The Value of Simplicity
“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.”
I love quotes and when I recently came across that one by Brian Reed. It got me thinking about a whole host of other design thoughts and questions. Coming up with a design or an idea, that solves complicated problems while remaining simple is a really hard thing to do! Have you ever tried it?
Each time I design a webpage I can’t help asking myself a myriad of questions; about the look, the feel, the ease-of-use and the functionality of that site from both my client’s perspective as well as their users. Sometimes the answers to these questions are obvious and sometimes they are really hard to come up with. If you’re like most people the solutions that first come to mind are ones that can quickly get complicated. But as Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
I like that. A lot. It’s one of the things I strive for in my designs for our clients, as well as in life in general. I find it refreshing. Simplicity has an inherent beauty that just feels good. And while at first it sounds easy, when you attempt to actually do it – to simplify things, it can be very difficult!
You are soon faced with tough choices about what you are willing to give up, what is most important, what works on many levels – not just one. I’m getting all philosophical I know.
A Real Life Scenario
I recently had a meeting with a client, Cindercrete – who came to us and asked us to redesign their website . I started reading their story and was blown away at the history of their product. What got me so excited? Simplicity.
Somewhere around 1930, Jacob Tell realized that he could make a better product for cheaper by taking coal cinders, a byproduct of burning coal (that CNR was just discarding off their trains) and mixing them into his building block material. The benefits? Partially free material (CNR was happy to have him clean up their cinder piles), since it was already burned it gave his product fireproof properties, it added sound insulation properties, and most importantly it greatly reduced the weight of his product and gave him a unique and important advantage over his competition! Simple right? So why did no one else think of it?
Those are the kind of success stories I love to read and find incredibly inspiring – examples of people who found solutions that were simple. In our world – I think that is becoming more rare as it seems nothing is ever very simple anymore.
So I leave you with two things:
1.) A challenge. Find a way to simplify. Your life, your relationships, your business, your webpage – whatever. I think you’ll find it difficult but also rewarding.
2.) A quote to inspire you: “Everything is both simpler than we can imagine, and more complicated that we can conceive.” Goethe