French pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote:

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

This statement, to me is one of the most profound when it comes to design. The web, specifically, is cluttered with websites that are, well, cluttered. And while it’s necessary sometimes to have many items on a website, they can still be arranged to provide simplicity to the senses.

Yet there are many web designers who create beautiful, functional and simple sites. One of my favorite designers is Dan Cederholm. Just look at his work like Cork’d, Odeo, and Microformats. His own website, SimpleBits is a thing of simplicity and beauty. Dan shows us that even large, complex sites can still have simple design.

Truthfully, it’s quite difficult to create simple, functional designs. Designs that are clean, yet functional. Designs that remove all unnecessary elements while remaining elegant. Designs where the goal is meeting a few, very specific needs.

Many people believe that simplicity is the antithesis of success – especially with websites. They believe the more you have on your site – the more you make visible to the user – the more they’ll find and want to use or buy.

That might be fine for eBay and Amazon whose users expect innumerable options. But for most small businesses, simplicity rules. Simplicity is what helps you stay focused. And staying focused leads to more business success.

This morning I found a post about simplicity at Designers Who Blog, The Laws of Simplicity. The Laws come from the work of Professor John Maeda, from the MIT Media Lab. Take a look at his blog, he’s written some great posts on simplicity in design, business, technology and life.

The Laws of Simplicity

The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.

Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.

Law 3: TIME
Savings in time feel like simplicity.

Law 4: LEARN
Knowledge makes everything simpler.

Simplicity and complexity need each other.

What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.

More emotions are better than less.

Law 8: TRUST
In simplicity we trust.

Some things can never be made simple.

Law 10: THE ONE
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Take a look at your business, at your website. Are there places you can simplify? Do you agree that simplicity can lead to greater success?

Reader Interactions


  1. Michael R. Gaudet says

    Hi Dawud. Just read through your latest posts. Well written, concise and informative! I really enjoy blogging. I don’t get to do it every day because of a sometimes very busy schedule as a professional artist/inventor. Hey…ya wanna visit my blog? I would certainly appreciate any comments you might have! Pop in at Hope you enjoy what you see. Best wishes, Michael Gaudet,
    President, Skyaak Enterprises

  2. George says

    Thanks Dawud for your post. A few years back I was caught in the complexity of being “complex” now however I have learned that simplicity in web design is far more appealing for both me and my visitors. I am able to customize a simple design faster and giving it changes quickly, among other advantages.

  3. Dawud Miracle says

    Absolutely. I went through my phase of doing ‘cool’ looking, complex designs. But they just don’t work in business building. Make it easy for the visitor to find what they need – that’s the key.


  1. […] In other words: sometimes the greatest contribution you can make to the project is knowing what not to contribute. Dawud Miracle posted a similar quote (of a quote) on his blog which stated “a designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. […]

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