Director’s Commentary: John Maeda

This latest Director’s Commentary on metacool is truly meta: it’s a designer being interviewed about what it means to design with simplicity in mind.  In this simply awesome interview, NPR’s Ira Flatow talks to Professor John Maeda about The Laws of Simplicity.

I truly appreciate any opportunity I get to listen to Professor Maeda talk about his approach to the process of designing things.  My favorite law of simplicty is Law 5: Differences.  This law can be stated as follows:

Simplicity and complexity need each other

Actually, that’s a big, fat lie on my part.  If I put on my professional hat, then my favorite law of simplicity is actually Law 7: Emotion, which is:

More emotions are better than less

If you decide to take a listen to Maeda’s interview, you’ll hear him talk about why desirability can make even a complex, cultish device such as the iPhone seem simple.  Wanting something makes it easier to use.  Think about that one next time you’re dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.  I’m a big believer in starting and ending with desirability when it comes to designing for success in the marketplace, so you can see why I like Law 7.

By the way, he wrote a wonderful book about the subject, too.  I highly recommend it.


2 thoughts on “Director’s Commentary: John Maeda

  1. John Maeda interviewed on NPRs Talk of the Nation

    John Maeda is a world-renowned graphic designer, artist, and computer scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory. He has pioneered the use of the computer for people of all ages and skills to create art, and is [since recently] a strong voice for …

  2. Simplicity Emotion=Success

    Check out this National Public Radio Science Friday interview with MIT professor John Maeda about ease of use and functional design. In it, Maeda and the host discuss several laws of simplicity (see also the book by the same name).

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