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The Importance of Simplicity

The Importance of Simplicity

October 23, 2017

Our opportunity, as designers, is to learn how to handle the complexity, rather than shy away from it, and to realize that the big art of design is to make complicated things simple.
— Tim Parsey

We were browsing the Internet for design inspiration with quotes on design. One of the quotes’ recurring theme is the importance of simplicity in design, and upon realizing that, we also realized that as important as it is, it is also an often-forgotten rule.

Truly elegant design incorporates top-notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form.
— David Lewis

Simplicity doesn’t equate to plainness. It merely connotes a thorough understanding of the information at hand and its purpose, and indicates this through a clear visualization of it.

Simplicity is clarity. When something is stated simply, its manner of information is clearer, and when information is presented clearly, it is transmitted more quickly. And in this day and age of the Internet, anything that can be absorbed or devoured in a snap is of profitable value.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint Exupéry

One must certainly incorporate it in their routine to double check whether their design is of the simplest form possible, without sacrificing exquisite aesthetic. Here are some ways to do that:

1. Revise, edit, and shorten your text. This refers to headlines, titles, and section names. This also applies to text, but remember not to sacrifice clarity for word count. The key is to be concise, and straight to the point.

2. Make use of shapes. Mickey Mouse—with his large circle of a face in the middle, and two smaller ones on the upper right and left for his ears—is iconic because he is designed in such a way that enables people to easily remember how he looks like by the shape of his head. When designing graphics, especially logos, focus on simple, basic shapes and their harmony together. This allows for easier recall, and perhaps increased recognition of the design itself.

3. You only have room for what is necessary. This is important to remember. Everything that does not add to your website’s aesthetic or to the site’s information, cut it out. It is unnecessary, and you only have room for what is necessary.

That said, it’s important to discern what is necessary. Aesthetic is necessary, and so are certain pieces of information, so do not cut those out. Instead, consider the most important aspects of your client’s website, and play those up. If something is generic, or doesn’t necessarily add or help achieve a certain purpose, or is assumed or part of public knowledge, then you may decide not to include those. It’s all a matter of being concise and direct to the point, while still being visually arresting.

Design is an opportunity to continue telling the story, not just to sum everything up.
— Tate Linden Quotes