The Ten Laws of Simplicity

November 20, 2015. John Maeda: The 10 Laws of Simplicity
Guidelines for needing less and getting more

A fun and great way to improve your presentations—both in terms of content and delivery—is to seek out, learn and get inspiration from a wide range of people and professions. One such source of potential inspiration and ideas is John Maeda.

John Maeda is a world-renowned Japanese-American designer, computer scientist and author—and currently Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm. He has had a diverse career, past positions including Professor at MIT Media Lab for 12 years and researcher at a Tokyo media think thank.  He is currently a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Growth Models.

His best selling book is: The Laws of Simplicity (2006).

151120 J Maeda Laws of Simplicity

‘Complexity is overrated’, says Maeda half jokingly—in his book offering 10 laws to balance simplicity and complexity in business, technology and design—and prescribing how ‘less is more’.

However, his laws of simplicity also provide good ideas for how to improve your presentations.  For now I will leave it up to you to ponder how—and revert to this topic in a later newsletter.

John Maeda: The 10 Laws of Simplicity

Law 1: Reduce
The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.

Law 2: Organize
Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.

Law 3: Time
Savings in time feels like simplicity.

Law 4: Learn
Knowledge makes everything simpler.

Law 5: Differences
Simplicity and complexity need each other.
151120 J Maeda Laws of Simplicity 2

Law 6: Context
What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.

Law 7: Emotion
More emotions are better than less.

Law 8: Trust
In simplicity we trust.

Law 9: Failure
Some things can never be made simple.

Law 10: The One
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Trond Varlid

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.