In our post last week we discussed how it’s important to make sure our designs are unobtrusive. In this post we’ll be continuing our series on Dieter Rams 10 Principles of Design with principle #6: Good Design is Honest.
Honesty is the best policy. An overused phrase in our culture, but one that will stand the test of time in the truth it has to offer. In this fast pace world that we live in, it’s difficult not to compare ourselves to our competitors in our market. However comparison can lead down the dicey path of not being real with ourselves and what we have to offer in the products that we’re selling.
In order to make it seem like we can compete with someone, we may over exaggerate what we’re capable of offering a consumer. For example, you sell cookies. You know the person who sells cookies next door have cookies that are really tasty and super popular. So in order to keep up you make a poster that you hang up all over the city that has a photo of a delicious looking cookie on it. Now the cookie on the poster isn’t actually the cookie you’ll be selling, but you know it’ll grab people’s attention and bring them to your cookie store right? Well, it may at first, but as soon as people unwrap the cookie they purchased from you and find that it doesn’t look or taste anything like the cookie on the poster they’re going to be pretty upset!
So here’s a little life lesson: we must be confident in what we’re selling and be transparent in what it is.
You may need a website for your cookies and just like the poster example we aren’t going to put images on your website of cookies that aren’t yours – no matter how good they make YOU look as the baker. When we design websites we should be designing them truthfully with transparency in the product we’re marketing.
We hear about false marketing scams all the time and we get annoyed by them, but people do it all the time in website design. They’ll put copy on websites that declare “our cookies are the best cookies in the entire world!!” You don’t know if that’s true, so it just looks gimmicky if you try to tell people that. Maybe your cookies are organic and made with fresh ingredients, those are both awesome characteristics that you should tell customers in your designs!
Focus on the positive truths and don’t hide your negatives… improve them and turn them into positives!
We can’t let our insecurities in our products cause us to make dishonest designs. Your product will satisfy the need of someone if you’re completely honest with them. Manipulating a consumer will only frustrate them in the long run and worse: they’ll stop trusting you.
So get real! Make sure the product or website your designing tells the truth about what you have to offer, people love a good authentic, truthful company!
In our next post we’ll breakdown the seventh principle of design: good design is long-lasting. Be sure to check it out!