A theme has developed in our practice. Simplicity.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”


We’ve been talking a lot about:

  • Sharply focused communications in our work with clients
  • Simplifying design to attract attention to the core message
  • Minimizing low-impact activities to spend more time on what matters most

“Less is more.”

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rhoe, architect

Creating simplicity can be challenging. Words are easy to create. We become attached to them. There is so much we wish to share that we toss in everything hoping it all will be seen. Overwhelming your audience with information can be just as obnoxious as providing no information at all.

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple

Let’s look at the design of remote controls. Apple TV’s remote is sleek and small. Traditional remotes are complicated to use and look messy. Have you ever picked up a friend’s remote and struggled to understand which button does what? With fewer buttons, the Apple remote allows the user to quickly learn how to use it.

Source: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/simplicity-in-design-4-ways-to-achieve-simplicity-in-your-designs

When you encounter a clear message, it looks so easy! But what we don’t see is all the hard work to boil down all those words. Simplifying written and verbal communications require effort and diligence.

Here are examples of wordy copy improved with some revisions:

  • Before: At this point in time, the company is ready to seek candidates who may be interested in applying.
  • After: The company is taking applications now.
  • Before: The reason for the failure of the product launch of the New Coke in the marketplace to compete with Pepsi was that at that time, Coca-Cola drinkers preferred the brand identity represented in the classic flavor and was not necessarily an indication of their preference for the taste of the new formula.
  • After: New Coke’s launch failed because Coca-Cola did not understand its customers’ loyalty to the traditional formula.

The next time you come across a message or visual that is simple and clear, pause and admire the unseen effort to master their craft.