The other day my friend gave me a copy of Graphic Design USA magazine that was sent to her place for the previous tenant. This evening I decided to look through it and I came across an ad that said, “These leaves have never been so green.” Here’s the catch: The leaves were magenta, blue, and black–no green. So what is this ad really saying?
To be green is not necessarily a literally thing. It does not mean your skin is green. Going green is another term for being environmentally friendly. This ad is advertising the recycled paper that it was printed on.
The ad could have been printed with green ink and it would have made sense. Being physically green would not have taken away from the concept at all. But the fact that the leaves were not green made the ad more creative. The abstractness made it moer interesting. When you look at the ad, you have to stop and think. The colors also bring more attention to the ad on its own because the color choice isn’t realistic.
Creative concepts can come from the elimination of the obvious. When obvious information and realistic information are removed from a concept, it forces viewers to think abstractly. When connections are not literal, they are more powerful because it takes thinking to realize the idea. When the realization is reached, the thinking process to get to that point makes the result seem like a great achievement which then becomes memorable. Because of how memorable it is, the idea is strong.