Designing Screens 101: Why Less is More

Designing Screens 101 is a new series that provides tips and ideas on how you can design better, more effective and beautiful screens. Follow on to learn more about designing digital signs!

#1 Less is More

Minimalism has taken the world by storm. Remember when the World Wide Web (WWW) first came out in the early 90s? Most people didn’t quite know what to do with their web pages. It started off with mostly just paragraphs of text, with garish bright colours, and an overwhelming amount of poorly organized information.

Now, take a look at the websites of some of today’s leading companies:

Much cleaner, and simpler right?

That’s because at any given point, there’s just one main call to action. A huge benefit of minimalism is its clarity of form. It takes into account that most people don’t read, they scan. This means they don’t usually look at everything. So the more things you place on a medium, the noisier and more distracting it tends to be for a user.

Now apply that same concept of “less is more” onto your screen designs. Try and distill down what the key message is. If you have several things you need to convey to your users, try splitting them into various slides instead of jamming it all into one.

Here’s an example of how Lego has simplified its ads over the years (left – ad from the 90s, right –  2006 ad)

Lego Ad - Past and Present
It’s not that the previous ad isn’t compelling in its own way, but as you can tell, it’s a lot busier. Your mind has a lot more to process, and there are multiple things fighting for your attention. The newer ad on the other hand, has one clear message it’s trying to convey – imagination.

There’s a beauty in simplicity and it can still be effective! The Lego Imagine Campaign ended up being a winner in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

So keep it simple when designing digital signs. It can often be more impactful and help to get the main idea across in a more concise and effective way!