An interesting property of great design is that it is taken for granted. It works so well that we forget that creative effort was involved to bring it about. Sometimes, like with the lowly spoon, the object is so simplistic that it seems obvious, and we disregard that at one point in history it wasn’t. Other times, like with the automobile, the object is so sophisticated yet easy-to-use that we’re blinded to the fact that millions and millions of human-hours went into getting it to this point.
That’s a shame…every great design has a rich history. And every design has behind it a designer or designers who tried to make the world a better place by solving some problem or another.
Bad design is obvious because it hurts to use. It is awkward, difficult, and complex. In a great irony of the world, bad design is much easier to see than good design. It raps us on the head like a bully. Because of its success, great design is often invisible.
Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.
As Saint Exupery said, “In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.” Simplicity is treading a line: knowing what to keep and what to throw away…it comes across as magic when it works, because none of the complexity is transferred to users…only simplicity. That is the highest achievement for a designer.