The Designer’s “Rule of Thumb”
Some time ago, while working on a project alongside a desiner friend of mine. We were looking over one of the drafts I was submitting for consideration when he said that I should use the designer’s rule of thumb. I asked him to explain and this is what he said. “If you can put your thumb over something in the design, and if that design still works without that element, throw it out.”
That seemed like a great rule and one that I submit all of my design drafts to. But lately I am begging to question wheather this is a good rule to follow.
Less is more
In design school I was taught that design was an extension of my artistic ability—I suppose this could be argued both ways. I graduated thinking that the reason why I was good at design was because I was a good artist and that if I wanted to design well, each of my designs needed to have my artistic signature. Well my first job was enough to learn that this was just not the case. I don’t want to get into the “is design art or not” argument, but I quickly replaced this philosophy with the more popular “less is more.”
Just enough is more
Today I read an essay by Milton Glaser over at miltonglaser.com titled “Ten Things I Have Learned.” Number five on Glaser’s list synthesised exactly what I have been thinking about the “less is more philosopy.”
Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless…. I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate.