Simplicity. Is. Not. Easy.
We have a skewed sight on simplicity in art. Be honest. Would you buy a black and white graphic for your social media with text on it for $100? It’s not a complicated graphic. Two shapes at most.
My first reaction would be, No. Why? It looks ridiculously simple. Anyone could make it for $5. And you made it in ten minutes. That doesn’t look like $100 graphic.
Simplicity. Is. Not. Cheap.
And I could make one in thirty minutes. In ten, if I have assets ready. There is a reason why paintings with a black dot in the middle can be sold for millions. It’s emotional value. Not the actual value of paper, paint, and frame.
We have convinced ourselves that simplicity is easy, thus it’s cheap. Plus all these sites that offer free logos and silhouettes add to the damage. It’s no wonder that artists undersell themselves.
Do you, non-artistic “normal” person, understand what stands behind simplicity? Do you? If I would give you a quote of someone. Could you make a black and white design that complements that quote? In thirty minutes or less?
Can you go through simple steps of understanding the quote, interpreting it in your own way, rush through hundreds of designs in your head, simplify complex ideas, draw some thumbnails, find the right elements for the design, create and complete it in inkscape (or illustrator), a software you have never touched in your life, in thirty minutes or less?
I bet you could do that. Right?
Simplicity is a product with a heavy weight bundle behind it. It stands true for any form of art. We treat art as a commodity, when it’s so much more.
I asked myself what does $50 twitter banner looks like. Found some designers that asked more. Their work was, ok-ish. Fivver had many monstrosities. No one did what I had in my mind. So, what kind of banner is worth $50?
Automatically my mind goes to complicated designs. It must look complicated to justify the price. Why? Why couldn’t I charge $100 for a twitter banner that looks complicated? And why do I need to justify the price? Why do I need to sell myself cheap? By selling myself cheap I will attract people that’ll pay cheap. Do I really want that?
Who is buying these simple designs for thousands of dollars? People who understand its value.
Change in perspective is needed. I’m not making designs for poor souls like myself. Someone for whom $100 is a lot. That’s because I have zero. I’m making designs for people who are spending more than $100 daily for trivial things. It’s them who can pay without thinking twice.
I’ve been talking about art, but we strife for simplicity in different aspects of life. We don’t like complicated shopping. We value our time. Simple means fast. Fast saves time.
It’s complicated to create simplicity. First mobile phone was a brick. First computer filled the whole room. We desire simplicity, yet we complicate everything.