SIMPLICITY IS SERIOUSLY COMPLICATED
Our lives are complicated. We are all so busy. So any interaction with a product, process or communication should be devoid of complexity. Our experience should be efficient and effortless. How enjoyable is it when we do something that has been purposely designed to optimise our experience, and it achieves that? When we say: “That was easy.”
So how do you achieve simplicity?
Leo Babauta, author of the popular blog Zen Habits believes that simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.
Similarly, technologist and designer John Maeda has outlined ten laws of simplicity. Law number one is “Reduce: The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.”
And Jony Ive, chief designer at Apple, believes that “to be truly simple, you have to go really deep. Deeply understand the essence of a product in order to remove the unessential.”
Perfectly rational. How can we really simplify something without understanding it intimately?
In context of our industry…
Creatively, the simple ideas are usually the best. These are the ideas that resonate, are most compelling and make you think: “That’s clever, I wish I had thought of that.”
Visually, the aesthetics of simplicity can be sublime, more than just minimalist; every element has purpose, and the sum of the parts can be so arresting that it calms the soul.
Simple is not easy. Keeping designs simple, knowing what to throw away and what to keep takes a lot of practice. “Subtracting the obvious and keeping the meaningful” (John Maeda). The more we delve into the topic of simplicity, the more complex it becomes. But this is part of the journey, we need to immerse ourselves if we are to truly understand what it means.
So just keep it simple.
by Rodney Minter-Brown