The 30-foot rule

If you’re designing a package, a cover, a fashion or even a meme…

The goal is to have it be recognizable from across the room.

That doesn’t mean it has to be loud or interruptive. But when we’re looking for it, we should be able to pick it out of a crowd.

‘Across the room’ isn’t about distance, it’s about the emotional gap, about clutter and about the status quo.

Being distinctive is a choice, and it’s not an easy one. Because it requires you to stand for something and to serve a specific audience, not everyone.

A visit to the supermarket demonstrates the power of this approach. Justin’s peanut butter, Pirate Booty snacks and the distinctive Coke bottle all pass the test. So do the best book covers.

But it also applies to the way Linda Oh plays the bass, your therapist answers the phone or Kenji Lopez-Alt writes a recipe.

Distinctive isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.