One of the greatest temptations in creating art is to keep adding. Adding is easy and doesn’t require intentionality. The conversation usually goes like this:

“We need this piece of information, and this piece, and this one, and make the logo bigger, and what if we added this, and….”

Some of the best art created – art that communicates best – knows how to keep it really, really simple!

So what are the rules?

  • Start with the most important stuff. What is absolutely necessary?
  • Don’t be afraid to work it. Edit it down. Delete. Rework the language. Figure how you can say something in 8 words rather than 10. Then 5. Then 3.
  • Make sure everything you include, every feature and element, creates value for the end user. If it doesn’t, it’s not worth including.
  • Allow the editing process to be focused on “least common denominator.”
  • Create to the smallest canvas. What is the smallest version this piece will be used? Mobile? Website? iTunes postage stamp image? Create for the smallest canvas and it will scale to the largest.
  • Think through how people will use this piece. What do they need? Give them only that.
  • Create a culture where it’s okay to be simple. Simplicity is sometimes sacrificed because of fear. When we build a culture that creates a safe place for simplicity, it gives permission for people to subtract, rather than add.

Remember that, when we create, we have to make sure what we build communicates well. When it doesn’t, we cost ourselves impact.

When we go into editing and approval, look for data. Opinions are everywhere, but data actually makes the difference. Push back and fight for simplicity. It matters.

What are your rules for simplicity

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