The Laws of Simplicity - Deepstash

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The book presents laws that the author has created for simplifying our life, and the things we may work on, or design.

The Laws of Simplicity

The Laws of Simplicity

by John Maeda


21.4K reads


The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.

When in doubt, just remove. But be careful of what you remove.

Simplicity is about the unexpected pleasure derived from what is likely to be insignificant and would otherwise go unnoticed.

Fragility is an essential counteracting force to complexity because it can instil pity— which by coincidence also occurs in the word SIMPLICITY!

When all features that can be removed have been, and a product has been made slim, light, and thin, it’s time for the second method: HIDE the complexity through brute-force methods.

Hiding complexity through ingenious mechanical doors or tiny display screens is an overt form of deception. ...

EMBODY-ing quality is primarily a business decision, more than one of design or technology. The quality can be actual, as embodied by better materials and craftsmanship; or the quality can be perceived, as portrayed in a thoughtful marketing campaign.

Exactly where to invest— real or beli...

Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.

To do it:

  • SORT: Write down on small post-it notes each datum to be SLIP-ped. Move them around on a flat surface to find the natural groupings.
  • LABEL: Each group deserves a relevant na...

Shrinking the time of a process can sometimes only go so far, and so an alternative means to “saving” time is to hide its passage by simply removing time displays from the environment.

Knowledge makes everything simpler. Learning occurs best when there is a desire to attain specific knowledge.

To teach:

  • BASICS are the beginning.
  • REPEAT yourself often.
  • AVOID creating desperation.
  • INSPIRE with examples.
  • NEVE...

Simplicity and complexity need each other.

Understand the duality in the world around you.

What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.

This law emphasizes the importance of what might become lost during the design process. That which appears to be of immediate relevance may not be nearly as important compared to everything else around. Our goa...

The opportunity lost by increasing the amount of blank space is gained back with enhanced attention on what remains.

There is an important tradeoff between being completely lost in the unknown and completely found in the familiar. Too familiar can have the positive aspect ...

Our society, systems, and artefacts require active engagement in care, attention, and feeling— the business value may not be immediately apparent. But the fulfilment from living a meaningful life is the ROE (Return on Emotion).

A certain kind of more is always better than less— more care, ...

  • In simplicity we trust.
  • The goal of LEAN BACK is to achieve relaxation as the desired state.
  • Overconfidence is usually the enemy of greatness, and there’s little room for personal ego when pleasing a customer is the true priority.
  • The more a system knows about you...

  • Some things can never be made simple.
  • There’s always an ROF (Return On Failure) when you try to simplify— which is to learn from your mistakes.
  • Deeming something as complex or simple requires a frame of reference.

Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

  • Key 1: AWAY More appears like less by simply moving it far, far away.
  • Key 2: OPEN Openness simplifies complexity.
  • Key 3: POWER Use less, gain more.

LIFE - Technolo...

  • REDUCE - The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
  • ORGANIZE - Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
  • TIME - Savings in time feel like simplicity.
  • LEARN - Knowledge makes everything simpler.
  • DIFFERENCES - Simplicity...

75 Reactions



created 19 ideas

These 10 laws about how to reach simplicity and exploit it for better work and life are really enlightening.



5.61K reads

created 6 ideas

The less you say, the more intimidating and powerful you are. Always say less than necessary. When you do speak, make it vague and ambiguous, leaving the meaning to others to interpret. They’ll be frustrated and obsessed with trying to figure you out. 



2.52K reads

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