The Power of Simplicity

VANMOOF Bicycle

In his book Insanely Simple, Ken Segall shares many of the experiences he gained working whilst with Apple on numerous marketing campaigns, including the infamous Think Different campaign.

One of the main insights that really resonated with me was the idea of the simple stick. A metaphorical device that is used to reduce an idea to it’s simplest possible form.

At the start of the book Ken tells a story about a package-design team that presented a new idea to Steve Jobs and got ‘hit by the simple stick’. Steve rejected their packing design, not because it was bad, but because it did not fulfill the potential for simplicity.

Simplicity is the ultimate elegance in design. Whether you are crafting a physical product, a website or writing some server software, making things simple is rarely a bad idea. That’s not to say that simplicity is easily achieved. It is often the case that simplicity is only accomplished after overcoming many complex challenges in the creation of a product.

There are few companies around today that truly understand the power of simplicity. Of course Apple is one of the most well known, but companies like IDEO, VANMOOF and Square can also be looked at as champions of this belief. These are companies that don’t just imitate the simplicity achieved by others but that hold simplicity amongst their core values.

Next time you are designing something — whether it be a website, a computer program or even a business strategy — ask yourself: how can you distill this creation to it’s simplest form?