Do This If You Want To Create Elegance

We keep seeing that people are drawn to elegant products and web sites, but HOW do you design elegance if you weren’t born with Steve Jobs’s design eye?

I asked Matthew May to come to Mixergy and teach you the elements of elegance and give you a framework that will help you create with more elegance.

Matthew E. May

Matthew E. May

Matthew May is the author of In Pursuit of Elegance and the critically acclaimed The Elegant Solution.


Use the 4 elements of elegance

#1 Symmetry

Most people know that symmetry creates elegance, but Matthew says that symmetry doesn’t have to mean that each side of an object must be a mirror image of the other.

Sometimes symmetry is harder to spot. For example, the first time you saw a Jackson Pollock paining you might have thought it was just paint splattered on a canvas. But chances are you were also attracted to it.

Physicist Richard Taylor says if you examine Pollock’s work carefully you’ll see a self-replicating, self-similar pattern known as a fractal, which gives the work a elegance.

#2 Seduction

Products that are elegant leave something to the imagination.

Marketing scientists Dilip Soman and Satya Menon say you can stimulate people’s interest if you do these 3 things: “the first is to arouse curiosity by demonstrating a moderate gap in the observer’s knowledge. Second, provide just enough information to make them want to resolve their curiosity. Third, give them time to try to resolve their curiosity on their own.”

#3 Subtraction

In the program I talked about how I killed the elegance of one of my sites by adding more text to it because I wanted to ensure people understood it. Elegance isn’t about addition, it’s about subtraction.

first direct, the young bank (that doesn’t use capital letters in its name), created an elegant experience by removing branches from its business model. Similarly, we talked in the program about how Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France because his trainer eliminated all unnecessary training.

#4 Sustainable

Matthew says that a design isn’t elegant if it can’t last.

I think the best example I can give of this point is my first blog theme. It looked beautiful … until I added content to it. And the more I added, the uglier it got.

If you create something that looks good on the shelf but falls apart when it’s taken home, you haven’t created elegance.

Full program includes

– You’ll hear more examples of elegant design.

– You’ll learn how YOU can add elegance to your work.

– You’ll discover how Matthew got Guy Kawasaki to write the foreword to his book.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.