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Responsible Marketing

An old way to simplify a complex idea

By September 2, 2008July 23rd, 20202 Comments

Getting a prospect’s attention is tough enough, but let’s say you are able to break through. Now that you have their attention, can you keep it?

Think your prospect will read four pages of copy to learn how you are different? Think again.

We live in a sound-bite culture where scanning—not reading—is the norm.

Sure, you can use Flash and other multimedia tools to help you get your point across, but not all users will be able to view it on all platforms.

That’s why I’m a fan of good-old-fashioned illustration.

The best example I’ve seen using illustration to describe a complex idea is for Google Chrome, a new browser Google will offer in beta today.

Google created an online comic book featuring the project’s developers.

Google Chrome comic book intro - Click to view the entire first page.

I had no idea this was a comic book when I started reading it, but 38 pages later, I had powered through the entire thing. More importantly, I believe I now have a strong understanding of the major technical differences this browser will offer.

Notice I said “technical” differences. This was done so well, even a guy with limited technical knowledge like yours truly got it. If this is as good as it looks, Google will have another hit on its hands.

The next time you have a complex idea you want to communicate, consider illustration.

If done well, it will help you get—and keep—your audience’s attention.

Have you seen illustration used to make something complex easier to digest?

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Illustration’s been looking more and more appealing to us, and seems to be popping up all over the place recently (think the universe is trying to tell us all something?).

    The folks at The Common Craft Store ( make some of the best and most innovative illustration videos to make complex ideas easily understood…

    And Dan Roam’s new book Back of the Napkin ( I think) explains why illustration works the way it does, how we’re all able to create illustration and some tips on how to begin (and how to clarify your ideas so you can create simple and interactive communication that fosters quantum leaps in thinking).

  • Lisa,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I’m a fan of the Common Craft store and have shared a number of the “___ in plain English” videos here on the blog.

    We’re on the same wavelength: I almost included their videos in this post but realized I was going a little long.

    I’ll check out the “Back of the Napkin.” Sounds fascinating.

    Happy marketing,


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