Simplicity vs. Clarity

Two quotes for today to show two differing views of “simplicity” (interestingly, the quote in favor of simplicity is shorter and, well, more simple!). Should we aim for simplicity no matter what, or should we focus on clairity, even if it adds some complexity? Is simplicity always clear? Is it always creative?

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“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” – Charles Mingus

“The most important goal of effective communication is clarity. Clarity is not the same as simplicity … Complexity can be made to appear clear by effective organization and presentation and need not be reduced to meaningless “bite-sized” chunks of data, as simplification usually does. Clarity refers to the focus on one particular message or goal at a time, rather than attempting to accomplish too much at once. Simplicity is often responsible for the “dumbing” of information rather than the illumination of it.” – Michael Hoffman

Charles Mingus quote submitted by Damian Rees. Help me collect quotes by submitting them here!

Catriona Cornett

I am a User Experience Designer with a passion for making people’s lives better through design. I have helped over a dozen organizations obtain a competitive advantage by delivering great user experiences across desktop, mobile, tablet and other channels.

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  • http://animation-illustration-art.blogspot.com/ Ganapathy Subramaniam

    Both good quotes. particularly the on on clarity. Its tru that in the pretext of pedegogy, one simplifies rather than clarify. one who can clarify without simplifying becomes a great teacher.

    It reminds of Luca Cambiaso the great mannerist painter, who would constantly use block forms mostly cubes to represent the different planes of the object he would draw, clarifying their orientation and bulk. This he would do to draw the entire human fgure. face, torso, arms , legs, fingers , the nose, the ankle..everything using cubes. its amazing how clear the various forms and parts of the body becomes when one analyse it using this approach. It can be done without loosing the complexity.yet with clarity.

  • praise

    thank you for this information but make it more vast as to make reaserch profitable.

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4 Responses to Simplicity vs. Clarity

  1. [...] inspireUX – thanks for the hint, [...]

  2. Both good quotes. particularly the on on clarity. Its tru that in the pretext of pedegogy, one simplifies rather than clarify. one who can clarify without simplifying becomes a great teacher.

    It reminds of Luca Cambiaso the great mannerist painter, who would constantly use block forms mostly cubes to represent the different planes of the object he would draw, clarifying their orientation and bulk. This he would do to draw the entire human fgure. face, torso, arms , legs, fingers , the nose, the ankle..everything using cubes. its amazing how clear the various forms and parts of the body becomes when one analyse it using this approach. It can be done without loosing the complexity.yet with clarity.

  3. praise says:

    thank you for this information but make it more vast as to make reaserch profitable.

  4. […] “The most important goal of effective communication is clarity. Clarity is not the same as simplicity … Complexity can be made to appear clear by effective organization […]. Clarity refers to the focus on one particular message or goal at a time, rather than attempting to accomplish too much at once.” – Michael Hoffman […]