June 21, 2023

Clarity and Cleverness

Have you noticed that for so many posts today, there’s a preference for clarity? That’s good. Simplicity, after all, should be a priority. Especially if we want to be understood.

But one crucial ingredient has gone missing: cleverness.

Many of the ideas and messaging have become too obvious. There’s not much left for the audience to think about. To decipher. To participate in. They say things as they are. And sometimes, they over-explain.

Great writing lets the audience participate. To do a bit of thinking too. For them to get it, all on their own. That's how we can leave a mark—when something clicks in their minds and it stays there for years.

But we must also be careful of being too clever. We might end up with something so complicated that it takes 10 seconds too long to click. Clever doesn't mean complicated.

The balance is in the junction of clarity and cleverness. To add cleverness into your content, but to still remain clear and simple.

Here's a quote from Bill Bernbach that sums it up:

“Dullness won't sell your product, but neither will irrelevant brilliance.”