Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

Growing up in a household of artists, spending two years in Japan, writing books, doing freelance design and copywriting, sojourning in both wealthy opulence and a complete lack there of, and repeatedly paring down belongings when moving across the state, country, or world (or especially after reading Marie Kondo’s aptly named The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing), have all led to a profound appreciation of simplicity and minimalism.

Whether it’s packing a bag or designing a book cover, less really is more as the cliché goes. You can easily spot the rookie traveler by their bulging bag and bad design by its gaudy graphics.

Or as three of my heroes put it:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

—Albert Einstein

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

—Bruce Lee (李小龍)

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

—Leonardo da Vinci

But make no mistake: simplicity does not mean easy. It takes work. It takes time. It takes conscious creativity and educated intuition. There is a fine line between sophisticated simplicity and boring banality. To create the difference, one must first know the difference. And that can only happen with a great deal of exposure and deliberate practice. I realize there is no finish line in life or art, but I will keep pushing myself toward simplicity in all things. Join me!

Onwards and upwards!