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Simplicity is Key


Simplicity.  It speaks for itself.  The most ironic part of trying to achieve simplicity is that it is a difficult way to design.  People do not like simple, they are intimidated by the overt amount of white space or the idea that they have not put enough effort into a design because it is simple.  I, however, am a huge fan of simple work.  Nothing communicates with me better than a simple design with a clear message.  In this particular design, I love the attention to detail.  The text around the dropped out numbers forms the shape perfectly, insuring readability.  The colors of the number blocks also flow seamlessly, in an analogous fashion, reducing the chance of the nine different colors competing with one another and causing the page to create strain on the viewer.


  1. Golden Ninja wrote:


    I do agree that simplicity is best and that this design is aesthetically beautiful, but what exactly is it for?

    Depending on a variety of factors such as audience and purpose this piece could be judged a success or failure.

    As purely visual art it is fantastic, but as informative and communicative design I do not know if it fulfills its purpose with the small fonts.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink
  2. jpeter11 wrote:

    I totally agree with simple design to be the most effective. I think simplicity is also the hardest and most difficult to execute the design process. It takes a lot of time and energy to think simple!

    Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink
  3. kmikolon wrote:

    I agree with you on simple designs to be the most effective and is the hardest to execute. I also think there is a time for when detailed designs work best.

    Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  4. Bret Mueller wrote:

    This example I think exemplifies how simple designs can work as a whole. Now this piece was designed to be all on one page and separating the different elements disrupts the whole. For example, the 2, 5, and 6 do not work by themselves. The reason why I see the numbers is because of the other numbers in the whole pattern. 1, 3, and 9 work the best visually, as I can clearly see them and discern the pattern from the type immediately. If these elements were broken up, say for individual chapters, the design would fall apart.

    Monday, February 27, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink
  5. Randall Parrish wrote:

    Seeing this made me think to dig out a few snippets from the Steve Jobs biography:

    Ever since Apple’s first brochure stated, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,”
    Jobs aimed for the simplicity that comes from conquering complexity, not ignoring them.

    “It takes a lot of work to make something simple. To truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.”

    “Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. It’s not just a visual style, or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you must understand everything about it and how it is manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are nonessential.”


    I think it’s mostly agreed that the more you reduce a design, the tricker a time you’ll have making sure it can still be understandable and coherent. It’s important to understand the difference between minimalism, and just not putting a whole lot on a canvas: there’s definitely a difference. Minimalism shows a mastery of the complex – the ability to tame the complex into something easy to understand. Dropping one line of text and calling it minimalism is wrong.

    Friday, March 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink