Know your audience, then build rapport and connection through company and product brands that feel relevant, alive, evolving.
Pixel relish can help:
Catch the eyes and ears of target audiences, only don't stop there: Guide through useful layers of information in ways that stimulate interest, comprehension, and engagement (not to mention evolve and advance your brand).
Pixel relish can help:
"Keep it simple."
A tried and true communications mantra. Only…
… how, if everyone practices simplicity, do you help your message stand out — not to mention be remembered (and be remembered as yours, not a competitor's)…
… and how, while accomplishing those fundamentals, do you also heighten interest and appeal, boost comprehension, further your brand, and create an emotional connection that builds trust, rapport and community between you and your audience, all without abandoning simplicity?
My great aunt dropped by to give me the most option-rich cheese grater I've ever seen: It had six (versus the standard one, two, or three) graduated hole sizes, each on its own panel. "For your famous Caesar salads," she said.
While rather handsome for a kitchen utensil — its hexagonal shape almost sculpture-esque, in the right light, and weighted, ergonomic handle admittedly inviting — I wondered where in my highly storage-challenged kitchen I would keep such an extravagance. I already had a flat, one-size-grates-all version, after all, and how big a difference, really, could grate size make? Loving my aunt, though, I graciously accepted her gift, and that night, sure enough, I found room for it inside a stack of mixing bowls sitting at the back of a lower cupboard.
When salad duty season (aka, the holidays) rolled around, I pulled out the shiny grater and started experimenting: I'd bought two ages of Parmesan (the more aged, the sharper the flavor); I grated ultra fine, medium strand, and thick strand piles of each, prepared six wooden bowls by rubbing with garlic, then divvied up the washed, torn romaine amongst them, sprinkling one style of cheese, homemade croutons, and freshly ground pepper into each, then tossing with my secret dressing. Much to my surprise, I tasted a clear difference per cheese per grate style.
Overall, the aged, sharper the cheese (my preference) worked best either fine-grate style, which lacked presentational interest (I am a graphic designer, after all, and concerned about such things), or in medium strands but then used only sparingly, my family having somewhat conservative palettes. The medium age Parmesan, on the other hand, lost its distinct flavor at the fine-grate level, making the salad too run of the mill, however it revived interest at both medium and long strand sizes, and at long strand created a visual canvas for the freshly ground pepper to better contribute on both taste and presentational fronts. Final winner: The medium age cheese at the large grate size — larger than my simple utensil had afforded.
The power of simplicity lies not so much in actual simplicity as in the impression of it — of it plus a sense, a whisper, of more.
Rich simplicity talks to multiple levels of cognition rather than to merely our logic-focused core brain. Rich simplicity feels light, engaging, whereas logic-intense messages tend to feel heavy, often overwhelming — and attempts to lighten that feeling by omitting useful, rapport-building information rather than shifting its absorption to another area of cognition starves audiences of sufficient momentum to trust and engage.
Developing a simple yet usefully rich message involves extensive analysis and consideration of both audience and message. It involves mastering relevant tools to recognize fresh, useful ways to employ them (ways that pass my rhyme and, not or, reason test). Rich simplicity is as limitless as the skills and creativity of the individuals and collective team creating it.
Yes, achieving such harmony of inputs can prove daunting. Not to worry: My rich simplicity blog will help.
My rich simplicity blog emanates from my nearly 30 years as a professional content writer and editor, graphic designer (print and html), and html coder. Its tenets apply to most forms of communication.
The blog will explore theory, sure, but more so offer hands-on tips and examples to stimulate ideas and discussions that help content professionals, business leaders, even teachers, better assess and present information to audiences' and their own mutual benefit. My colleagues and I invite you to join in the fun: Subscribe below at right.
As with the salad ingredients, we can use each component of a message to flavor perception and influence reaction: Each component, considered individually, OK, but more so in conjunction with other relevant components, is an opportunity to say something useful — ideally, on multiple cognitive levels.
Message components (aka, opportunities) vary with medium but generally include, at minimum…
All projects, concept through implementation, by Sheila Dent, dba Pixel Relish, unless noted as otherwise. More samples plus related software proficiencies on my Behance page.
Pixel Relish blends a mind for analysis and relevant detail with an ear for diction useful beyond top-level meaning with an eye for visuals that similarly convey a useful sense as much as useful specifics with a heart passionate about successful communication and subtleties capable of triggering multiple cognitive levels to boost comprehension and engagement.
Pixel Relish has a light, non-overbearing flavor, even when the subject is serious. Its appeal to multiple levels of cognition helps information sink in usefully rather than run off the mind's logical core like rain water oh, so wastefully down a storm drain (here in California, we lament every lost drop).
My colleagues and I delight in helping people, both end-users and our clients who serve them, by identifying then celebrating information and emotions that connect them. We work with clients to look behind communication goals and audience data to the why's that shape each in order to then build connections from a core and thus stronger base.
Pixel Relish recipes are client- and audience-specific. While each includes ingredients serving audience wants and needs while furthering brand rapport, the spices (aka, tools) used and thus specific flavor achieved vary client to client, audience to audience, strategy to strategy, and thus project to project.
Tell me about that upcoming project of yours that could use a dash — or two — of Pixel Relish.
Whether emailing or submitting the form, I highly recommend at least briefly describing your communication hurdle + including, if relevant, a link (or three) to existing materials I can look at so when we talk we can jump right into at least some specifics.
With rare exception, I reply within 24 hours (one business day).
Rest assured, by the way, I keep information you submit private: I never sell it nor share it beyond my Pixel Relish team.
