelming to try and simplify all of your marketing assets. So before you open Photoshop or start slashing words in your ads, sit down and ask yourself a few questions:
- What are the main goals of this marketing piece?
- What elements are distracting from those goals?
- How do I want my company to be perceived?
- Does this embody my brand?