The simple power of less is more

Everything begins and ends with ¨Less is more¨

Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding in the meaningful.
— John Maeda

Before beginning any marketing activity, we like to begin with the following question: How can I create less to deliver more? And, before we hit the post or send button, we take a step back and ask ourselves a similar question: Can I take away (even more) to create more impact

In an age of visual, information, and distraction overflow, our minds and eyes crave simplicity. Simple color palettes, less clutter, more white space, intentional words. When combined, these concepts create a sense of flow and togetherness to help you deliver maximum impact for your message. 

The origins of minimalist design, and why it matters in marketing

Very often people confuse simple with simplistic. The nuance is lost on most.
— Clement Monk
Photo from  Antanas Kazilunas

While marketing is both an art and a science, the art of marketing is in how you combine visuals and words to create a story that will connect with your audience.

Design is a big part this. Design is much more than the visual look of something. It is a process of imagining and planning the creation of your idea. It is about putting yourself in the shoes of the person who is going to be using or reading or looking at whatever you are creating, and creating it with them in mind.

The concept that simplicity leads to good design is a phrase adopted in 1947 by architect and furniture designer Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, one of the founders of modern architecture and a proponent of simplicity of style.

Simplicity also connotes clarity of concept and ideas. When you’ve stripped something down to its essence, you’ve brought forth the most essential parts of what you are trying to showcase and communicate. I love what marketer Marc Schenker says about the minimalism design trend:

No discussion on minimalism would ever be complete without a reference to Japan’s traditional culture of Zen philosophy. When we say “Zen” in today’s terms, we often think meditation and calm; however, in design terms, Zen is the epitome of minimalism, especially the way Japanese designers use it.
— Marc Schenker

As Marc points out, one of the most important principles in Zen is the concept of negative space, or Ma, a Japanese word which can be roughly translated as a “gap, pause space, or the space between two structural parts.” Effectively using the empty space between different elements is an important defining element in effective website design, PowerPoint, and just about any other kind of design in marketing.

Practicing less is more: Choose wisely

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
— Hans Hoffman

Most marketing nowadays relies on visual content. The power of Apple’s simplicity in messaging, storytelling, and design has been a global example that has set the standard for the less is more marketing principle. Yet, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the average PowerPoint slide has 40 words. Imagining 40 words on one PowerPoint slide makes my eyes grow heavy and my head start spinning.

Our one tip to practicing less is more is to use restraint; choose every element wisely, and distill down to what’s fundamental and necessary. Simplify your content and adhere to visual hierarchy principles, including the Rule of 3 for effective communication. And as Albert Einstein so wisely said, if you can’t explain it to a six year old, then you don’t understand it yourself.