Question: How do you make a sculpture of a duck?
- Take a lump of stone.
- Get a hammer and chisel.
- In your mind, imagine an image of a duck.
- Remove everything from the stone that’s not part of the duck.
Certainly, the form of a duck exists within the stone. However, the form of a horse is also in there. As well as a tree, dolphin or 1001 other possibilities. Theoretically, a sculptor could exhibit a bunch of untouched stones and say that each one is a sculpture in beta form, though I doubt that they’d be around very long…
Removing The Unnecessary
Sculpting is less about creation and more about removal. The removal of the unnecessary.
Of course for non-sculptors like me (and probably you) that’s easier said than done. It’s difficult to see where the sculpture ends and the detritus begins. Yet the process of removing every element of the unnecessary is absolutely crucial in order for everyone else to be able to understand the meaning. Less is most definitely more.
Just as a sculptor chips away at removing all that gets in the way of communicating her message (i.e. the duck), so must your marketing chip away at all the non-essential information that prevents your audience consuming and ingesting your content as quickly and as easily as possible.
- Do you embellishing your brochures, website, manuals or presentations with superfluous content that serves to bolster your ego, rather than effectively communicate with your audience?
- Do you ‘pad out’ your email newsletters, eBooks, blogs or articles with meandering sections containing little relevance, to somehow justify all the hours that you spent writing the piece in the first place?
- Do you add nonsensical features or options to your product or service, without consideration to how it will actually be used, because you’re focused more on the process rather than the end-result?
Sculptors spend countless hours/days/months/years deliberating, tweaking and honing to get to the essence of what they want to communicate. As Picasso once said, “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary”.
Image Credit (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)