stephenprocter designdoctor


Simplicity- the new Sophistication [August 2006]

I worked at a well known Sydney design consultancy for seven years. During this time I noticed a problem that I call the ‘white background effect’. Basically this means that designers have a tendency to design an object as if it is to be viewed against a white background.

Unfortunately in real life this is never the case- objects in our lives must COMPETE with each other for attention. When you realise that this is the case, you begin to design to make an object look completely different from other objects so as to stand out. In other words, designing for differentiation. Most products are designed with the designer thinking of them against a white background, and are therefore overly complex looking (they add swirls and swishes to make the product look less ‘boring’, and more ‘interesting’- not realising that this will make the product get lost in the clutter of other products with swirls and swishes). Therefore, the best way to achieve differentiation is by making the object look simple.