Good Design Is Always Simple

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One of the great masters of the 20th century Mies van der Rohe once uttered the famous sentence of €Less is More€. This short sentence succinctly encapsulates the essence of minimalism which is a design style that emphasizes on the arrangement of clean lines and clear order of space in architecture. The idea behind this sentence is so powerful that it has effectively influenced not just architects but designers of all disciplines as well.

The most obvious influence from this quote is on the design of logos and symbols. Established graphic designers will tell you that a simple logo can be registered in consumers' mind easier and as a result people can associate it with the product better. One very classic example is Nike's logo. This simple and yet powerful logo of Nike successfully project the brand to a higher level as majority of people can read and comprehend it at ease. When a symbol becomes too complicated and overcrowded with many elements such as the design of school badges; people will have difficulty in differentiating one from the other. Furthermore, most good logos don't have any text associated with it. The moment there is text in the design of logo, it needs to be written in a certain language. If people do not understand that language, then the logo has failed in its function as a marketing tool. It will be an opportunity loss to whichever company that has this type of logo. It is acceptable if the product is just being targeted for the local market as people within that market may still comprehend it. However, if the product is being exported to another country, then its message may not get delivered across to the consumers overseas.

Recently I came across a souvenir card which I think was cleverly designed to represent a country. The moment I saw the card, I can instantly tell that this souvenir must be from Vietnam as there is a cut-out lady wearing the traditional dress riding on bicycle which is a clear representation of that country. When I opened the card, a much more detailed cut-out lady on bicycle with colors popped out. This image further confirms to me that the card is indeed a souvenir from Vietnam. What I like most about the card is its simple design. When observed carefully, there is not a single word trying to explain what the card is all about. The design only relies on an image as a symbol to represent an entire country. This is indeed less is more.


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