This weekend's longish read is on MAYA - Most Advanced Yet Acceptable - a design principle based on the observation that we like what we know, with a few modest and incremental tweaks.
What to wear, what film to see, which songs to download, which restaurant or cuisine to try - pretty much every time we are confronted with a purchase or attention decision - we draw on this principle of "optimal newness."
Once you know what to call it, you see it everywhere: new car models, fashion week lines, iPhone updates, Star Wars sequels. We seek what we know, with just enough newness to make it interesting.
For communicators, MAYA has powerful implications, too. Familiar messages are easier to accept than radical statements. Images drawing on recognisable features are easier to register than jarring departures from what's expected. Ideas rooted in experience are easier to contemplate than true thought experiments.
Maybe this is obvious.
But I see us racing to exploit the "new" and to highlight differences - to use novelty as the reason to pay attention.
Maybe a little balance - a little deference to MAYA - would make us more effective!
aymond loewy’s aesthetic was proudly populist. “One should design for the advantage of the largest mass of people,” he said. He understood that this meant designing with a sense of familiarity in mind.