Key To Simplicity Essay

Key To Simplicity Essay

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Paul Rand once said, “Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations,” and he has undoubtedly lived up to his own words. (BrainyQuote). This simple quote has stuck with me throughout the levels of graphics courses and the growth of my own body of work as well, shaping my aesthetic and refining my expectations. Successful simplicity is extraordinarily difficult, but worth the effort in the end. Personally, in working through the graphics courses here at Northern, I finally found my niche in identity and branding, which leads to my identification with Paul Rand’s ideals and works.
In comparing and contrasting my work with Paul Rand’s, I have chosen to focus on his eight-bar version of the IBM logo from 1972 and my logo design for Fū-ZEN (pronounced as fusion), a yoga blend program. This design is actually my first work as a freelance artist for a local woman working and researching with the USOEC. She wanted a design that would be simple and sophisticated, but still convey the calm flow of yoga combining with the energy of dynamic stretches that are unique to her developing program. I feel that I have met her criterion and expectations quite well.
One of the only true physical similarities between both designs is the fact that both were created for print. Rand’s IBM logo was meant to be used in all facets of the business, from letterheads to brochures to merchandise and more. Along the same lines, I designed the Fū-ZEN logo with applications for brochures, t-shirts and posters in mind. It could also be argued that both logos undoubtedly went through many drafts and revisions to find the most successful solution. The IBM design went through at least three major redesigns from 1956 to 1972, ...


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...e public interest in the program, not to sell it to other firms.
Paul Rand’s ideals of the simplicity of form creating a successful piece have been a motivating factor over the last five years. As he says in the opening quote, simplicity is the end product of executing a good idea. This is true. Through trial and error, I can honestly say that simplicity of design is not easy—it is incredibly difficult to achieve in a successful manner.
However, I feel simplicity is integral to good design because it allows the art to speak for itself and gives a visual cue to remember a company by. In reality, a designer has less than ten seconds to gain a viewer’s attention and create a lasting impression with an identity. This is where simplicity is key to aid in giving just enough visual information to motivate a viewer into action or to create a memory store for use later.

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