Simplify

by Ben Perreira

Someone much wiser and more clever than myself once said that “good design” isn’t including everything that can be included, it is removing everything that is unnecessary.

Yvon Chouinard includes an exchange in “Let My People Go Surfing” that goes:

Simplify. Simplify. – Speaker 1

One ‘simplify’ would have sufficed. – Speaker 2

This is not to be confused with being simplistic; the power comes in taking something very complex and making it palatable without losing its essence.

Think of giving someone directions from the airport to your house (no Google Maps). You could give all the details (“pass an In-N-Out on the right, look for the ocean on your left, go 3.5 miles on this street, watch for cars coming out of that alley, stay right until you get to this intersection, then stay left, etc.”) or you could be simplistic (“go north”).

Neither of these instructions will work. The former gives too much information to retain without writing something down, and the latter should be reserved for “friends” you’re trying to lose.

Find the balance. And simplify.

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