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If It Looks Bad, It Must Be Bad


We were watching the ten o'clock news the other night, and my wife said, “This is the last time I'm going to watch the Channel Blank news.” Then she said, “It's just amateurish looking. The screen is messy. I can't take them seriously.”

I knew what she meant. The backdrop for some of the studio shots on that station is crowded. Too many different textures, patterns, and colors. Then there's the station logo in the corner, and copy crawling across the bottom of the screen. All at the same time.

She's exactly right. There are too many elements fighting for attention, and they all draw attention away from the person reading the news. Then she said, “Their news isn't very good anyway.”

Actually, there's nothing wrong with that station's news. But the art direction is bad, and, when something looks bad, the perception is that it is bad.

The late Ed Bailey was the best art director ever in Memphis. Ed said bad art direction – anywhere – is like sending out a salesman from your company with gravy on his tie. The very first message we send about ourselves, our companies, our brands, is appearance.

How can we be good if we look bad?


To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to http://askmalmo.com