The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda



  1. Maeda very clearly lays out 10 Laws of Simplicity and 3 keys to be mindful of in any walk of life whenever you are trying to simplify.
Key Takeaways
  1. Have fewer things
  2. Be organized
  3. Learn as much as possible, especially about your given craft
  4. Some things can never be made simple and that is a good thing
What I got out of it
  1. Very straightforward read which offers clear guidelines and actionable steps to declutter and simplify your life

Read The Laws of Simplicity

Laws of Simplicity website

Basic simplicity laws

1. Thoughtful reduction – be careful of what you remove. Shrink the product, hide the complexity and embody quality into product
2. Organize – makes the many appear fewer and more manageable. What goes with what (slip – sort, label, integrate and prioritize )
3. Save time- savings in time feels like simplicity and waiting is associate with complexity. A reduced wait is an in amiable reward and are loyal to companies who help us achieve this. Balance between shrinking wait time and making wait time more tolerable

Intermediate Simplicity Laws

4. Learn – knowledge makes everything simpler. Put yourself in a first time learners shoes if trying to teach. Repetition is key and related to simplicity. Help people avoid desperation. Relate, translate and surprise the user.
5. Simplicity and complexity need each other – do not know fat if have only seen skinny.
6. Context – what lies in the periphery is definitely not peripheral. Be a lightbulb
Instead of a laser to illuminate everything around you. Ambiance is everywhere and all important

Deep Simplicity Laws

7. More emotions are better than less – smiley faces in texts and emails. An object or service makes you feel something and then you feel for it (protect iPod with case)
8. In simplicity we Trust – trust those who’s skill in an area greater than your own (chef tasting menu). Trust implicitly and then adapt if necessary
9. Some things can never be made simple – and some things you do not want simplicity in (relationships, certain art…).

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

3 Keys

1. More appears like less by moving it far away (technology on the cloud)
2. openness simplifies complexity
3. Use less, gain more – urgency and the creative spirit go hand in hand

As great as Technology is, it can also be a disabler as we become too reliant on it for everyday tasks

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