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Good Design is… The Series

March 11, 2009

 I recently read two books, John Maeda’s The Laws of Simplicity and Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham. Each, it their own way have inspired me to start a series of what “Good Design Is.”

Through my exploration it has been amazing to see how John and Paul’s theories hold true across all brackets of the design industry; fashion, graphic design, art, industrial design, etc. They are both tech-guys at heart. John Maeda is one of my FAVORITE designers. I have followed his career for years since I saw him speak at an AIGA event in Chicago years ago. 

Here are John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity:

  1. Reduce. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
  2. Organize. Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
  3. Time. Savings in time feel like simplicity.
  4. Learn. Knowledge makes everything simpler.
  5. Differences. Simplicity and complexity need each other.
  6. Context. What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.
  7. Emotion. More emotions are better than less.
  8. Trust. In simplicity we trust.
  9. Failure. Some things can never be made simple.
  10. The One. Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Paul’s categories:

  1. Good design is Simple.
  2. Good Design is Timeless.
  3. Good Design solves the Right Problem
  4. Good Design is Suggestive.
  5. Good design is often slightly Funny. 
  6. Good Design is Hard.
  7. Good Design looks Easy.
  8. Good Design uses Symmetry.
  9. Good Design resembles Nature.
  10. Good Design is Redesign.
  11. Good Design can Copy. 
  12. Good Design is often Strange.
  13. Good Design happens in Chunks.
  14. Good Design is often Daring.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. enspacedesign permalink
    March 11, 2009 8:26 pm

    Great posting here guys, are there going to be more of these? Perhaps we should link blogs… I think my readers would be interested in this as well?


  1. Early 1990 Hip Hop Essentials: Good Design happens in chunks. « Hello Designers

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