Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, Not the Copywriter


I have given this speech at least three times this month so it is time to commit it to permalink:

You don’t get to proclaim your product is beautiful.

Beauty is subjective. If your labor of love really is beautiful, people will notice and may even say so (feel free to quote the hell out of them) or spontaneously petition to have your product inducted in the Museum of Modern Art. But you don’t get to make that claim.

Please don’t tell me “beautifully designed” is one of your top three benefits. “Easy to use” – sure. “Intuitive” – hopefully even true. “So easy even a CEO can use it” – probably a stretch but go for it. But don’t tell me being beautiful is part of your value proposition unless you’ve developed some kind of robotic supermodel hybrid of Petman and Samantha from Her.

When you’re one of those startups that shows headshots and titles for everyone in the company, people may notice the team lacks a designer but has a deep bench of data scientists, DevOps dudes and even a dog.

And if you’re peddling an enterprise B2B app, which is where this problem seems most acute, recognize that enterprise customers will put up with <blink> tags and Comic Sans if the app gets the job done (TK check if this is the secret behind Salesforce’s beautiful user experience). But the opposite is not true.

Feel free to say your app is less ugly than anything ever created by Oracle or Salesforce. Or that you wish you had the design sense of Steve Jobs, or less ambitiously, even one of his self-appointed disciples. Or that you have aesthetic guilt about your tenure at Microsoft. Or that you just really like the color orange. Those are all factual statements. But claiming your product is beautiful is not. Don’t waste precious attention and put off readers with such verbiage.

Next time on marketing prose pet peeves and polemics: power made easy!

One response

  1. This blog post is beautiful. Feel free to quote the hell out of me.

Get Updates By Email
%d bloggers like this: