Useful is More Important Than Pretty

by Matt Mattson

There is NOTHING WRONG WITH PRETTY. Let’s start there. I believe in the power of aesthetics to inspire, seduce, and allure the human mind into feeling connected with an idea.

But I care about results. If pretty gets results, do pretty. If ugly gets results, I’d rather have results.

To be clear, I’m talking about marketing here. Design to be precise. Our head designer (Brendan) is a genius. I’m amazed by his abilities to design. But I heard him remark the other day, “I’m proud of this piece, but I wonder if it’s working.” In other words, “It’s pretty, but does that matter?” He’s a genius, I told you.

I saw a rush T-shirt design recently that was like a mashup of “things frat guys seem to like.” Like all of them in one design. There were stars, a dog, Bean boots, a bowtie… I think there was a cigar and a slip and slide too. I don’t remember exactly. It was ridiculous. And I started to wonder, “Who is that shirt for?” Is it for guys looking for “frat stuff all in one place kind of like WalMart has everything in one place?” I don’t know. It didn’t seem to exude any real purpose. It was just “cool stuff mashed together.” I see this in sorority land too. “If we put chevrons/flowers/whatever’s-hot-on-pinterest in the background, it’ll be perfect.” Forget the fact that it’s stuffed with way too many words, most of which are irrelevant, and it does more to confuse than help — but it’s pretty.

All I’m trying to say is this. Pretty is good. But useful AND pretty is what you should be shooting for. In that order. Let us help you strategically design your marketing initiatives to be USEFUL, beautiful, and results-producing.