Art is a vital component of marketing: visuals drive a brand’s image and affect how customers perceive a product. With quality visuals, even the most mundane of products can suddenly seem special. Yet, the relationships between marketers and the artists who work for them are often strained.

Designers are constantly told to “keep it fresh” and “make it pop,” but often, when they do something truly innovative, brands shut them down. If companies want visuals that are truly beautiful, sometimes they need to take a step back and allow the artists we work with to do what they do best.

Alex Leyva, visual director at Satore, expresses the benefit of taking this sometimes-scary step:

More traditional brands are becoming open to new artistic approaches, but it’s often constrained to what they know or what they’ve seen work for other brands. They often want to be on trend rather than allowing artists to take them to the next level and try something truly innovative. Creative freedom is key when it comes to artists working with brands. Without it, the brand moves further and further away from the work the artist actually wants to produce.

When a company puts super specific restrictions on their designers, not only does that build up resentment, but it also often results in an inferior design.

WCRS’s head of art, Grant Parker, puts it elegantly:

Commercial work now so often moves away from ‘inspiration’ towards ‘information’. Transport for London had such an impressive legacy of commissioned works that were artworks in their own right…

Sadly, advertisers today rarely create bold, simple work like this anymore. The complexity of messages muddies the waters a lot, and my absolute hatred – the horror of ‘aesthetic cleansing’ continues to compromise the work.

And, unless we can start to commission with confidence and step back a little, I’m afraid Ogden Nash would have been right with his poem: ‘I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree…’, even if that tree were ‘Shot on iPhone 6’.

Advertising can be beautiful as well as functional – so next time your designer proposes something out of your comfort zone, give it a second thought. If your advertising is uniquely beautiful, it will make your brand’s advertising more memorable than simply going with the status quo.