Jon Ive, Apple’s Head Designer, On the Deeper Meaning of Simplicity

Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of all the parts that are not essential.

—Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple Inc., quoted in Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

(To apply this to knowledge work, substitute “an idea” for “a product” in the last sentence.)

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