“Keep it simple stupid” is great advice. Here’s the best way to do it.


What’s the best way to keep things simple?

John Maeda is a computer scientist — and an artist. He’s the President of the Rhode Island School of Design and founder of the SIMPLICITY consortium at the MIT Media Lab.

His book, The Laws of Simplicity, is a short set of meditations on simplicity, and how we can use it to better our lives and work.

The Kiss Principle (“Keep it simple stupid”) is an old design idea from the Navy. But how do you make things simple if they’re already complex?

The easiest way is to reduce functionality — to have them do less. But now you have something that’s less effective.

You need to cut, but you want to keep the value.

What guideline does Maeda say you should follow?

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.”


More choice words from Maeda’s musings on the power of the simple:

On blank space:

The opportunity lost by increasing the amount of blank space is gained back with enhanced attention on what remains. More white space means that less information is presented. In turn, proportionately more attention shall be paid to that which is made less available. When there is less, we appreciate everything much more.

On insecurity:

The thing with insecurity, is that if you are too insecure, then you don’t grow – because you’re paralyzed by the fear of failure… On the other hand, if you have no insecurity, then you don’t grow either – because your head is so big that you can’t recognize your failures.

On the difference between art and design:

The best art makes your head spin with questions. Perhaps this is the fundamental distinction between pure art and pure design. While great art makes you wonder, great design makes things clear.

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

Which professions have the most psychopaths? The fewest?

What is the single most important life lesson older people feel young people need to know?

Post Details