Archive for simplicity

The Power of Simple Design

One of the reason I choose to use TypePad is their obvious care for beauty – from the viewpoint of a designer it is very easy to make a beautiful blog with this software, and from a user’s standpoint, the interface has a refreshing clarity and ease.

Even their website was clean and beautiful – and I say was even though
it’s still far better than most, but I must admit I prefer the old
design. I loved the evocative image of an orange among apples and the featured
blog right up there on top – as a TypePad blogger, it made me feel I
could be "discovered" at any moment. Now that piece is much further down the
page, "below the fold" under some standard promotional copy that gets
VERY old when you see it every day.

But to my eye, the winner of the online design prize goes to Google.
The ultimate in elegant simplicity, what else could a weary-eyed
designer like myself, visually exhausted by the crowded excesses of the web, possibly prefer for my browser’s home page?

Even now with all the bells and whistles I’ve added to Google suite – GMail and Blogger, Google
Analytics, Google Calendars and widgets that show daylight patterns
across the world – they tuck away nicely in tabs, preserving that clean open search
page design. I love the relief of its white space and never get tired of the
classic logo, kept fresh and surprising by the variety of seasonal
decoration (although today’s depiction of Lego’s 50th anniversary makes
me suspect they’re accepting product placement payments, and that
tends to make them less attractive).

What delights your eye? Any favorite examples of online design to share?

Communal Dreams

Still traveling, right now I’m in Red Feather Lakes in Colorado at the Shambhala Mountain Center for a fascinating conference called Story Field (more on this in a later post).

Just last week I was doing a Zhikr training put on by Arica Institute at Esalen in Big Sur, California.

Beyond the events themselves I’ve been thinking a lot about the environments in which I’ve experienced them, which despite some clear differences are very similar. Both are set in amazing natural landscapes, both are intentional communities and both collective businesses grounded in the spiritual realm.

I’m taken back to my years living the communal ‘back to the land’ dream in rural NE Vermont in the early 70s and the subsequent urban communal years through the 80s in Boston and San Diego. I haven’t forgotten the unique hell-realms of communal living, but I must admit the simple life in nature, immersed in right livelihood and intimate relationships with others also has its attractions.

Sculpture in the vegetable garden at Esalen

The path up to the Shinto Shrine above the Great Stupa at Shambhala