Creating Simplicity

Less is more. That’s what they always say, but is it true?

Well that really depends what it is in reference too. If we are talking about a cake and we have half a cake, then in this instance less is really not more. Now maybe I am trying too hard to make a point, but I have been thinking a lot recently about what it is to actually ‘create simplicity’.

In reality lives are not simple. They are hugely complex. When I think about life I often picture the plate spinner at the circus with his 20 or 30 plates spinning in the air. He is focusing on keeping all of those plates in the air side by side at the right speed. He can’t stop, stop and his plates fall.

In ad-land the plate spinner is your client. They are busy people; just trying to keep that businesses plate spinning. It is your job to help them spin that plate. Keeping that plate’s momentum going is definitely simpler when there are a few sets of eyes on it.

Should be easy right?

Agencies, designers and creatives love simplicity, but sometimes we are guilty of making it far more complicated than it needs to be. The idea is just too broad, there are simply too many people in one planning session, you know the drill.

Which brings us back to my thoughts for the last while. How do we create more simplicity?

Life although complex is made up of patterns and routines- sleep, work, eat, play and repeat. Somewhere along the way we made it complex and hard. In this formula for life there is one thing that consistently runs through them all- communication. At some point in the process we introduced complexity with poor communication. We added in additional words and soon these became paragraphs, then pages, novellas and well you get the picture.

In order to create simplicity in the workspace and in our work we need to create simplicity in how we communicate. Keep communication clear, concise and succinct. Einstein once said that if you couldn’t explain a concept to a 6 year old then you didn’t really understand it. The same goes for advertising. If you can’t explain your concept in a way a child would understand then chances are you will have trouble with any target market. You shouldn’t have to think about it, you should just get it.

Keep your communication simple, direct and clear. Allowing your idea to speak for itself. Some of the greatest ideas are simple. This week Brooks running and Leo Burnett realised ‘The Rundead’, a 3 minute long piece full of zombies and some beautiful running shoes. A complex production with a simple idea- ‘Running makes you feel alive’. I will leave you with the words of Jack Kerouac and the Brooks advert. With the right communication you will create simplicity. Simplicity is as Jack Kerouac says a case of finding the right words.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple’” Jack Kerouac.



(Video by Brooks Running)


Jonny Agnew

Jonny is an Account Executive, brand planner, content creator and insight researcher.

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