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The Brand-Changing Magic of Simplifying Your Design

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a natural hoarder. I’m not so bad that I need my own television show, but I’ve always held on to things much longer than necessary. When my husband and I had our first child a year ago, we suddenly became aware that we were absolutely swimming in stuff. My wedding dress with the punch stain. The un-openable vintage book someone gave to me. Notes from college courses. Lots of other things that I really don’t like, won’t use, don’t remember collecting, and so on. I was at my wit’s end trying to keep everything in order; it was taking more brain space than I had to spare. I was ready to start simplifying my life.

And so, this past summer we started paring down, following the book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Amazingly, with every pitch of a textbook and clothing donation, I was able to think clearly and keep track of everything else in my life much better. I even started spending my time and money more carefully. I just had too much, and it was difficult to keep it all organized and prioritized. I started thinking: isn’t this the same with design? Isn’t this why simple design works so well?

Examine this with me. The more unique items you have on a page, the harder it is to pay attention to the most important items on it. The more a reader has to visually consume, the more she has to mentally keep track of, and the less likely she is to retain it. Especially considering the desire for instant-gratification and short attention span of today’s culture, you can see why it’s easy to overwhelm someone by filling every inch of white space, just because it’s there.

You know what? Let’s turn that on its head.

Here’s the truth: to work our best, humans need a little space.

We need breaks.
A quiet cup of coffee.
A vacation.
A place with no clutter.

Allowing breathing room in your brand’s design is valuable. “White space” (to an extent), is taking advantage of valuable real-estate, because let’s face it—your logo or photo or copy is their work. Your “white space” is their quiet cup of coffee before they dive into it. Your viewers don’t want to sort through your clutter. Give them the important items and let them bask in them. Allow the important items you want your reader to hold onto to actually stick.

Set the stage and allow your brand to be memorable by simplifying your designs.


Check out the piece we did for White Law Office that used simplicity in its design, featured in this blog’s photo and here on our portfolio page.