Level-up your design with wabi-sabi

There is an ancient Japanese philosophy that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfect and enjoying the natural form of things.

This philosophy is named wabi-sabi (侘寂).

Wabi-sabi is perfectly imperfect. It is quiet simplicity.

It is a design philosophy that artists have known for some time. The natural texture and knots found in wood, plants reaching for sunlight, or the way earthen pottery forms cracks, crevices, and character. Wabi-sabi is ancient. But it is the contemporary mediums of today that designers are increasingly finding new use for this artistic style.

Certainly, contemporary design is experiencing an age of minimalist reform. We are well into things that are flat and material. Branding is clean, iconography is lean, applications are light, and on-the-go gaming puts up no barrier to the fun.

While these do not translate directly to wabi-sabi, they are exercising an aspect of the philosophy that retains the quiet simplicity and natural beauty.

So, then — regardless of the kind of art or design you find yourself doing, take with you this philosophy as a tool to shape your next creative work.

By Michael Dogan.


Learn how to display your work in a beautifully simple portfolio like the images used in this article.

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