For a PR firm, the hardest mission is helping clients simplify their messages.  The USDA’s “MyPlate“, which replaces the maddeningly complex and therefore uselsess food pyramid, is a brilliant example of successful message simplification.

USDA MyPlate unveiledA food nutrition purist can find many faults with the MyPlate – it’s too simple, it leaves out all of the important detail of the food pyramid, it overlooks some critical but smaller food groups, etc.  What a purist (in any industry) often forgets is that a complex message, while thorough and accurate, is pointless if the audience can’t make use of it.

So while there are obvious compromises in the MyPlate message (there are only 4 food groups, plus dairy) – the value that will be derived from its simplicity will far exceed the the zero-value of the complex food pyramid.

One final note. The whizzes that designed the MyPlate graphic really deserve kudos.  The plate is something every household can relate to.  The four portions, sized accordingly, is pure visual magic.  It is evidence that a single, well-designed infographic can be worth more than any amount of text.