This year saw several new articles to back up my strategy of "Good design is as little design as possible". Dieter Rams said that, not me.
There's currently a Dieter Rams exhibition on at the Design Museum and accordingly there's a whole raft of interviews on the web, which is a good a time as any to review his 10 design principles. They're all great, but "Good design is as little design as possible" is the one that's closest to my own personal design philosophy.
Often, more design gets in the way. Often, more design doesn't help, it merely adds more problems. The trouble with this philosophy in a job where you get paid to design is that people think you're shirking the working. Or that you're trying to get away with doing very little.
This isn't the case.
As Rory Sutherland (again more eloquently than I) points out, "the problems arising from excessive intervention – because “we must be seen to do something” – outweigh the benefits." In July he wrote a brilliant article about the perils of intervening because you have to justify your existence. And in the way only Rory Sutherland can he cited the examples of the many people with personal physicians who die young.
"I can imagine what it must be like to be a personal physician. Every day you must feel you have to do something to justify your existence. Yet, in truth, most of the time people are better off being medically left alone most of the time. And most illnesses may be best treated with rest and a little warmth."
It's a brilliant article, well worth a read.
To further elaborate on my point eloquently read this article by Michael Bierut. As I pointed out earlier in the year he lists several pointers to being a successful designer. Here are the first three.
1. Keep it simple.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel [Part 1].
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel [Part 2].
Can you see a pattern building?
Good design is as little design as possible. The problems arising from excessive intervention outweigh the benefits. Keep it simple. Don’t reinvent the wheel