Simplicity: A fallacy to a (should’ve been) quick turnaround time

 This is a continuation of my previous post on the two most common fallacies in regards to design, and this time the spotlight on simplicity.

Great things are simple, in both form and function. And, simple things are great.

While a complex design is likely to look like more work when compared to a simple design, simplicity is actually harder (and it takes more thought and time) to achieve.
Complexity is simple to achieve and simplicity is complex to attain.

When a graphic designer is given a task to communicate five ideas/messages from one design, the easier route would be to have five elements/icons, each communicating the desired idea/message.

Depending on how good one is, sometimes such a challenge can be solved with two or even one icon. But that demads a whole lot of time and thinking — a route that not every graphic designer is willing to take.

Though, sometimes the barrier to such a route is the size of the client’s budget.

Take a look at Apple’s iTunes controller, they applied logic and decided not to ‘just’ follow the masses. Apple decided to let go of the ‘stop’ button. When one thinks of it, the button doesn’t really add any value to the users’ experience.

It’s either you play, skip: for/backward, pause or switch your music player off. So,
The STOP button is pointless.

That there is a simpler design, in form and in function. And that is the result of logical, harder and longer thinking.

It amazes me how a client tend to look shocked that I ‘required’ three weeks for a logo only to present a design as simple as the logo design for Black On Black.

The confusion lies in a belief that designing the actual design is the most important phase. The thing that demands more time and effort is the message and thinking that brings the design into being.

Almost all great designs I’ve seen can easily be (re)designed by everybody — but to come up with such thinking behind them is only achievable by a few.

Any design student with a few lessons on a design software can redraw Apple’s logo, but almost none could’ve come up with such meaning behind the logo — even some professionals with decades of experience could have not done so.

I tend to see a lot of graphic designers hidding their lack of an idea/thinking behind a design, behind complexity.
Simplicity is the state of post-refinery, complexity is whatever you had before the refining.

So if you have a complex design, it means you stopped before time. If the design can be simpler, your job is not done.

At the core of a great design lies a great idea. And great ideas usually takes more time, effort and thinking to get to.

It takes greatness to achieve simplicity.

And greatness requires time, more time.