David Ogilvy, UX and Daily Aesthetics

May 21st, 2013

They don’t call him “The Father of Advertising” for nothing.

I subscribe to a daily email from Fast Company Design, and I try to make time to read it as often as I can.

David OgilvyNot only does it often have interesting business insights, but I think design and aesthetics are an important part of our daily visual intake regardless of any obvious utility. They spark the imagination. Please the eye. Bring a smile. Create an association.

You could also look out the window, really look, for a full minute – assuming your view is of something other than the wall of the building next door. But even that, with a little creativity, could become an object of fascination. So say I.

Back to UX, aka UEX, aka UED: User Experience Design, the subject of a recent blog post. Basically, it’s how designers predict our interaction with technology so they can make it look and work simply, easily and satisfyingly for us.

A recent FastCoDesign email featured an article called, “11 Rules For Great UX Design, Adapted From An Original Mad Man.”

The article adapts 11 principles for creating great ad campaigns put forth by the great Ogilvy.

“By swapping a word here and there and shifting the context from a ‘campaign’ to a ‘digital interface’ and ‘user experience,'” writes author Ted Booth, “Ogilvy’s principles rival those produced by UX thought leaders working today.”

Here are just two:

2. Unless your campaign experience is built around a great idea, it will flop.

Don Draper

In other words, user experience designers shouldn’t get so focused on the mechanics of the design that they lose sight of creating a phenomenal experience.

That’s a no-win proposition.

7. Committees can criticize advertisements experiences, but they cannot write them.

It’s like the old joke: What’s a camel? A horse that was designed by a committee.

Some things never change. Keep teams small and nimble. Or maybe hire Don Draper.


In conclusion: Stop to smell, and gaze at, the flowers and look to tested wisdom for new meaning.



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