Good design helps the intended audience understand the message.
I got an interesting mailing. Actually it was a series of mailings of the same postcard. It has a big picture of a sail boat on one side, and even the logo had a sailboat motif. It had a strong sea, nautical theme to it. The wording discussed real estate and Solomon's Island. On the other side with the mailing information, was a picture of a guy and a real estate selling point information.
Before I discarded it, I checked my assumptions. "Is this person selling sail boats, beach property, or homes in the Solomon's Island, Maryland area?" (In any event, I really wasn't interested.) But it turned out to be a regular real estate agent, who happens to have an office in Solomon's Island, Maryland, serving all of Maryland. He wanted to know if he could serve my needs by helping me sell my home or find a home, even though I lived in the D.C. metropolitan area.
I was confused. I almost discarded it figuring that this person was trying to expand his beach-front business. But that doesn't seem to be the case. He is just a regular real estate broker looking for hot properties. As a result of figuring this out, now I am not interested because the mailing caused more confusion than amusement — thus wasting my time. There are just too many real estate agents out here to care enough to decipher his selling message. "Why should I use him? He doesn't even work in my area."
My point is this. Good design considers the selling point from the perspective of the audience. Design is crafted with appropriate images and text to convey the reason why the audience should care, without requiring them to figure it out themselves.
This is the 4th out of 11 articles discussing, in detail, each point in my philosophy of design. My philosophy is discussed in my previous post.