I appreciate minimalism. I dislike unnecessary complexity. I’m sure you know what I mean: on the Web it’s those click-farm websites, with all the extra bells and whistles and attention grabbers. In physical technology, it’s all the extra panels and interfaces that remove you from what’s actually going on.
I have come to appreciate a few principles of design minimalism, which I use in my designs. For example, this site:
Brevity is the soul of wit. Twitter is good because it forces you to the point. Imposed limits can help you learn that discipline, but ultimately it’s about the spirit.
Handmade. Layers introduce problems. Holistically designed handmade work on a solid foundation takes a bit more effort, but produces a better result. This site is generated by a simplistic hand-rolled Hugo theme.
Design for manufacturing. The best websites are just hypertext, because the web is fundamentally hypertext. Accepting and working within the constraints of the medium produces better results than piling up kludges to try to escape the medium.
Keep it simple stupid. No extra stuff to distract. Just you and the functional core of the machine.
Once it works, simplify it. I used to have more on this site. Then I realized it could be much simpler, and the extra stuff just added confusion and unnecessary work. The first version is rarely the best. You need to throw things out over and over to get to the good stuff.
Set ambitious constraints, and strive. Truth and beauty, not to mention performance, come from pushing the limits of possibility to where only the Platonic Forms can survive. Set performance requirements slightly beyond what you can confidently achieve, and then fight with the design until you get there.
The engineers are the designers. The best products have integrated form and function. The engineering parts themselves are beautiful. The worst products have an “enclosure” that abstracts over the reality, and introduces more problems. Design is a function of organizational communication. The difference between these cases is whether the engineering and design team are the same, or separate.