Busy isn’t better

By Ollie Noble

Sometimes it’s difficult to get your voice heard, especially in a marketplace where competitors share a similar message. But is showing everything all at once necessary to achieve this goal?

This can often be a pain point within design. People often believe, that it’s integral for a design to show every last detail of what their product has to offer. But this isn’t always needed and can be off putting, hard to read, and hard to remember for the consumer.

Actually, sometimes the best thing to do is to simplify everything to its most basic form. In the image accompanying this post you can clearly see the portrait of a man, no excess detail was necessary, and in fact it’s the absence of these details that gain attention and keep these images in your mind long after you’ve initially consumed them. In the artists own words “I wanted to capture a human spark with minimal intervention”, job well done Sal, A+.

The reason this is so successful is due to how easily readable and memorable its parts are, one colour, one shape; even for me that’s not hard to remember. But why is that the case?

Let’s have a look at the science behind this “basically, your retina converts visual information from the real world into electrical impulses. Those impulses are then routed through the appropriate photoreceptor cells to transmit colour and light information to the brain. The more colour and light variations on the page (i.e. the greater the visual complexity), the more work the eye has to do to send information to the brain.”

This is why when creating a design, it’s very important to have a hierarchy set in place attaining to the importance of the given information, that way if the consumer is going to remember anything, it’s what you want them to. Because let’s face it, when you think about the packaging of the food you ate yesterday, what do you remember about it… the logo, maybe the flavour (colour) – but I bet you can’t remember the weight of the product.

A good comparison between effective hierarchy, and the overcrowding of a space that is then unable to achieve an effective hierarchy can be seen below.

Aesthetically and scientifically, sometimes simple is just better.

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