I admire designers who practice simplicity in their designs. I suppose you could call them minimalists. I’ll also admit that although I’ve always admired them, I didn’t used to care about keeping things simple.
When I was first starting out, a good part of my portfolio was full of complex solutions. Even in the early days of Greenline Creative, things were probably much more complicated than they needed to be, which cost me in so many ways. Today I’m more focused on keeping things simple.
So, first things first: Simplicity is not a style.
I think many designers view simplicity as a style of design. It’s not that. Simplicity is a philosophy with great return. Eliminating complexities in your processes, designs, and life creates a more streamlined and effective solution. And that helps you reach your end goal much faster.
Simplicity makes you money
When you put simplicity at the forefront of your solutions, you will make more money. A simple solution reduces infrastructure and business costs along the way, ensuring a higher profit.
Simplicity means efficiency
When it comes to simplicity, perhaps the biggest gain is in efficiency. By creating simple processes and solutions, you can iterate, adapt, and scale much faster than with complex, production-heavy design ideas and processes. With simple processes, anyone in your company can learn and take action on things. It’s a win-win for you, your clients, and your team.
Simplicity means better conversion
Believe it or not, people don’t like to have a ton of choices—and they want the answer to be clear. Practice simplicity in your designs and solutions, and you’ll improve your conversion rate by eliminating the noise. Often, young designers or marketers think they need to explain things more in order to improve the conversion of their CTA (call to action).
The reality is, they don’t. They just need to take away a few elements and give the visitor a quick and simple next step.
Simplicity isn’t cheap
I’ve found the simplest of solutions are the hardest to create. Just because your solutions are simple and may require less time for production and implementation, that doesn’t mean they’re worthless. I’d even go as far as saying they’re probably worth more, because the simplicity of the solutions will return greater results today and in the long term for the client.
A final note
Having learned from my early mistakes of over-complicating my solutions, I feel like I now offer more value to my clients and team members. I know that simple solutions convert better. They also make me more money because I can stay on budget and reduce my implementation costs.
This desire to practice a more simplified philosophy comes from me wanting to create solutions that are not just polished, but more importantly, generate a better return for my clients. Deciding whether to create a solution that looks great and utilizes a ton of new technologies (just because you can use them) is what makes the difference in your solutions and code being timeless or amateurish over a period of time.
Don’t get me wrong. You should explore technology and evolve as a designer, but just know when and where to use it. When in doubt, ask yourself, “What cost will this decision have now and down the road? How much will I really gain by making it today?”
It’s with those types of questions that you start to move past design for design’s sake and on to design that communicates and encourages action.