Then there’s this ad for the last episode of Friends, airing on a Friday. Possibly my favourite ad of all time. Not just brilliant in its simplicity, but also in the clarity of its message – the brief is to communicate that Friends ends on Friday, and that’s exactly what it does.
So what of the text-only approach to advertising on Grafik?
I think it’s great, not just because it’s different, but because it makes sense.
One of the most repeated mistruths of recent times is that ‘people don’t read any more’. We live in a hyper-visual culture and at best we’ll manage to read a quick tweet before losing attention.
In reality, we are reading more than ever before. We don’t just read one tweet a day, but thousands, scrolling with our thumbs and absorbing with our brains at an almost supernatural rate. The internet is made of words – they are what we type into the browser bar and form the paths that Google uses to find its way around. Arguably more important than a great logo these days is a great name. Hit upon a ‘Twitter’ or a ‘Vine’ and you have a metaphor that sets up a whole brand.
As literacy levels rise and technology spreads, words gain more power. We read our newspapers online. We email more than we speak. We read blogs and download podcasts. We share articles, quotations and jokes. We mark things ‘as read’.
We go to graphic design sites to read too – because we’re not just interested in visual culture in the sense of wanting to stare at it mutely. We want to talk about it, analyse it, figure out what’s good and bad, read about the people, processes and thinking behind it. It’s the main reason why people come to sites like Grafik. We may read some articles in detail or skim-read others, but it’s all reading.
So if we’ve come here to read something interesting, the best form of advertising is giving people something interesting to read. Adding to the experience, rather than building a complex architecture of banners, skyscrapers and pop-up windows in a counterproductive attempt to distract people.