You’ve probably heard it before. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. I think I heard it in my high school art classes at least 20 times. Michael Scott in The Office even gives that advice to his employees. But don’t let it hurt your feelings, like Dwight, it’s not an insult, just good advice. The ability to pare a subject down, without losing quality or important content can prove to be a challenging task, but it is well worth the effort. Simplicity allows for users of the content to understand it much better, which is very important. Less content is more legible and interesting. Less is more.
Designers love KISS. To see this concept in action, just google “evolution of logos” and take a look. Here’s an example of Facebook’s logo. Simple, effective designs work because they can communicate the same message as a more complicated design, but with more impact. Attention spans are only getting shorter and there’s a lot of advertising clutter that ads need to stand out from. A simple design draws the eye away from other overstimulating designs and catches someone’s more effectively. If you were walking down a medicine aisle, wouldn’t a product like this stand out from the rest?
KISS works in more ways than just design. In writing and communication it can be very important. Effective communication, especially in advertising and marketing, is being able to get a point across in the least amount of words. Rambling and lengthy clauses are often redundant and can be very frustrating to read, just like that guy at a party that loves to hear himself speak, people start to get bored and stop listening, or want to stop reading and then your audience isn’t getting the message you’ve carefully crafted for them. See? Were you suffering reading that last sentence? Keep things short and sweet and you won’t be losing anyone’s attention. Get to the point sans superfluousness.
When it comes down to it, KISS is about getting a person’s attention and keeping it long enough to get your message across. With shorter and shorter attention spans, and a higher volume of advertising clutter to break through, keeping things simple becomes increasingly valuable to implement. So get practicing!