Get Rid of Clutter

I was thinking about what it means to be focused.

My nieces like to play with my musical equipment. If I have the keyboard out, they bang on it. If I have a microphone out they scream into it. If I have anything out that they’ve learned is meant to make music (or noise), they explore it. They don’t really create anything – they’re just exploring.

It reminds me of beginning group piano courses in college. Most of the students didn’t really have much formal piano training, so they were excited to play the keyboards in class…even when it wasn’t their turn or they weren’t supposed to. The instructor would politely ask students to stop until they did. The request gradually lost its diplomacy over time.

In some of the design work that I do people suggest that there be a certain shape, or that text flashes across the screen in a certain way, etc. What they end up doing is neglecting the overall message.

This helps to demonstrate what it means to have a plan and to stick with it. I’m somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to design and music. I believe that if an object (rhythm, shape, harmony, etc) does not serve to enhance the overall message then it just gets in the way of that message. It creates clutter. It makes the whole method of communication inefficient. Everything has to have some worthwhile purpose to exist in the project. This way of thinking has been in the back of my mind for a while now and it rears its head in almost everything I observe.

If you don’t plan the idea then you just build clutter. You’re just a little kid screaming into a microphone.