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Minimalism - Curse or Blessing?

Colours and patterns play a critical role in creating impressions. The human mind finds better comprehension within imagery than words and sounds. Hence, brands focus on capturing this space in the consumer's mind. They wish to create a lasting impression to have a better recall value.

Now we have several technical aspects to advertising and different campaigns for different objectives. There are several brands in the market; however, are they creating lasting impressions?

Today, we are observing a surge of minimalism in lifestyle and advertising. The wave comes from the Japanese idea of Zen living; however, when you limit the colour, pattern and design, how will your audience remember the idea?

What is Minimalism?

Decluttering is an art, and knowing where to focus helps the audience concentrate their attention at a point. Take this advertisement by McDonald's for example,

While the first one cleverly showcases their fan-favourite fries against the classic red background to give a nod to the logo, the message of having wifi at the fast food joint is crystal clear.

Another example would be Coca Cola's advertisement showcasing the silhouette of their bottle with the help of a fork and a knife. While negative space is used for balance, here the negative space itself communicates the ideas.

(Source: MBA Skool)

Minimalism when paired with excellent ideas gets the point across in the most effective manner.

Where the problem arises?

While we saw two successful ads with minimalism, not every brand can do that. Why? Not every brand has the same recognition. While similar ideas can be incorporated, not every brand has a recall value connected to its colours and not every brand packaging has the same recognition.

Advertisers need to be mindful when working on such minimalist ideas.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do we have enough elements to communicate our brand?

  • Do we have the details to communicate a particular message?

  • Will our audience understand our idea? Is it simple enough to interpret?

  • Does this follow the brand identity?

Why does it matter?

Consider a brand like Amul, known for its fun take on current affairs and its quirky, colourful advertisements. Will the audience understand if they come up with a yellow advertisement, with blue letters or just a blob of butter without their mascot? No! Because that's not who Amul is as a brand. They engage the audience with imagery and that imagery has recognition.

What to do?

Simple! Understand your brand and how it will communicate ideas. Personify your brand, decode its archetype and decide the communication.

Here’s your Trotter Tale of a minimalistic campaign!

Remember, while minimalism comes from Japan the country has its roots in Maximalism. There, you will find Marie Kondo and Yoyoi Kusama striking the balance with both ends of the spectrum. Hence, you must decide where you land on the line and accordingly choose the nature of communication.


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