Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Complexity of Simplicity

I recently finished reading The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda, former MIT Media Lab director and now President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In this book, Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design.

As a technology marketer and techno junkie, I share Maeda’s opinion that “technology has made our lives more full, yet at the same time we’ve become uncomfortably “full.” So how can we as product designers, product marketers, consumers, and technology users address this conflict? Consider the following:

Law 1: Reduce
The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.

Law 2: Organize
Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.

Law 3: Time
Savings in time feel like simplicity.

Law 4: Learn
Knowledge makes everything simpler.

Law 5: Differences
Simplicity and complexity need each other.

Law 6: Context
What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.

Law 7: Emotion
More emotions are better than less.

Law 8: Trust
In simplicity we trust.

Law 9: Failure
Some things can never be made simple.

Law 10: The One
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Details of these Laws of Simplicity can be found on Maeda’s blog.

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