Ok…I get it. We are at a point in our cultural interactions where being “too perfect” is a problem. We value authenticity and realism. We are not only okay with imperfections, we insist on having them and displaying them with pride! We don’t want our presentations, our writings, our communications to appear so polished that they could be called fake. Proposals that cross my desk, solicited and unsolicited, from vendors and other companies wanting my business are more likely than ever to be unedited and sloppy. Is it intentional? Is it part of a determined plan to appear approachable and real? Does it really matter to anyone else or am I just being too picky?
Whether perfect-a-phobia has developed because of a desire for authenticity or whether we have been infected with a society-wide bout of pure laziness, there is no doubt in my mind that its impact is growing. The design world seems to be solidly planted in “rougher is better” mode, and to be honest, I love the look in certain applications. I have seen many great examples of this wave in interior design, typography, photography and other disciplines. The honest, approachable, almost cozy feeling that comes with some of these treatments is unmistakeable. Part of me says “embrace it, evolve with it, rough it!”
Another part of me says, “Hold the line!” Is imperfect always the better choice? Is nothing sacred? I have to admit that I quickly disconnect from or discount something I’m reading or watching that is sloppy or doesn’t work the way I expect. I’m fine with lower quality online video when used appropriately, casual blog posts that are not intended to be grammatically perfect, texts with shortcuts and random/awkward “auto-spellchecker” invasions, etc. More and more often, we type like we talk and while that’s fine for general e-conversations of all types, have we really given up on anything better? Does a well-shot, well-edited, well-lit video really scream “FAKE” or does it stand out from the crowd? Is it too boring to require a clean, sharp introductory letter from a prospective employee? Does their lack of misspellings signal a character flaw? Should I expect to have to ask for a replacement portfolio DVD from someone I am interviewing for a video production job because the DVD they sent me won’t play correctly? Or should I complement them on being real and be grateful I don’t have to battle a perfectionist?
I admit to walking an extremely fuzzy, imperfect line here. I’m not quite willing to “go all in” and disable my spellchecker. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the place where I deliberately put a bad dissolve in a video just to keep it from looking too clean. At the same time, we who live in the world of communication have to be ready to adapt and even…communicate…with our audience. It will be interesting to see how far this trend will push us and challenge our boundaries. Will it even force us to give ground and retreat and if so, how far will we go? Is there a Spell-Un-Checker app on the market yet that is capable of deliberately and randomly misspelling some words for me? Sounds like that could be the beginning of a whole new marketing opportunity. I’ll have to check into that…but first things first. My grammar checker is calling.