The Complexity of Simplicity

Posted: 30 June 2020

Posted: 30.06.2020

The truth with simplicity is that it’s not that simple. It’s one of the toughest parts of the creative process, the balancing act of all manner of thingsAs a strategic thinking creative, I’ve spent the last 14+ years practising how to perfect that process. While I’ve learnt a lot in that time, one thing that I know for sure, getting to the heart of the design challenge quickly is critical. Extracting the simple truths and authentic stories can help simplify the process and become a sounding board for quicker, more informed creative decisions. Once we have that as a starting point, things generally start to fall into place

As with any project, we’re are ultimately looking to grab attention, create a memorable experience or inspire action. Attention wealth – is the new currency. In this complex, fast-moving world, we’re all constantly battling for attention. To attract prospective clients, raise industry awareness of who we are and most importantly help our clients’ cut through the noise. Whether it’s for a brand, destination or workplace.

As Rohit Bhargava observes in – NON-OBVIOUS MEGATRENDS

As we each discover just how much wealth our attention contains, we will become more sceptical about who deserves it and who doesn’t. In a world where we have more control over attention wealth, we also have a responsibility to do our best to spend it wisely.” 

Content is king – as they say. So it’s critical for every piece of design and communication to not only define your core message but just as importantly understand who you are talking to, that’s why we never want to jump in headfirst. We value the journey just as much as the destination – as it’s the fruitful process of research, discovery and questioning that helps us really interrogate a brief, sift through the various pieces of unique and ownable insights to pull together a solid foundation of meaningful messaging.

Only then can the next phase of fun truly begin. Whether that’s a brand interaction, physical environment or digital experience – design is more than just a visual composition of finishes, layout and motion. It’s a beautiful balancing act of history, personal tastes, opinions, connotations, along with previous brand experiences and future ambitions. Learning to take your own personal view out of the equation helps. Referencing the original project brief, the audience insights and desired outcome of the project will help make informed decisions for the right creative path ahead.

Take the Juventus F.C. logo for example – there is a hell of a lot of pride in the team, history, reputation and immense loyalty from their audience. Personally, I think they nailed the logo refresh – it literally is the purest form you could transform that mark into without losing anything. The fact a new logomark was created that not only retained the black & white stripes in its minimal form, it also broke from the traditional football club emblem and made a bold modern statement that communicates clearly, and looks superb on a shirt. (I’m not even a supporter of that club!!!)

Juventus F.C. Before & After Logo

This is something that I feel we recently achieved working with Horizon. Moving their brand into the future, while having a nod to the past. Strategically it reflects who they are and how they operate. More importantly, it helps support their complex communication needs, but with simplicity at its heart.

Previous Horizon Brand Identity

It can be a lengthy and complicated process. It can be quick, clear & obvious. It can be stressful. It can be exhilarating. It’s why I love design. The initial anxiety and complexity of projects’ tend to get more comfortable with experience. It’s a collaborative process that requires teamwork and understanding. As the journey starts to reach its destination things tend to get a little easier, foundational decisions have been made. Clarity is somewhere in reach. 

When you get to the end it should communicate, please and look… 
Beautifully Simple.

Head of Brand, Design Director at THERE