Kanso, Shizen, Shibumi

Zen itself is not concerned with judging this design to be good or that design to be bad. Still, we can look to some of the concepts in the Zen aesthetic to help us improve our own visuals with an eye toward simplicity.

Kanso (Simplicity)

A key tenet of the Zen aesthetic is kanso or simplicity. In the kanso concept, beauty and visual elegance are achieved by elimination and omission. Says artist, designer, and architect Dr. Koichi Kawana, “Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means.” When you examine your visuals, then, can you say that you are getting the maximum impact with a minimum of graphic elements, for example? When you take a look at Jobs’s slides and Gates’s slides of the past, how do ...

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