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Article: Less Is More? What Does It Really Mean?

Less Is More? What Does It Really Mean?

You might often hear other designers or your colleagues saying that less is more.
But what does it really mean, and what is the relation to graphic design?
Created by Albert Exergian |

As time goes, trends and markets also shift. In this type of scenario, the effect reaches almost every aspect, including the design world. Graphic design gets some surprising trends, which is the less is more creative principal. But what is it? Many designers are still figuring out the charm of giving less effort that people are starting to enjoy more. 

In a state of confusion, you, as a designer, cannot put aside this particular creative design principle. The cliché trend is massively enjoyed by many minimalist design lovers. The essence of the creative design principal movement is considered relatively new, despite coming into the late 60s and early 70s. But does it apply to every creative media?

Surprisingly it does. The sense of less is more can work with almost everything, including print or online design, to architecture and living. The creative principle is using minimalism design. It stripped down any excessive, unnecessary component and feature; thus, the project stays with the essential elements. It is especially true for you who work with graphic design. 


The Minimalism In Graphic Design

You might wonder how the concept grasps the usability or feature in graphic design? If you consider how complex the designing process is, a less is more concept might not suffice the function. However, the new creative principle is not always trying to cut out the details. On the other hand, being less helps to highlight certain parts. Thus, creating more focused results. 

The main principle of minimalism focuses on creating a more pleasant visual. The use of more highlights also helps give concentration. It can consist of hidden navigation, lots of space and help you to experiment with fonts. In other words, the creative principle allows you to get creative in the more limited options. 

It goes with the idea of creative limitation due to the sense of minimalism. It also realizes the less is more principle by restricting the color use. A minimalist design can go with three color palettes. It also has no extra button and excess details. So, you can say that the design should have fewer shadows, textures, and color transitions.   

In graphic design, this creative principle less is more idea goes by simplifying the visual. You can remove unnecessary elements without hindering the main function. So, you can giving more impact with less elements. 

Created by Sanjun Halilovic |


Eight Fact That Underlying The Sense Of Less Is More

1. Balance Of Aestheticism

Being less does not restrict you from getting creative and make balanced designs. The less is more creative principle underlines that minimalism can bump up the aesthetic aspect in many aspects, especially for the balance. As a graphic designer, you must underline that one of the creative design principles for graphic design is balance. 

You need to balance the use of the main and negative space, thus creating a more appealing and aesthetic appearance. In essence, you have to understand the sense of balance to utilize a more effective negative arrangement. So, how does less is more creative principal help create a balance? In this case, you can take an analogy of a grocery store. 

When you go on the peak of Saturday morning, you will find ranges of cluttered and overcrowded aisles. There are also plentiful stimulating factors that add more distraction when you already have specific intentions. Bring this creative idea into your design. Online media can appear either too much or lack. Thus, you need a balanced principle to make it right. 

Consider that you are going online with no intention to do more actions and investigation upon looking for information. It tends to happen a lot when there is too much content that overwhelms the user. However, using incorrect methods of less content can result in missing elements. This is why you need to implement the less is more creative principle.  

As said before, the principal will not restrict you from getting creative. You can do more with fewer details on the artwork. It also bumps up the balance aspect that improves the content organization; thus, it is easier to comprehend. The key point of this principle is to stick with the hierarchical elements by reducing the clutter and adding relevant content.

You can try it! At some point, the creative principle balance design of less content and a more comprehensive look will enhance the visual. It gets more aesthetic with no more distracting details, less routing, and more supportive factors that lead users on their journey. In this case, you can call it a perfect creative white space utilization principle.  

Created by Rui Chen |


2. Attractive In Guided Way 

What comes to your mind when you get something that has limited content or details? One thing is for sure. You can get more highlights or understand the whole concept. As long as the balance principle is not overdone and fails, this kind of less is more concept can work like a charm. You can prove it from how the creative principal will direct your attention to certain aspects. 

Adding less content can form a creative impression. The thing is that users can create an impression in a mere ten seconds. And you have only a few seconds to convey your message. This is why you need certain aspects that help create specific detail and convey the element that you interpret. It will work the best for your creative negative space canvasses utilization. 

In this case, using minimalism can help you highlight important elements. You got fewer details and distractive components. Thus, people can focus more on your focal point of space. To nail this idea, you got to use the creative principle of establishing hierarchy. In this case, using hierarchy will bring up a sense of contrasting relationships.  

So, how does less is more work? In creative graphic design, you got to play around with hierarchy in many ways. You can put some aspect that is the focal point with vibrant color. Make it contrasting with the surrounding. Thus people know that it is the main point. You can also use the hierarchy principle by drawing attention and playing around with sizes. 

Sizes hierarchy will not restrict your principal creative ideas. You can use it for images, graphics, or even texts. In-text and content, you can use a less distracting model by using the H1, H2, H3, title, and many more. Rather than using different colors or fonts, the use of font style will help create focus. It also works the best for minimalistic design or hierarchy.  

Created by Work by // |


3. Focus On Clarity  

One thing that makes the less is more creative principle stand out is the ability to enhance the design clarity. In the case of designing a artwork, you, as the designer, need to interpret yourself for the audience. It is not an easy thing to do since your audience might not understand or have any background knowledge about design. So, what should you do? 

The answer can heavily rely on the idea of using fewer elements and more clarity. Just as said in the previous point, that you could emphasize details or focal points with fewer components. The fewer the distracting aspects are, the more people can grasp the main ideas. It is what the principal wants to archive. That is why you can get creative even with limited options. 

