The Laws of Simplicity

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MIT Press, Jul 7, 2006 - Design - 128 pages
Ten laws of simplicity for business, technology, and design that teach us how to need less but get more.

Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We're rebelling against technology that's too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte "read me" manuals. The iPod's clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that's simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design—guidelines for needing less and actually getting more.

Maeda—a professor in MIT's Media Lab and a world-renowned graphic designer—explores the question of how we can redefine the notion of "improved" so that it doesn't always mean something more, something added on.

Maeda's first law of simplicity is "Reduce." It's not necessarily beneficial to add technology features just because we can. And the features that we do have must be organized (Law 2) in a sensible hierarchy so users aren't distracted by features and functions they don't need. But simplicity is not less just for the sake of less. Skip ahead to Law 9: "Failure: Accept the fact that some things can never be made simple." Maeda's concise guide to simplicity in the digital age shows us how this idea can be a cornerstone of organizations and their products—how it can drive both business and technology. We can learn to simplify without sacrificing comfort and meaning, and we can achieve the balance described in Law 10. This law, which Maeda calls "The One," tells us: "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful."


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dkords - LibraryThing

There's nothing but good things one can say about the concept of this book. Redefine the world of complexity by cutting it down to the essence of what matters. Give meaning and passion to technology ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - getaneha - LibraryThing

The 100 pages book itself is meticulously designed, the ten laws of simplicity aptly presented, Maeda, an MIT professor, argues that the issue of simplicity versus complexity affects every realm of ... Read full review


Law 1 Reduce
Law 2 Organize
Law 3 Time
Law 4 Learn
Law 5 Differences
Law 6 Context
Law 7 Emotion
Law 8 Trust
Law 9 Failure
Law 10 The One
Key 1 Away
Key 2 Open
Key 3 Power

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About the author (2006)

An internationally recognized leader at the intersection of design and technology, John Maeda is Executive Vice President/Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient. He was the 16th President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He is the author of Design by Numbers, The Laws of Simplicity, and Redesigning Leadership, all published by The MIT Press.

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