Simplicity vs minimalism

My work tends toward simplicity to the point that I sometimes I think it marks me out as some kind of design luddite.

As I grow older I’ve become increasingly aware of how difficult it can be to simply stop designing. There is a time when a design – or to be more accurate – a style is done, finished.

Simplicity is the art of removing complexity (my definition but apologies if this has been subconsciously lifted from an official definition from elsewhere). For the user, complexity is a usability killer. For the designer, complexity is a time drain and a creative anathema. The more complex a design is, the less sustainable it becomes and the more work is required at later stages to uphold the extreme level of detail or clutter that has been established.

Simplicity is not minimalism. I see minimalism as an aesthetic, whereas simplicity is an imperative. Very different. And simplicity does not mean “plain” or “bland”. Just simple.

I’m barely touching on this huge subject but I’ll revisit it again and again I have no doubt.

Here’s a good point well made which I think illustrates what I’m getting at: http://www.usabilitypost.com/2010/07/23/a-mild-case-of-borderitis/

Author: Rick Monro

Rick has led and managed design teams in agencies in Ireland, provided UX consultancy for both public and private sector clients and is currently a Principal UX Architect with Puppet. He is also a syllabus consultant and lecturer for the Digital Marketing Institute and organiser of UX Bookclub Belfast.

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