“You have to be confident to dare to be simple” was the first line that got my attention in this very well-thought-out video from The School of Life.
The first example they use to support the claim is the pressure one may feel in a fancy restaurant to order something out of the ordinary or well… fancy. It has happened to me and probably to most of you out there. All you want is a greasy burger but the occasion calls for something “sophisticated”.
Why is that we may ask?
Being simple can make you vulnerable.
This is true for most of the choices we make, from our wardrobe to our favorite movies and books. We often choose what is popular or acceptable or “sophisticated” in favor of what we genuinely like.
But simplicity is really an achievement.
It certainly is. Simplicity stems in part from a state of “not having to impress others“.
This is especially important when a creative individual creates something not to impress but rather to facilitate evolution or further creation.
It follows from a hard-won clarity about what matters.
The art lies in concealing the art.
Dieter Rams, the subject of the video, chose to design products that improved people’s lives rather then design spectacular things to promote his own glory.
Such modesty stems from a lack on anxiety about being ignored.
We have almost a primordiale instinct to distinguish ourselves from others. In the animal kingdom, when it comes to procreation, standing out is often equated with survival. This isn’t always true in the world of design and function.
We complicate things because we want them to appear “interesting” and…
We don’t readily tell other people that we are a bit stupid.
We often conceal our confusion even to ourselves by complicating what is not complicated. The answer however lies in understanding our own confusion and designing things so they are simple and intuitive.
All the intensity, focus, high standards and the pursuit of integrity that is found in art can be brought into the realm of everyday design. And this is where it stands more of a chance of effecting people.
Here is the video: