Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci
Quotes are great for inspiration, but if simplicity is sophisticated then doesn’t that contradict? The best way we know how to explain this contradicting is that it’s a paradox.
Design + Chaos. Clean + Dirty. Straight + Off the Beaten Path.
Each of these seems to head a different direction than the other; however, they are actually quite connected. If both do not exist, then there is no room for choice. And this is the point where you walk away confused and scratching your head. But don’t worry, we’ll explain.
Great stories exist because of the storyline an author created three parts: plot, climax, resolution. Simple. Yet Complicated. A nice formula. But a challenge nonetheless.
So on to the point of design. The point of design is to allow simplicity to rule it. Design is a product of imagination and art and sight and beauty and inspiration. And our role as designers is to allow for this realm of endless possibilities to not control us, but fuel us toward the simple solution to whatever problem we are working on solving.
This is the ultimate form of sophistication.
There’s a reason every great designer talks about throwing away ideas, how the best ideas never see the light of day, how they have to work really hard to pare down the offerings, create the most useful product, or assemble the most efficient turbine.
So the next time you pull out your artboard, or open Photoshop, Illustrator, or Sketch, be reminded that you are entering a sophisticated world of work that’s been striving for generations to create solutions to the world’s hardest problems. People don’t even realize the work that goes into solutions because the answers seem so simple. Do this and be reminded of this. Then, you’ll understand the simplicity of design.