I created these direct mail postcards for the Allen Weiner School Board Re-election campaign, continuing with themes I'd established in the website and related print materials created in the previous weeks.
The Bay Area (California) audience, residing in a hub of innovation and creativity, expects solid execution without too-professional (reads as wasteful)
On the left is one sample of three parallel versions, each with content for the specific demographic audience. On the right is the follow-up design.
Blog Preview – Launch Winter 2016
It's full of amazing, innovative people.
Bring them tips, useful feedback, and free downloads that help them create clearer, more compelling brands and communications. Teach them about rich simplicty.
An introduction to the tenets of rich simplicity — of employing hierarchy and nuance (plus your originality) to create more effective strategies and communications, ones that ping both subconscious and conscious areas of comprehension to improve cognition and engagement
By focusing on intent more than details themselves, we can separate information into core and supporting themes and their relevancies to audience wants and needs; we're then well on our way to rich simplicity.
An ongoing series focusing on each in a vast variety of nuance tools (story, color, tone, syntax, etc.) and ideas to help you make each your own as you employ it to infuse your communications with richness that heightens comprehension and engagement
Rich simplicity works because our minds make sense of inputs by constructing stories. Use that to your advantage: Hint at themes, useful tension and conflict (hello, interest spike), trust-building character personas, and more to improve comprehension and engagement.
Understanding the influence of nuance helps understand how to weave it into your brand and content strategies, both in understanding your audience and how to interact with them. Guest blogger Peter Byrne, a decades-proven strategist, and I delve into shaping strategies with rich simplicity in mind.
Call it core competency or area of authority; either way, rich simplicity can help you better convey your product's or service's "best aspect" through rich, multidimensional terms (versus generic approaches likely to fall flat and not be remembered)
Understand your target audience(s) needs and wants — including any disconnect between perceived and actual needs as well as nuances behind those needs; occasional guest post, tip sheet, and more by Cognise Consulting's strategy guru, Peter Byrne
Whether you call it core competency or area of authority, tips for defining your product or service's "best aspect" — in specific, rich terms (versus generic "we sell good widgets")
Nuance offers a more organic delivery: one in which individuals have a sense that they arrived at the conclusion themselves and so they more readily trust that conclusion
An ongoing series touching upon preferences and limitations the human brain has for processing information (wherein lies much of the basis for rich simplicity — for instance, that people often more deeply trust a conclusion they feel they arrived at on their own); guests posts by a few colleagues specializing in brain psychology and related fields.
Let your brand have some character. For one, a multidimensional, seemingly living and breathing brand holds far more appeal and interest than a cookie-cutter one. Embrace, even celebrate, your company's idiosyncrasies; find ways they serve audience needs; then use the tenets of rich simplicity to build rapport between that living brand and your audiences.
As of Spring 2016, when appropriate to project scope, budget, time frame, and/or ROI expectations, I (Sheila Dent, dba Pixel Relish) team with complementary experts, most frequently with Peter Byrne and/or Terri Rylander.
I'm still looking for a select set of professionals to add to the team for higher-end projects:
English-speaking (or reasonably fluent), please. UI pros, you must demonstrate you can incorporate — boldly as well as more subtly— brand and/or story themes into interface elements. Techies, you must understand and be able to present and discuss pros and cons of possible approaches.
To apply, submit your portfolio link, fee schedule, and cover letter to email@example.com with a subject line of "I'd Like to Join the Pixel Relish Team."
No spam nor template-based, one-size-fits-all budget services, please: Pixel Relish creates purpose/audience/brand communication-specific solutions.
Feels like Christmas morning each time I open a file from Peter Byrne: His audience analyses and skills at strategy-building with an eye on market positioning and audience needs fuel my creative mind, helping us to together develop keen strategies and then the authentic, client-specific, audience-specific verbal and visual components that bring it to life. Peter has an extensive background in both B2B and B2C. Read more about Peter at his company website, Cognise Consulting.
Apex award winner Terri Rylander writes consumer-comprehendable tech articles, white papers, and case studies. She additionally consults on management and strategy, both planning and, if needed, implementation, including CMS website development.
Terri and I share loves for running and being outdoors (she leans toward ultra marathons, whereas I'm more of a sprinter and jumper). Read more about Terri's work at her company website, Advanced Marketing Collateral.
I’m what’s called a communications designer. Some people use the term interchangeably with creative director, others with communications director, others with graphic designer and/or, lately and increasingly, UX designer — all roles I have and do fulfill but none of which fully encapsulates communications design.
Basically, a communication designer approaches content and its presentation in unison. That is, not as “content and its presentation,” but, rather, just as content — all of it content: the writing, the visuals, the presentation (design and medium), all manipulatable characters we can have speak and move and interact with each other within the production we create for our audience to correctly hear, feel, process, then respond to our message.
That’s my forte and overarching interest. But, sure, I also work (have mostly worked) in departmentalized production environments — where someone or a team decides on strategy, then a message, then someone writes content, then someone chooses or prepares complementary visuals, then someone chooses or prepares an HTML or print template to plug the content into. I can step in wherever needed along this ideation-to-production continuum, being a seasoned writer, editor, graphic designer, web and email HTML author, desktop and, though long ago, print publisher.
I have the experience to supervise but enjoy getting my hands dirty with details wherever and however the team needs.
My goal, whether working alone, with my Pixel Relish colleagues, or as part of a client's team, is to create (help the team create) verbal-visual fabrics that audiences not only enjoy wearing but also find useful. I like helping audiences and thereby clients solve problems.
Name and email address optional, however I recommended including in case your submission needs clarification.