maximum meaning, minimum means

The above line is attributed to designer Abram Games and it is truly brilliant.

It communicates the essence of quality in art in four elegant, alliterative words that practice exactly what they preach.

But why is economy of expression such a prized skill?

Although you can argue for nebulous abstractions such as ‘beauty’, I think it, and everything else we admire, comes down to a single thing: difficulty. Expressing elaborate concepts, such as the essence of a company, in three words (Just Do It), or the way love works in a single line (the love you take is equal to the love you make) is really, really hard, and therefore worthy of our admiration. It’s why we like short titles that have many meanings (War and Peace), or puns (they often have the added difficulty of being spontaneous), or works of art such as Shepard Fairey’s ‘hope’ image of Obama.

Advertising’s short timelengths are rich areas of density of expression and this can happen in very different ways. For example, he beautiful imagery and wonderfully lyrical voiceover of ‘Surfer’ can be taken in on the first viewing, but those 90 seconds can be watched time and again, revealing different layers on each occasion:

But equally, there’s a whole life, backstory, attitude and personality in two words and a muddy football pitch that we can all recognise and enjoy in various ways each time we see it:

Saying a lot with a little is quite a skill (that, as you can see, I have yet to master).