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Hass

Design Simplicity

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I am a mechanical engineer by background. Even before starting my engineering degree my ambition was to create new designs. After finishing my engineering postgraduate studies and being involved in engineering for about 10 years, I was convinced design is the way forward for me.

In my believe design is for industry what alphabet is for literature. Everything so far created or invented has some kind of design. But sometimes I ask myself why design is less appreciated and invested in. This was one reason I decided to do a more direct design course at Central Saint Martin, University of the Arts, in London.

I take my design job very seriously. I tend to give my clients as much information as possible. To be honest I go as far as and just stop telling them their idea may not have a market. With two kids and like many other people I work for money too. This is the only reason I do not tell them their idea may not be a winner. Anyway ideas have their own sessions. What today is not sellable next year maybe.

From the beginning of my design, I tend to consider manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and also the environment. However for me simplicity is one of the main decision factors in selecting the best design idea from a selection. Technically speaking I believe simple designs are better but there are times I ask myself do the consumers want simple design too. Aesthetically, it seems some consumers think design simplicity equals luxury. As an engineer simple design equals to good design for these reasons;

- Simple design is easier for consumer to use.

- At least in some cases simple design can be more functional.

- A simple design is manufactured and produced more easily.

- Simple design has less maintenance and repair time.

- Sometimes simple designs cost less for consumer too.

 

However, how far a designer can go to achieve this?

 

Wont over simplification give a cheap image to a design?

 

What do you think? Where one draws the line for simplicity?

 

Thank you for reading.

 

Hass

Creative Director

www.AID4design.com

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Hi Hass. Nice read you given here. The benefits of making design simple you described here are nice. Simplicity is what makes things easier to understand or the least possible use of elements. Simplicity is not only important to remove unnecessary features, but also very important to hide content in a strategical manner such that it does not spoil the simplicity of the design and yet provide most of the functionality that we desire.

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Simplicity is definitely not against aesthetics. So I’d say, yes, it would be nice if the market provided some simple designs alongside with those which aren’t.

 

I would also include the concept of durability in this discussion. “Simple beautiful designs that won’t break easily” could be a good motto for the environmentally and consumer friendly causes in industry.

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Simplicity doesn't mean ZERO design elements.

A simple product may be rich in material texture or well designed ergonomics.

What's more, as a headphone and speaker designer, I found that simpler design fits into our comfort zone much more easily.

Eye catching products has shorter life span from end-user's perspective, as tey'll find it boring easily.

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I was thinking about how Koman put it and he is right. Simple elegance often lasts longer than ostentatious opulence. Design trends shift and move with time but minimalistic ideas always come back round again (long before minimalism there was basic beauty in design).

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Thx Matt. One more thing I'd like to say, is about how people from management level think about Simplicity. Bear in mind that not all people in management level appreciate Simplicity. They usually regard those fancy stuff as "Profound Design", which proved your effort behind the desk. So besides from what we do, I think it's the Presentation Skills that counted too.

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I'm not a huge fan of simple, because I think it's boring. Really that's about it. But there are always exceptions, as Koman touched upon and I agree more extravagant designs are less ergonomically widespread. I can't stand all those funky shaped big mice that are supposed to "follow your hand" and whatever they try to claim. Might work for some people though, but not for me.

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Designing simple products, well products that are perceived as simple, takes a lot of time and work before they become 'simple'. Take the iphone for example. Although the users perceive this as simple i am pretty sure the process of getting it to be 'simple' entailed a lot of work and hours of head scratching. Whether it be an interface or a simple modular furniture connection, if it looks or is simple to use you can be sure the process of getting to the end result was long and massive amounts of hard work.

 

www.norisdesign.wordpress.com

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How far a designer can go to achieve simplicity ..

 

a very smart question Hass, and a good read too you have put up there. By going through your post its very clear that you have a vast experience overall and I am not concerned about design here.

 

Well, as far it comes down to presenting a simple design, and wondering could it still be simple or its just fine.. :) i would call it totally gut feeling of the designer. one can keep improving a design..but you just have to draw a line where you say that's it and it works fine. I remember the first time I saw apple products and first time I touched/used them.. both time it was totally different feeling.. first one being OMG what is this..awesome..and while using it..it was like speechless..most of the time. point being - a product s not simple only by the looks..it got to be as simple to use too ..though out.

 

oh BTW check what the master got to say about it :- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Rams#Rams.27_ten_principles_to_.22good_design.22

 

Good Design is as little design as possible

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