“I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.”

Lindon Leader

Imagine walking through a labyrinth—surrounded by high walls, presented with a myriad of twists and turns, and encountering countless dead ends. A sense of confusion washes over you, the weight of the unknown hinders your every step, an overwhelming challenge lies before you. It’s a complex jigsaw puzzle, an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. This is the opposite of simplicity.

Now, instead, picture this. A straight, wide path cutting through a serene forest. No misleading detours, no puzzling turns, no confounding dead ends. It’s the expressway of comprehension, a highway to understanding. It wields Occam’s Razor to slice through the labyrinthine clutter, highlighting and prioritizing the essential. Simplicity is like the morning sun that evaporates the fog of complexity. It doesn’t make your brain wrestle with questions; rather, it unfurls the answers for you to grasp easily.

When we transpose this philosophy to design, simplicity takes on a similar role. It isn’t about minimalism or bare aesthetics, and it isn’t a game of how many elements you can strip away. It’s a masterstroke of removing barriers, eliminating obstacles, and creating a seamless connection between the user and the solution. Simplicity in design is like the conductor of an orchestra, ensuring every element plays in perfect harmony to deliver a flawless symphony of user experience.

Now, think back to that foggy day. Everything is hazy, every shape indistinct. The world is masked in an obscurity that makes navigation arduous. But then, the radiant sun slices through the gloom, casting its lucidity over everything. Suddenly, every leaf, every stone, every building leaps into focus. That’s clarity.

Clarity takes the abstract and weaves it into something tangible. It takes the complex and makes it relatable. Like a magnifying glass, it brings into focus the details that matter, the heart of the problem. It sifts through the sand of superfluous detail to find the gold nugget of understanding.

And when we talk about clarity in design, it doesn’t translate to starkness or cold precision. It’s about weaving a narrative that resonates with users, about crafting a story that captivates and engages. It’s about kindling a light in the darkness to lead the user, not to the designer’s idea, but to the solution of their problem.

Now, picture this. Simplicity and clarity, two dancers in an intricately choreographed ballet. When they take the stage together, a magic happens, a synergy is created that transforms the stage. It’s in this dance that a design comes alive, a design that is not just pleasing to the eyes but also meaningful to the heart. It’s a design that has people at its core, problems as its opponent, and solutions as its anthem.

Simplicity and clarity don’t merely craft design—they forge experiences. They don’t just make things look good—they make things do good. They bring about design that offers real, tangible value. Not because it’s dressed up in fancy attire, but because it performs, because it facilitates, because it makes life a tad bit easier, a tad bit better.

That’s the essence of great design. It’s simplicity and clarity, hand in hand, working in unison, to solve problems and create value. It’s a testament to human-centricity, a proclamation of purpose. It’s design that understands, empathizes, and above all, delivers.

Now isn’t that a beautiful dance to behold?

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.