"No emcee upstages the performers." Well said.
Welp, you just sold me on a book purchase.
"Unless of course, you're Apple."
Best sign off I've seen in a long time :)
I'm not sure I understood that sign off. Apple is a powerhouse of modern design and success.
The article makes an argument well, then signs off with "the opposite of this is being great at designing interfaces on successful products."
Agreed, Matt. It struck me as confusing and negating his own point with no further explanation.
Coincidentally I've been reading the same book (I'm about midway through) and I think the metaphor is extremely accurate. It points to my favorite thing in all of my hobbies. Whether design, infographics, photography, or non-fiction writing; distilling things to their essence both feels good and provides value.
When it comes down to it, it's a really careful and concerted effort to make things as Simple as possible but no simpler. Which is really hard. I think those concepts can be applied to whatever your craft is. Maybe that's my minimalist philosophy, but I think that minimalism and simplicity are severely lacking in our approaches, and I think that's what Kelly is saying.
Designers who are learning on the styles of today (and I see them on Forrst, et al) are learning to gloss their buttons and add leather texture to their backgrounds because that's what looks official or looks right.
They aren't learning design is the things you don't see, the hidden effort of removing things and testing things and moving things around and making things better in ways people don't even consciously realize. But it all adds up.
The article is great overall, and I think the point makes sense. But it falls flat (no pun intended) for me at this sentence:
'Gloss and “lickability” are the siblings to colloquialisms and weak writing'
This is judgmental and false. Don't get me wrong, I like flat design a lot, I tend do make most of my personal designs flat and have for a while, but putting down another way of designing is not the right way to promote one you're a fan of.
I hear your criticism, but I think my comparison still makes sense.
I'm equating gloss to unnecessary words in an sentence. Gloss is an unnecessary flourish. This is not a matter of taste, this is a matter of function. In my analogy, you don't write a sentence and then ask, "What can I add?" That is bad writing.
This is still an opinion. Some writers strive very hard to cut out any word that isn't 'strictly necessary' (Hemingway for example), but are not universally considered better writers. They just use a particular style, which some people like and others don't.
There are plenty of writers who add more detail to their writing, and you could say that sure some of that detail could be cut and the meaning of their writing would still be preserved. But writing with more detail is their style, and just the same as above, some people like it and others don't.
It's the same with design. You simply cannot declare your opinion to be factually correct, and whether you like it or not, this is your opinion, and is far from fact as any subjective opinion can be. A lot of people like design with more dimension, and it absolutely holds value. Declaring it otherwise would be narrow-minded and ridiculous.
In addition, perhaps I'll write a rebuttal article, because I think there are a number of ways that flat design still needs improvement and that bother me (affordance being the most significant) and adding dimension can solve this. Can this be done without gradients? Sure, but it's still worth considering.