One of the most distinctive current design trends is minimalism. Examples are ranging from electronics such as Apple’s iPod, LG’s chocolate phone, and B&O’s BeoSound system to interior accessories such as Muji’s fan and the humidifier at Plus Minus Zero (by Naoto Fukasawa). Since some of those minimally designed products made a huge commercial success, we need to understand how consumers respond to minimalist products, the products with the minimum number of design features such as colors, shapes and buttons.
Simplicity has been discussed in various areas. For instance, John Maeda (2007), a computer scientist and graphic designer argues in his book, The Laws of Simplicity that simplicity needs to be accomplished in graphic design as well as in organizations, business, and technology. Wallace (2006) also attributes the success of Apple and Google to their simplicity, urging marketers to deliver selective distinctive benefits in today’s visually overloaded environment. However, it is also true that many European designers complain that, mostly US, consumers are not ready to embrace the value of simplicity. Don Norman in his blog argues that simplicity is highly overrated.
When functionality is not sacrificed, does minimalism truly increase consumer preference?