However, underline the idea that you are trying to convey your rendition to the audience. It can be hard to do, especially if you are bound to add more details in the design. It can distract people from understanding the creative principle and also make your design cramped. 

To help you prepare, you need to hold onto the idea of making your audience comply with your instruction. The less is more creative principal analogy that you can use is how the designer uses pictures of two half circles that are equal to a full circle. It is a simple design with less instruction but still has enough or more underlying detail to perceive. 

Try to understand that the human brain observes an object and processes it into the basic characteristic. The brain will spontaneously try to find a corresponding object or image with memory. Thus, creating a similar or basic interpretation. You can make it by using less is more principal to design a creative white space. 

So, the idea of this principle is merely to help people interpret and perceive the image in the simplest form possible. That is why you can shed more extensive details and stick with the fewer models. The principal also underlines the idea that meaning is equal with interpretation, which is how the mind recognizes the basic form and makes decisions on what to do. 

If you comply with the creative principle of using basic or simple design to your web, people will perceive it in the same way. The less detail will also bump up the user's understanding. They can also comply with your straightforward, rather than distracting points. Thus, your translation and concept can reach the audience.  

Created by meh. design studio |


4. The Use Of White Space 

As you play around with the less is more concept, you also need to understand the creative principle of utilizing the white space. It is one of the essential points in graphic design. At the same time, the white space will be part of the law of proximity principle. It will establish clear boundaries in design pieces. 

The principle behind this creative movement is the element that is grouped will likely assume as one or belong. The fundamental will simply group some elements into one, just because of shared likeness. It can be in the form of anything, such as shapes, color, contrast, motion, or contour. When they look alike, then they are one. 

This is why you should clearly state the boundaries. In graphic design, your less is more creative principal to define the restrictions is the white space. It will clarify the relationship of each element. But you can bump up the boundaries by using fewer components. Thus, people can understand white space utilization.   

Created by Rafael Cardoso |


5. Cognitive Load 

Is it only about the boundaries, less destructive objects, and more focus? Other than the visual point, the less is more creative principal also a great addition to support the human attention and memory. How so? The idea of using this creative movement is to authenticating the white space. It can help people to focus on a whole display rather than a sum of its parts. 

If you have a clear white space, people will understand the point of your web design. People will also group it up together. Thus it is easier to remember and create impressions. While it highlights the sense of limitation, you can get creative with it. Again, you don't need to use extra content. Just use less and minimalism principal to help accentuate the focus. 

Playing around with the hierarchy is one of the best solutions. You can use this principle to make highlights in the white space. Thus, people can remember the whole concept as well as tell the focal point. Refrain from being too creative and use too many elements. It will cause cognitive strain, distortion, mental overload, and reducing the ability to perceive the meaning. 

Created by Lisha (Riisa) Liao |


6. Every Detail Has Significance 

As you work with white space, underline that every detail and element in it has significance. It is the key to less is more principal. The creative idea tries to push the idea of conviction that tell usability is not optional. In other words, you have to make sure every content or component has its function. 

If you find some of the design is just there for nothing, then throw it out. The sense of this creative principle will bring you to remove some aspects. However, what you remove from the design is equally as important as what you add. In other words, you can use fewer components but still have additional information to tell from the existing parts. 

It is not an easy thing to do. You cannot mindlessly throw or remove some point. Or else you will make the design lacking and missing points. It is why less is more design is not something that you can easily do. It needs planning and purposes. Thus, you can get creative while still sticking to the principle. 

This point also means that you don't need to fill all the gaps. Underline the idea of fewer components. Just because you found some room for innovation, it does not mean it needs something to be there. If you think it is enough, then don't add more. Just make sure that you are sticking with the less is more creative principle.   

Created by Julien Rico Jr |


7. Matching Concept And Style Design 

Until this point, you might already find some planning for your design. As long as you stick with the creative principle, you are bound to nail the less is more idea. But there is also another point that you need to underline. How clearly do you define your design statement? The idea is that no matter how good you comply with the principal, if it misses, then it's nothing. 

In this case, the sense of less saying is equal to making an easy-to-understand message. In other words, having extra components and models only makes an overly complicated message. The ideal concept for your design should match your style. You cannot cramp everything. Choose the one that has high-quality and unbounded authentic content to help the audience digest the idea. 

Created by Mayara Longhi |


8. Being Minimal Is The Definition Of Right  

When it comes to design, sometimes people tend to stray away from creative principal to make it right. This kind of mindset can either help or make you lost in the process. To make it right, people get creative and keep adding things. That is why the less is more principle helps you avoid any act of overdoing the project. 

To avoid this idea, using fewer components helps limiting your feel to keep adding details. You can also analyze, adapt, and remove some part that you found does not relate to the focal point. Anything that you found extraneous can interfere with the fundamental creative intent or the message. 

It is the reason the creative principle takes a big role in the design world. Keep asking yourself whether you have to add extra or go less with the current design. The main point is to highlight and make your content easier to understand. You can use less is more idea in this time and re-add better, creative, and innovative looks later as you update your artwork. 

Created by Marek Sienkiewicz |


Final Words

When it comes to design, you can either follow the trend or stay with your ideal. However, some of the trends can be one of the solutions to solve the occurring problem. In this case, you can say how the less is more movement makes a great creative principle for graphic design. It helps empower the efficiency, relatability, and also visual of the project.

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