Open Letters: Less Graphics, More Design
’Less is more’ is a relatively common quote among creatives and interestingly, the least adhered to. Hence the letters, and in the open.
The purpose of most, erm… all, designs is to communicate an idea or information in the best possible way, Yes! The simplest way? Well… What’s simplicity? Simplicity is depth. How do you achieve simplicity? First, understand that convergence is king. You analyse the brief, isolate differences and merge similarities. A simple design focuses on function, above all else, conveying its contents in the best possible way to its ‘audience’. There is no surplus in a simple design. The only time to use effects in your design is if it betters the element(s) and enhances visual communication.
Now let’s get specific. Elements of a simple design include space; space is bliss, especially when it’s white, and hierarchy; relative importance of design elements. One focal not-so-popular principle of a simple design is meticulousness — careful and precise choice of design elements, typography and colour are on top of this list among others. When typography is properly mastered, it’s a ‘cheat code’- in that you could speak so directly and perfectly with your font. Anytime I get the right font for display, the design is 80% done. Contrasts, compliments and hues (shades and tints) are also very important in choosing your colour scheme.
So, when you have a complex design, it’s mostly a result of less thoughts, which is a reflection of your exposure and experience, while a simple design is most times resultant of the deepest objectives. As I mentioned earlier, we are in an age of speed and urgency and so our designs should capture minds at first sight and be simple enough for easy and fast navigation.
When a designer gives you a simple design, it’s in your best interest. He has thought deeply enough to focus on the function, which is central to all designs. So you should appreciate deep thoughts that birth simple designs rather than the reverse. Of course this is given that you do as you should — pay a professional designer and give as much background information as possible.
’Tunji. (Senior “Daddy” Designer, FourthCanvas)