Recollections of an memorable project
Thinking about the concept of “less is more”, takes me back to a small and initially unpromising project that a maverick boss of mine persuaded me to get involved in many years ago. It provides an interesting example of counter-intuitive optimisation.
There was a manufacturing plant which produced credit cards. The plastic cards were manufactured in sheets; this involved a lamination process which started with a “layup” of three plastic sheets and ended up with them laminated together as one sheet. The lamination was done in a press which was heated and then cooled; this caused the plastic sheets to melt slightly and to become welded together as one. To produce cards with flat and clean surfaces, each layup also had shiny metal plates on either side to produce a smooth finish.
There seems to be an upsurge of interest in the philosophy of “less is more”. A couple of recent articles about product design, in general and in a specific case, address relevant aspects of this phenomenon.
What do we know?
On one level, we tend to question: how can “less” be “more”? We know it makes no sense! This is true: it really does not make any sense, if all that we focus on is measurable, countable, sequencable information – the kind of information understood by the “left side” of our brains.
On a different level, we know that “less” really is “more”. Less complexity is more simplicity and fun; less distraction is more concentration; and so on. This makes sense when we are thinking about the whole picture – the kind of information which is handled by the “right side” of our brains.
At the moment and on this topic, there is a specific product which is exercising the minds of people who follow these things. Continue reading “Less is more!”