Keep it Super Simple (KISS)

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Dear friend,

A practical idea: in photography, life, and art, strive to keep your work super super simple.

Why simple?

I generally think that simpler is better. A lot of us seek to have “better” lives, but I think what we really mean to say is that we desire simpler lives; lives with less stress and complication, so we can focus on what is truly important to us, whether that be making art, photos, spending meaningful time with loved ones, or following our personal interests.

Simple is difficult

Yet this is the challenge; simple is hard and difficult. It takes a lot of brainpower and effort to make something simple.

For example in user experience (ux) and user interface (UI), to make an experience clear, logical, intuitive, yet simple is extremely difficult. It takes a lot of testing and philosophizing to figure out the best solution for something.

This is why I admire Steve Jobs, Jony Ive, and the entire Apple design team; they labor much to create technology that’s simple to use and simplifies our life in an elegant and meaningful way.

Yet this is the challenge: distinguishing the difference between simplicity and minimalism.

To me, minimalism is about subtracting the superfluous for aesthetic purposes. Yet a lot of design which is minimalist is confusing, difficult to use, and NOT simple.

For example, often keeping your home more cluttered is actually more simple. This makes it easier to find stuff.

Similarly, I find reading an analog speedometer on a car much simpler and better to read than a digital speedometer. The same goes with stereos in cars: it is easier and simpler to change the volume with a knob, instead of a touch screen. Same goes with air conditioning and heating controls in cars.


Some practical ideas:

  1. When in doubt, take the simpler option.
    2. With your life, simplify it. Subtract the superfluous to give more focus on what’s truly meaningful to you.
    3. With cars, phones, cameras, homes, and stuff, seek to optimize what will simplify your life, not “improve” your life with the “best”. Often by trying to buy new stuff and devices adds more complication to our lives (consider the Apple addict who has so many devices to charge, including their watch, iPad, laptop, phone, headphones, etc).

Keep it super simple,

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