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MARCH 10, 2011

Is less really more?

Artwork from article As design advice, Mies van der Rohe's "Less is more" has always made sense to me. A common rookie designer mistake is over-designing things, making them too "creative," adding variety where simplicity would be better.

Web design seems especially fertile ground for this particular malady. Think of all the pointless animations, frustrating drop-down menus and annoying image sliders that have kept you from getting what you wanted from a website.

There seems to be a nearly irresistible urge among newbie web designers to make things move: "Ooh, look! I can make it spin/slide/blink. Let's do it!"

This of course is a prescription for disaster if not done right. Design master Milton Glaser puts it this way: "Just enough is more."

These thoughts were provoked by an interesting article from FastCompany, Is "Undesigned" the Next Great Web Trend? Designers need to understand that there's a huge difference between traditional graphic (print) design and web design. From the article:

Digital design isn't fading, but it is changing: to keep pace with evolving technology, to drive new economics, to satisfy users' dynamic desires. Indeed, the fact that we tend to call them "users" in the first place—instead of viewers, readers, or audiences—is important to keep in mind when considering the role or future of digital design. Online, content is a tool. We use it. It's not passive and neither are we. And if its design hinders that use, we get irritable.

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