The Subtle Touch
I've seen several community projects over the past year that were seriously damaged by a lack of style.
The essential components were there. The timing was fine. But there was a need for some poetry or, at the least, the removal of some elements that deadened the appeal.
This is one of those highly subjective areas, similar to the old line about knowing obscenity when you see it, where you either notice the problem or you don't. George Orwell wrote about cafe owners who didn't grasp that having dead flies in the window sill was hardly a way to attract customers. The problem, however, is rarely that obvious.
Part of the challenge is an utter inability to consider the perspective of others. In some of the community projects, the plans were drafted by bright and dedicated people who believe that their narrow, academic passions are shared by the average citizen. This failure to understand the customer was combined with a desire to scoot past the seemingly superficial and focus solely on substance. All efforts are providing a proper presentation were slighted.
The sad thing is they often came so close to success before being foiled by the subtle.