Why Simple Design is Better Design

Stop taking advantage of your audience.

Many people have asked why sites, brands, and work I create seem so “plain” when compared to others in the same industry. A lot of people see and appreciate my minimal style of work, but others poke fun at and are confused as to why it doesn’t look like most others that they see or use. There is actually a really simple answer to that: Most other products do not care about you as the user.

As someone who has to constantly be aware of what I put out to 160,000 people on Calligritype, the popular design news and inspiration brand I run, I am always faced with two main ways of approaching how I portray content to these users:

  1. Convey what will make me the most money and get the most that I can from this large audience.
  2. Convey content in a simpler, more curated way that attracts a user more as well as take up the least amount of their time.

This may seem like an easy choice, and it should be, but it is not the case for the majority of other products and sites out there. Ads, site views, hang times, money, pride, all clouding the way a lot of people choose to run their products and websites.

Now, in a time that we have so much influence on the way people live through technology, why do we choose to focus on what we can get out of others? Why are we stacking content on top of more content to suck people deeper into their phones and computers? We as people with this power to influence daily lives should be making things simpler for our users.

Creating great UX should not be veered by money. If you have a great product or website and you are advertising other great ideas and products, the site views and clicks will come. Giving a false identity to yourself or the companies you endorse will always have a bad ending, no matter how much you pay or try and force an outcome from users.

I choose a simpler, more genuine approach to my work and the brands that I create. I want people to enjoy my work in the way that they see best fit with the least amount of influence on the outcome of the experience.

Beautifully designed interfaces and brands will almost always get the response that you are looking for as long as the idea and product behind what they represent is a great one. Vice versa, a low-quality brand with a forced interface will have a much harder time succeeding these days, no matter how brilliant the idea and product is behind it.

For example, I know Calligritype’s brand will continue to have success even into the launch of the brand’s site because of the great deal of thought that has gone into the idea of the brand and removal of low-quality distractions that have gone into the process of both curation and creation of Calligritype. If I followed the path of most sites, having two or even three column sites with ads scattered throughout that confuse the hell out of most users, or crappy work that I was paid to post, I don’t think I would have even half the amount of success that I have been blessed with thusfar.

Removal of what is not important or even necessary while still providing a usable and familiar interface was an issue that I tackled for months when creating Calligritype’s site, and I still want to improve through the feedback we will receive.

The one thing that we need to keep in mind when we are creating is how you as a consumer would want to be treated by a company. Would you want your time wasted or to be taken advantage of by a company or brand that preaches to always have your best interest in mind? No. There is no reason why you should create with any mindset different to that.

Removal of what will not benefit the experience of a user or inhibit enjoyment and ease of use of a product is key to this mindset. There are better ways to display ads or cause a preferred flow and it is important for us to go out of our way to discover the best approach to this.

“Above all, we are all human.”

Above all, we are all human. and one thing life should have taught us is we should all be treated fairly. Don’t create something you wouldn’t want to use or that would make you feel uncomfortable as a consumer. Develop something genuine and with the same passion that caused you to love the path you have chosen through simple, honest design.

I hope you found this relatable, inspiring, and gave you some insight into the type of work I create and the reasoning behind my choices. If you did, be sure to follow for more and recommend the story so others can be inspired as well. Anyways, thanks for reading and hope you have a great day!

— Dennis Cortes