March 01, 2017

NFTF#30 Two Kinds of Simple

Hello, friends*. 

A significant part of the work I do these days is focused around creating simplicity. The kind of simplicity I'm talking about may be different than what you have in your mind. The type I'm referring to is informed simplicity.

Let me explain.

Ask any child to draw a picture of their home and you'll get a simple picture. My four year old, Matthew, did one the other day. The page was colored with green crayon for the grass, a yellow circle with lines coming out of it for the sun, and a brown box with a triangle on top for a house. Oh, and there were five stick figures in the yard. Two big ones (me and Sherry), two small ones (he and his brother), and our dog. It's a simple drawing. But it's simple because that's all he knows and all he can do. 

Now look at Piet Mondrian. He's one of my favorite modern artists. His most famous paintings are simple. But unlike Matthew's drawing, he applies informed simplicity. It's by choice. Piet takes the complex and subrtacts all the parts that don't work or get in the way. What's interesting is Mondrian was an impressionist early in his career and later on developed the clear abstract style called De Stijl or "the style". 

Coco Chanel's famous quote comes to mind.

"Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off."

This applies to software features, design, marketing and especially copywriting. It also applies to relationships and strategies.

The hard part is knowing what is the right thing to remove. This is a big part of my job and a lesson I'll always be learning.

Until next time.

Honestly,

- David

P.S. Acceptance released a new record for the first time in over a decade. It's on repeat all month.
P.P.S. The state of advertising right now.
P.P.P.S. Good article/interview with Scott Belsky on the importance of your product's first mile (works for services too).

*New here or want to peruse past editions? Check out the archives!