Less but better

Brett NovakJuly 25, 2018

Recently I was fortunate to stumble across the collective work of Ward Bennett & an inspiring insight into his mindset and method.

Still flying under the radar of most, bar the most cognisant of the design cognoscenti – Ward Bennett was the polymath behind the furniture, interiors, and objects that have come to define a certain late-twentieth-century modernist sophistication.

He understood that true luxury lays in a beautiful view rather than extravagant living spaces.


Herman Miller: Ward Bennett at 100 from Dress Code on Vimeo.

His deeply held belief was one of the value of simplicity – in the conviction that life can be comfortable but simply lived. Bennetts possessions were pared back to things that were both necessary and personally meaningful, on the basis that anything else is “just trash.”

In all aspects of marketing, whether design, copy writing or even development – we practice deliberate decision making. Single objective, single outcome.

  • In copy, when conveying something meaningful and with intent, you’ll find it actually takes longer to write less.
  • When designing, to create something that is emotive, remarkably authentic and largely communicative, yet easily understood – less is more and arbitrary design elements without purpose should be removed (a painstakingly time-consuming process!).
  • Efficient code is carefully considered for a single objective, and presents short and sophisticated.
  • To achieve impact, campaigns must have a focused, single-minded proposition or risk being lost in the white noise.
  • The most intriguing byproduct of focussed, deliberate action on each component is the synergistic effect that takes place on the medium. The sum of carefully considered components, when placed contextually – creates a truly authentic and meaningful output.

Good things take time, considered planning, structured production and focus. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going (as anyone with abs will tell you – I still don’t know if they’re even a real thing tbh…).

Good things take time, considered planning, structured production and focus.

If everything we create comes at a cost, we must consider what the trade off actually is – whether time, quality, opportunity, monetary or meaningfulness. Once we are aware of these considerations, we can take decisive action – without compromise.

Ward Bennetts’ design and lifestyle philosophy resonates with me, particularly in a time of mass-consumption & consumerism – in a self-perpetuated world of too many options and a perceived shortage of time, where products, places and unfortunately even people are becoming evermore disposable.

Call it fad, fashion or trend (or ‘product lifecycle!’ *groans*), by contrast the takeaway for me is to focus on the things that provide substantial, meaningful value.

To have, to do, to be less. But better.


Inspired? Pick up the new Phiadon monograph.

More info? The Freeform Foundry

Credits: / the editors / why magazine / j. pawson

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