No, this is not about learning to pucker lips with your beloved; it’s about the principle of KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid. This principle can be applied to anything like movies, cartoons, books, stories, designs, blog entries, etc. The list goes on and on.
But what does it take to keep it simple? Many times in my involvement in the creative field, I’ve seen some beautiful pieces destroyed by layers and layers and layers of unnecessary clutter. For instance, if you take a white sheet of paper and make a mark on the sheet, your eye will go to the mark on the sheet, not the white. This is because we will initially inspect the unfamiliar mark in an otherwise white void of emptiness
Picture that on a larger scale and take this piece by infamous street artist Banksy called PARKing. Here he just added a little girl on a swing to the “A.” No big deal, right?
As opposed to most street art, Banksy uses graffiti to express a social message. The reasoning behind this piece is to help spread the word of a local Los Angeles residents group trying to turn a parking lot into a small playground for children to frolic. By simply adding his own twist, he turned an ordinary public sign into a work of art that calls for action and attention from the public. The guy sure knows how to KISS.
You don’t even have to go out of your way find an example of carefully crafted design– just look at your smartphone with the plain apple icon on the back. Now imagine this on the back of your phone:
It looks like those Apple guys had the right idea all along! Simplicity works and when done correctly can be timeless. The new Apple logo works well because it’s flexible and can be applied anywhere on their products. By adding that little bite out of the apple, it changes from an ordinary icon of an apple to imply that a) it is in fact an apple and not a cherry and b) to imply that they’re taking a “byte” out of the ordinary.
Yet the KISS principle is not only about being simple but it’s also about adding your own clever twist into the mix. Remember the KISS principle so you don’t add too much lens flare to your pictures, too much exposition to your story or too many explosions to an action film. A simple piece can make you go from “Huh?” to “A-ha!” and that’s what makes it all that entertaining and interesting to look at even if in places where you don’t expect it, like the FedEX logo.
Just an ordinary logo? Look again! There’s an arrow between the “E” and “X.”
Anyone can KISS! Even Albert Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” But you don’t have to be a genius to KISS as long as you can get your ideas across in a clever and sophisticated approach. So KISS away!