21 feb 2011
When Minimal Attacks — Is simple just simple minded?
Is the best route for a new or refreshed brand to start out maximalist — then to gently adapt to a minimalist end aesthetic — giving the customer, the organisation and the audience at large a chance to discover what they like? Or is minimal the best starting point?
We found the image above strolling around the www and it re-ignited my thinking around minimal v maximalist thinking.
Any design group that could pull off this kind of stripped down aesthetic would probably bring in the awards.
It worked for Coke. They got rid of all the on-pack clutter and the awards flooded in.
While it looks bloody obvious, getting big blue chip brands to simplify branding is an incredibly tough Nutella to crack.
It all looks better and it’s less ‘Marketing’ — which is good — no one apart from people in ‘Marketing’ actually like ‘Marketing’ — (I count myself as one of the people in ‘Marketing’ who do look on and nod — mmm, nice bit of marketing — often after getting suckered in myself to buy or look at something apparently new or interesting)
I was talking to fellow SomeOne founder David Law about his thought on Minimalism and he simply said ‘Simplicity is the most complex thing to achieve’ — he’s spot on.
That said, it’s only interesting and effective on the brands featured here due to the vast amount of marketing power and effort already in place behind these products.
Try it on a new brand… and things change.
I’m starting to wonder — is the best route for a new or refreshed brand to start out maximalist — then to gently adapt to a minimalist end aesthetic — giving the customer, the organisation and the audience at large a chance to discover what they like, what works and what to kill?
Perhaps the long held idea that minimal = a good thing is getting tired.
Just as no one is that keen on Paisley any more.
Perhaps minimalism is over. It’s boring. Dull and isn’t that helpful.
Do you think people will look back at minimalism and think how wonderful, Pawson really knew how to empty a room? Really? Compared to Baroque, Rococo, and Arts & Crafts?
There’s a spirituality and calm that Japanese Zen gardens have — loaded with symbolism and stories — that something like these designs below completely lack.
I think we as designers might be confusing considered calm thinking with overly simplistic aesthetics.