Categorized | seriously dumb

That’s right. Our cover model has no eyes.

In a previous post, I emphasized that visuals matter. The stuff you see and the stuff you don’t see translates into attitudes and behaviors. I also said that we pay photographers, designers, and marketing professionals to notice all that stuff in visuals that we don’t notice.

So I want you to imagine what sumac berries the folks at Champion were smoking when they put a model with no eyes on its catalog cover:

That’s right. And the photograph doesn’t look any better on the full-sized cover either.

As the designer Rick Memsic used to say, “Wasn’t anybody looking?”

Alright, yes, she does have eyes. The problem is the lighting which produces two dark, cavernous, impenetrably black circles around her eyes. You kind of expect her to pull a shiv, stick it in your mouth, and growl, “Why so serious?”

It was perfectly possible to light the model in such a way that you could actually see her eyes (she’s in the interior of the catalog with correct lighting on her eyes, so we know it can be done). Normally, when you take a picture of a person like this, you say, “Crap! This one didn’t work.” And you toss it.

But not only did the photographer not discreetly heave this one into the digital wastebasket, the gripless wonder in charge of the catalog put it on the cover.

Believe me, bad choices like this translate into lost revenues.

Okay, let’s stop for a bit. Nothing sells better than the human face. Study after study has shown that a picture of a human face looking straight at the viewer produces a positive attitude and drives sales. And nothing is stronger in a picture of a human face than the eyes. It’s one of the first things a viewer looks at in a face and one of the first visual cues that the viewer responds to.

So knowing these two facts — that a full-on view of a human face has the highest potential for creating a positive attitude and that the eyes are the most important part of the face — why would you put a model on the cover whose eyes are totally blacked out in shadow? At best, you’re missing an opportunity. At worst . . . well, she’s pretty scary, if you ask me.

Oscar Wilde once said that if something worth saying once, it’s worth saying a thousand times. Well, then, I’ll say it again: Look with your eyes.

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  1. [...] distracting shadows. Go back to the faces on the second picture. Evenly lit, clear facial features, no distracting shadows (professional models are usually people who take light and shadow well on their [...]


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