In art school, one of my teachers always said "less is more". I didn't understand that. I always wanted to add more and more to any design. I figured that you should always strive to make things better. The truth is you make things better by taking away, not adding more. This goes for designers and for those thinking about design. Think about Apple. From their website, to their stores, to their packaging and their products, Apple decided that the best way to brand themselves was to keep a less-is-more approach to everything they do. Many have tried to emulate Apple, but Apple does it best because it's enveloped everything they do, not just parts of what they do. Here are 3 reasons why it's the best way to go.
1. It's More Attractive
It's that simple. Clean and sleek design is that much more attractive. It's got everything you need with none of the clutter, which is what many websites and designs (in general) suffer from. This approach is easier on the eyes and it's easier to navigate through which leads me to the next reason.
2. It Gets Your Message Across
Design is a language and in any given design it is giving a message about a product, a service or a person. With the less-is-more approach there is no guessing. The design clearly speaks the message to the audience and the first part of the job is done.
3. It Teaches You To Work With Less
Some might say that the less-is-more approach looks easy and that anyone can do it. My question to them is... "Have you ever chipped away at a block of stone?". Let me explain. Think of any design idea as a block of stone. Now in that block of stone is your design and you have to chip away at the stone until the true essence, the absolute most important information is left. This takes time and a great sense of design to be able to do. It's not easy, in fact, in can be down right frustrating. But with practice it comes more naturally and the solution is found with less chips and more chops to reveal the best.
And this goes for illustration as well. Some of the best work I've ever seen works with the less-is-more approach. Take a look at Pascal Campion's work below. I had the pleasure of meeting Pascal last year and he gave me some tips on how to focus more on the emotion rather than linger on the illustration itself. Beautiful, right?Conclusion
As you can see the less-is-more approach works. Don't think that adding more clutter to your website, logo or illustration will help it look better. Think of the block of stone and try to chip away at it until the most beautiful essence of your design is revealed. And pass on this information to your friends and family. Let it be known that less is more.
Dennis (aka tanoshiboy)
Do you have any great examples (design or illustration) of the less-is-more approach? Share links and examples here in the comments section so we can all see. Or do you still think this is a lazy approach to design? We want to hear that argument too. :)