Good design is easier if you use less stuff

Good visual design has an impact. It makes an impression. Maybe the viewer feels a certain emotion. Or they’re impressed by the small details. Or the design is so clear that they know exactly what to do.

Impact is hard if you use a lot of elements in your design. Every element must work together or it won’t be good. You probably already understand this concept. Imagine a group project. The project is harder if the group is bigger. Every person has to work with every other person. The number of relationships jumps up every time you add a person.

The same is true for visual design. Every element has a relationship with every other element. You need to look after every relationship in your design. If you add more elements you need to pay attention to more relationships. This is hard.

Every element you add is a chance to make a mistake. To weaken the impact of your design.

So use less stuff in your visual design. Each element has more impact when you use less elements. A pink circle on a white background is impossible to ignore. A pink circle in a field of coloured circles is normal. Easy to miss.

It seems like one of the reasons why it’s useful to have fewer things in the first place, because, as you get that…exponential growth, it just gets harder and harder to do a good job. There’s definitely instances of maximalism in design where people put a lot of stuff on the screen or in a house or whatever it is that look great, but that’s a lot harder to do.

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