Sunday, June 26, 2005


simplicity and the simplistic

Simplicity is not a way of life, it is a sales benefit of Philips products. I find a heavy, "special advertising insert" from Philips in the New Yorker announcing their "Simplicity Advisory Board." Note to Philips: I volunteer to join the board, to give you a bit of contrarian perspective so your thinking doesn't become to simplistic.

Philips has explored the theme of "emotional design" as much as any company, so I find there current focus on simplicity hard to understand. Simplicity is the enemy of emotional design. Simplicity appeals to the rational and discrete, while complexity appeals to the subtle and nuanced.

As Robert Chia has noted:
While the traditional scientific mentality emphasizes the simplification of our experiences into manageable "principles", "axioms," etc., literature and the arts have persistently emphasized the task of complexifying our thinking processes and hence sensitizing us to the subtle nuances of contemporary modern life.
True, I want some things to be simple, things that annoy me, or tax my brain. But the sexy design stuff that Philips shows in their adverts -- no, give me richness, not straight-forwardness.

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