Following up on a couple of talks I gave at the Baylor College
of Medicine a month ago, Andy Groves, an Associate Professor
of Neuroscience and of Molecular and Human Genetics at BCM,
pointed me to the delightful YouTube video displayed below.
This video dates back a couple of years now, but it so nicely
embodies—ab absurdo—the principles of design I believe in
that I decided it was worth a mention. The criticism it conveys
is by no means limited to the design of packages by Microsoft.
When it comes to formatting a page, delivering a presentation,
or setting up a classroom, many of my workshop participants
demonstrate a phobia of emptiness: they fill slides and pages,
would rather say um than stay silent, and wince at the thought
of speaking without a barrier between them and the audience.
Once in the audience, however, these same people appreciate
minimalist design just as much as anyone else, be it an iPod
(or its package) or a speaker who mastered his or her phobia
of emptiness in space and time. As Andy put it in his e-mail
to me about the above video parody, “I can't watch it without
hearing your voice saying Suppress, suppress, suppress…”