book: the laws of simplicity

Book: The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)

John Maeda has worked in industry, and more recently as a design teacher at MIT. I grabbed this book from the library from a recommendation from the Boagworld podcast. It’s a short read (only 100 pages) but provides a helpful framework for thinking about how to reduce the complexity in a design project.

There are ten laws in the book, and a postscript:

1 reduce (she – shrink, hide, embody)
2 organise
3 time (savings feel like simplicity)

4 learn (brain – basics, repeat, avoid, inspire, never)
5 differences
6 context

7 emotion
8 trust
9 failure

10. The one: away/open/power

Insecurity: Be neither too insecure to start something, nor so secure that you don’t recognise your failures.

Maeda puts a lot of himself and his experiences into the book, and it’s richer for it. The sense of (8) trust leading to simplicity, for example, is illustrated through the notion of a sushi master, to whom you entrust your meal, and receive a beautifully tailored experience without having to make difficult choices.

It seems a book that’s worth spending an hour reading, and some further time considering how to simplify those things we create.

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