Worth a thousand words?

Art directing your brand (or you) is not a dumb thing to do. In addition to satisfying one’s vanity, it’s a chance to establish an image that might last a long time. The top half of my head, for example, first showed up in Fast Company and then on Permission Marketing. The time spent working with Brian Smale (a great photographer) clearly paid off in building the image of the brand.

No question, people look at pictures far more often than they read the words.

Which leads me to today’s New York Times.

When the photographer arrived, I had thought long and hard about what the photo should accomplish. I wanted to include my cow, because it’s a great connection to the Purple Cow book. I figured it would be fun to have my Gandhi/Apple poster, because it’s quirky and positions my ideas a bit. I didn’t want my Segway in the photo, because I didn’t buy the Segway to ride around on… I got it to use in my presentations about how technology-first ideas often don’t pan out (it’s featured in my new book).

So, this is the photo we ended up with:


Alas, I didn’t realize that the photographer had quite a wide angle lens. This is the photo he actually shot:


And then, when the folks at the newspaper got their hands on it, it became:


And finally, when they were done getting rid of the artful lighting and the vibrant colors, we ended up with:


So, you may not care one whit about how millions of Americans are having their breakfasts ruined because they have to suffer through my non-optimal photo, but a> it doesn’t help the brand and b> it might happen to you one day.