The Value of Simplicity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

As children, one of the first things we learn is the concept of opposites. Yes and No. Up and Down. Young and Old. Short and Tall. Easy and Difficult. Soft and Hard. Simple and… Complex.

In the technology age, we tend to think complex is better. Last week, the newest models for the iPhone were announced – the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. One of them has THREE cameras. And even though the phones aren’t officially launched for a few more days, and even though the vast majority of us have 1-2 year-old phones that work perfectly fine, the pre-orders for the new models are rolling in.

Why? Is it really because we feel a deep need in our souls for our phones to have three cameras? For a few people, maybe. But for many others, it’s more about having the latest and greatest. It’s about saving ourselves from possible FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It could even be about the perceived status associated with having such a fancy, complicated technological gadget. The answers might be different for everyone.

In some ways, it might be logical to come to the conclusion that complex is better than simple. Think back to your first mobile phone. If it was like mine, it could only make basic phone calls. Now, each of us is the owner of a tiny, powerful computer that fits in our back pocket. And it may or may not have THREE cameras. It seems like everything is trending toward complexity.

However, simplicity and complexity don’t necessarily need to be opposites – at least, I don’t think we need to pick one or the other.

Think about the reason why certain complexities exist: it’s because we want life to be simpler for ourselves. The complexity exists because we want to do less work – making our own jobs simpler. The iPhone 11 Pro has three cameras because we want to have professional-quality photos without becoming professional photographers.

It’s worth bearing in mind: Simple doesn’t always mean basic, and complex doesn’t always mean advanced.

When thinking about consumers, studies have shown that people actually want simplicity. There’s a lot of value in simplifying your messaging, especially as the online space becomes more crowded with more competing voices.

According to research  by design consultancy firm Siegel+Gale in their 2017 Global Brand Simplicity Index, “brands that embrace simplicity tend to enjoy increased revenue, brand advocacy and engagement.”

They found that 64% of consumers would pay more for a simple experience, while 61% would recommend a brand which has a clear proposition that saves them time.

“Simplicity, in these terms, refers to the entire customer experience and can mean anything from providing concise product information, intuitive website navigation or a quick and easy transaction process.” (Medium)

It’s not about offering less, but making what’s offered more accessible, more intuitive, and more user-friendly. So, when it comes to your brand – regardless of your industry – how are you able to accomplish these directives?

Consider these topics when simplifying your brand:

1. Visual identity

Take stock of all your visual communication assets. What fonts, colors, shapes, icons, textures, logos are you using? Then ask yourself whether they’re all truly necessary. By identifying the assets that truly represent your brand the best, you can increase harmony and decrease the disconnect.

2. Portfolio/services

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none”? It basically means someone who knows something about a lot of different topics but isn’t an expert at any of them. Another opportunity for simplification in a business is in portfolio/services. Maybe your brand has evolved from where it was when you first started, or maybe you now focus on a specific product offering. By discarding the extras, you’re able to streamline your brand and attract customers who know exactly what they can expect from you.

3. Content/campaign strategy

While it might be tempting to throw ideas against the wall and see what sticks, it’s not your best bet for brand simplification. Instead of trying to cater different campaigns or strategies to different audiences, focus your approach and concentrate on your strongest option. The same goes for your brand’s values, attributes, personality, and other features. Decide on the essentials and focus on those – think not about everything you could do, but what you should do that fits with your desired brand image.

Simplicity has become increasingly desirable in our oversaturated digital world, but it’s perfectly achievable along with a bit of hard work. By taking inventory of your brand image, you can identify the essentials and streamline your identity to simplify. Your customers will thank you.

As always, we at Brieffin are here to help if you need any assistance in the brand-identity-designing process. Just reach out to us, and we’d love to partner with you to achieve your brand goals.

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