Here's a great lesson from Adrian Salmon's blog: Should you scrap the Millennium Falcon?
It goes like this: A Tweeter gets an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It looks like this:
Tweeter is pained at the ugliness, and says so:
No, @DCCC, I won't donate a dime to you until you can prove you understand decent design. What is this, MySpace?
I doubt anyone would dispute that the design of the email is appallingly ugly. But it might look familiar. It's the email look created by the Obama For America organization.
That is, it's been rigorously tested and refined. It works. As Adrian says:
This email that looks really awful ... a spammy-looking piece of junk -- is actually the result of one of the most sophisticated digital fundraising campaigns ever run.
That's the way fundraising goes: Ugly works. Tacky works. Corny, embarrassing, and messy all work. In print, or in digital.
And those negative labels I just put on it? They only reveal my personal aesthetic sense. Which has no bearing. How much you and I enjoy the design has no bearing on its power to motivate response.
All too often the sharply clever statement like What is this, MySpace? carries the day. It cows everyone into going along with that opinion, even if it's an ignorant and useless opinion.
Stick to the fact about what moves donors. Ignore the sharp-tongued man on Twitter.