It's not always what you leave in

It's not always what you leave in

Published Jun 3, 2021 by Rick Cundiff

Everybody knows how to write.

After all, we’ve all been doing it since grade school, yes? From the time we first put noun and verb together (“See Spot.”), we’re off and running. How hard can it be? You just throw in what you need, and as long as it makes a certain amount of sense, it’s all good.

Of course, we all know it’s not that easy. As someone who likes to think he has a certain amount of skill as a wordslinger, I can attest that it’s more complicated than many people think.

The idea is to draw people in, to make them follow, believe your words so closely that they suspend their skepticism and want to find out what happens next.

That’s what happened to me the other night. Looking for a little light reading before bed, I came across a science fiction story written by a semi-prominent author in the field.

I started reading and fell deeper and deeper into the storyline involving a captured prisoner being interrogated on a dismal planet. The more the story went along, the more detail the author added. About the prisoner’s surroundings, why she was on the planet, what brought her there, what kept her there.

And by the way, her interrogators have an absolutely foolproof method of lie detection. She cannot deceive, bluff or finagle her way out. So she does what she must, answering every question honestly. She will be killed when the interrogation ends.

Except …

While she has told the truth in answer to every question, she has not told her captors everything. What she left out was more important than what she left in. By the satisfying end, she has escaped, and justice has prevailed, her captors destroyed by the forces allied with her.

Why did the plot work so well? Because the author knew what to leave out. He dropped some minor bread crumbs for the reader along the way, but not enough to piece together the whole story. The reader learns the full plot only as the villains do.

That’s the key to any great writing, from Shakespeare to Hemingway to Toni Morrison. Leaving some things out is at least as important as putting other things in.

It’s great advice for your custom patches too. When you’re creating your patch design, keep in mind the limitations of the size and patch style you want. If you want your patch to stand out, for lettering to be legible, don’t be afraid to leave something off. Or simplify the design. Leave a little something to the viewer’s imagination and your brand or logo can have more impact.

Case in point: We’re here in Florida horse country. Lots of horse-related activities and businesses. The most perfect logo I ever saw was for a transport company.

It was an outline of a horse, painted on a trailer. It had no sharp angles, no straight lines, not even any intersections whatsoever. Yet the simple series of five curved lines created nothing less than a perfect horse. Less was truly more. The artist who created it knew exactly what to leave out.

Keep that in mind when designing your patches, and remember, we don’t charge for art, design or revisions. Our graphic artists will be happy to help you craft the ideal patch design for what you want to say.