The Laws of Simplicity

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Law seven is slightly more subjective than the other laws.

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Simplicity through minimalism may be considered unattractive to some as ornamentation can to others. Accessorising things allows a consumer to gain a sense of emotional attachment to an otherwise lifeless product. As like a lot of these laws, law seven intertwines with another, this time the above law — context. As this may contradict Law one: Reduction , it is important to always consider context.

Law eight: Trust. This law is and probably forever will be a hot topic. We live in an age where things are smart, fast and above all connected.

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For these factors to work well in a digital age, a level of trust is necessary. For a product to be simple, usable and enjoyable, we will inevitably be required to hand information over Law four: Learn.

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If this same product is asking for too much information, no trust will be built and the communication unsuccessful. Finding a balance between clearly communicated or usable, plus unintrusive and trustworthy is a challenge we all face going forward in this age. Whether as a consumer or designer, trust is undeniably important. Again, by looking back to Law four, as we learn and understand more through attempts, successful or not, we will come to realise through new or different opportunities that some things just can not be made simple.

Publisher's Summary

This is the most obvious and ironically simple law that summerises the previous nine. If a part of a communication is too obvious, it is likely to be unnecessary, and by removing this extra unneeded portion, the clear communication can be digested. The Soviet equivalents merely handed their astronauts a pencil. As we can see above, achieving simplicity is a complex, considered process which has been relevant throughout history in design and communication. From developing means to print to the masses, to the methods and principles of economic sensibility and simplicity taught by the Bauhaus in the 20th century, and going forward to the way we design digital user experiences today in short-attention-spanned, connected world, these Laws Of Simplicity will remain to guide communication and help solve visual problems.

It will be interesting to watch as the laws continue to develop into essential foundations of business, technology and design. Email us info hatchedlondon. Follow us Instagram instagram twitter twitter. Blog Keep it simple, stupid.

The Ten Laws of Simplicity

February 2nd, Law one: Reduce The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction Reduction is the obvious assumption in simplifying something. Law two: Organise Organisation makes a system of many appear fewer Controlling complexity through organisation helps the viewer very quickly manage and digest what is being communicated to them or perhaps what they are communicating to others.

A calendar is a fantastic example of organised grouping: dates, organised into 7 day groups — a week. Law three: Time Savings in time feels like simplicity The faster something happens or the quicker the communication is digested or problem answered, the simpler it seems.

The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life by John Maeda

Law four: Learn Knowledge makes everything simpler This law reigns true for all aspects of humanity, including all the objects we interact with. Law five: Differences Simplicity and complexity need each other Contrasting differences between two items allow us to establish many things — in the instance of design, a communication with complex metaphors and unnecessary adornments is harder to understand than a similar communication designed according to the above laws.

Law six: Context What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral This law should be looked at with a slightly more abstract lens.

Work with a creative practice with a ‘nothing we can’t do’ attitude.

Law seven: Emotion More emotions are better than less Law seven is slightly more subjective than the other laws. Law ten: The One Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful This is the most obvious and ironically simple law that summerises the previous nine. Sign-up to receive the latest Hatched creative, articles and updates direct to your inbox. Submit Circle.

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Related Articles. Squinting or looking from further away lets you see the forest from the trees — i. Groups are important: they differentiate the different areas and functions of your interface.


When you squint, can you clearly see the different groups, or is it all just one big forest of content? Here we can utilize the SHE shrink, hide, embody method again.

For example, the iPod Shuffle music player shrinks time by removing song selection from the process of playing your music tracks — simply hit Play and the device will play songs at random. Hiding time is possible. Casinos in Las Vegas have no windows or clocks. They do this to hide the passage of time away from you in order to try and keep you there longer. But this is deceiving. A better way to work with time is to embody it somehow. Here, we have things like progress bars. The progress bar shows how much has been done and how much longer the application has to keep working.

The Laws of Simplicity

But it also moves — you can see the computer working and progress made is being visualized for you. Research shows this simple interface element reduces perceived wait time for the users. The chapters that follow are also very interesting, though the ideas in them will require more thought into how they can be integrated into your design philosophy.

My only real criticism of this book is this: while all the laws Maeda paints are interesting and insightful, there seems to me a lack of cohesion between them.

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I can see each law for what it is but I cannot see them all fusing into something clear and concrete. To me the books feels more like an exploration into the uncharted territory of simplicity and in the process manages to plant a few flags here and there, gaining plenty of territory but stopping short of drawing up a clear map of the whole.