Andrew Curry writes:

Our former colleague Chad Wollen, who has spent the last few years working for digital media companies, sent me a cartoon by Eric Burke that’s being going the rounds in the digital community:

Simplicity by Eric Burke

Judging by the response to the original post, it’s clearly struck a nerve among designers and programmers, even provoking some discussion about the purpose of jokes.

What’s interesting, reading the comments, is that people are taking a somewhat ‘binary’ view of simplicity (it’s either ‘good’ or ‘bad’). As John Maeda reminds us in his Laws of Simplicity, it’s a bit more complicated than that. One of the ‘laws’ of simplicity, he suggests, is to ‘reduce’, for example by removing functionality – the Apple and Google trick. But he also reminds us that simplicity often requires knowledge on the part of the user, that “simplicity and complexity need each other” – and that “some things can never be made simple”. The design skill is knowing what can be, and why.

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