I don’t play the lottery. But I suspect that each time you lose, you feel like your odds of winning get a little better.
More than ten times in my career, I’ve pitched the Slanty Photo Treatment™ to clients, and not one of those designs has ever made it online. You know the look: a tastefully matted photograph sits on a page, just slightly askew as if someone dropped it on table. Extra points are awarded for a careful sliver of drop shadow, or the illusion of a stack of photos.
Over time, it became the running joke that by using the treatment, I was taking my design out of the running. A more paranoid designer might consider this an omen and try something else. Not me. I’m way too stubborn for that. Each time a client shot down my design with the photo treatment, I secretly consoled myself, “They just don’t get it, the next client will understand,” and continued chasing the design dragon.
I know the Slanty Photo Treatment is not a revolutionary technique. Tons of sites use it. And I’m not even overly enamored with it either. Perhaps it was just the quiet simplicity of the style, or the nice suggestion of an analog medium on screen, something I tend towards anyway. Whatever it was, I jumped at every opportunity to use it. I wouldn’t say that any of the times I used the photo treatment it was inappropriate—I considered each one—but it’s also clear that they were stylistic choices. That’s why they never stuck. Style can be a good thing, adding a bit of personality, life, or oomph. But when used without specific function, it’s not necessarily the right choice either.
So, I’m hereby retiring the Slanty Photo Treatment from my repertoire. Not just because it never made it and not just because the design ether is trying to tell me something, but because I need to move on already. If you haven’t tried the treatment yet, it’s all yours—just keep it away from me. Hell, just based on my track record alone, it’s bound to sell soon, right?
*Some photos have been substituted to protect innocent designs.