Clean Design: Making the Cut

Good design is as good for what it leaves out as for what it includes. That’s just the way it is. Clean design is good design. Like good writing it needs to be concise. As well, some things need to be shown as more important than others. You cannot place equal weighting to all items on the site.

One of our most important objectives is to assign a visual hierarchy to all of the elements on a site. This serves to assist the user in locating what they need. To give it usability we give it order. And to give it order we give some things greater value than others.

One of the most difficult things for a client is trying to figure out what to leave out. This is where we also provide an advantage beyond that of just design knowledge. We’re a little more objective and further removed from your product, which makes us better able to visualize what will be important to your site visitor.

In some ways we are in a better position to do this than the people working at the business. Often being so close to the product makes all things equal - all things important. However, we can look at your overall objective, the order of things, and see the site through the eyes of the user to help us make decisions about what has greater value.

But it takes a little trust to release those things that you are attached to, not spell everything out, and let the design speak for itself. Indeed Dieter Rams highlighted clean design in his ten principles of design by stating, "good design is as little design as possible".

Watch this humorous video, that highlights the difference between the excellent clean design packaging of the Apple product vs. the overly complex design of Microsoft packaging standards:

See where busy design with too much information can make things a bit obfuscate? It is true that the iPod package might not display every bit of information about the product. I am sure that there is someone at Apple who worked on the iPod that was furious that the component they worked so hard on developing, and wanted consumers to know about, was not on the packaging.

I’m also pretty sure it didn’t hurt sales of the iPod:

In fact, I’m pretty sure that the simplicity of use, and quality of product design, was much better illustrated through the clean iPod packaging than by ”bulleting” every product function on the product box.

See some examples of the clean designs we have created here on our Portfolio Page.