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Patrick Furse

Engaging digital experiences. Simple

There’s a huge opportunity for brands, as technology and digital innovation brings them closer to their audience, to drive more meaningful and powerful connections through the power of simplicity. Earlier this year I gave a presentation to the Institute of Promotional Marketing’s Digital Disruption conference.  

Unlike the other speakers, I didn’t have a new piece of technology to push; I wasn’t unveiling a radical new idea.  I was there to make a case for an old concept. Something I believe in passionately; an elusive commodity in today’s hi-tech, fast paced world - simplicity.

‘Disruptive simplicity’ is an approach we use at Bray Leino where we aim to create clarity, joy and utility from the technical, cultural and behavioural changes that define our technology centric society.

If that all sounds a bit unsimple – here’s the simple bit…it means doing less stuff, better.

Less is more

What’s behind this approach? Ever heard of Dieter Rams? He’s the German industrial design legend behind some of Braun’s most iconic consumer technology products.  

It was Rams who coined the hugely influential ten principles for good design; and whose approach to design is best summed up as ‘Less, but better’.

Rams’ tenth principle is, ‘Good design is as little design as possible’.

This means that when it comes to the work we do, the devil is in the detail. Notably clever design is commendable; but design that’s invisible, that allows the interface to be secondary, that’s what we’re aiming for.

Technology is driving major changes and disruptions in the way people live their lives, the way they work and interact with each other. Bottom line, life has become complicated enough.

Design for partial attention

Disruptive Simplicity in this environment means designing for the partial attention of users. It means stripping functionality back to its most fundamental, necessary properties, then delivering those beautifully, elegantly and delightfully.

Simplicity has become a positive differentiator, allowing smart brands to deliver positive experiences, profitable transactions and an increase in positive brand perception and recommendation.

Apple, whose Sir Jonny Ive is a known admirer of Rams, has proved that people are prepared to invest a premium in simple, beautiful experiences.

Disruptive Simplicity as an approach works, not only in designing apps, but can be usefully applied to content design, development or campaigns

It means viewing the status quo in a sector dispassionately and asking ‘why?’, then challenging conventions by removing any part of the experience that doesn’t deliver clarity, joy or utility.

There’s so much stuff we are asked to look at, to process, to decide on, to transact with on an hourly basis - brands that understand this and introduce simplicity into our lives will cut through this noise and get consumers to invest their valuable attention.


Patrick Furse is Head of Digital Brand Experience at Bray Leino. To see some examples of Disruptive Simplicity in action, visit:

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