The pursuit of elegance and simplicity drives all of our work. For years, we have collected quotes and ideas related to these concepts, because we believe it is in striving for clarity that we begin to generate substantive media with a long shelf life. To truly understand the nature of our messages, we exercise deep listening. Through this process, we work to land on one or two sentences that distill the heart of the documentary, brand, cause, etc. The heart, of course, is what was there all along. It is matter of recognition, not contrivance. If we do our job right, the complexity of the process is erased in the product and the audience is left with a graceful piece of media that seemingly emerged organically. This is an ongoing post that we will return to, from time to time for inspiration.
"Last night I began my novel. Now I foresee terrifying difficulties of style. It’s no easy business to be simple." — Gustave Flaubert
"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple." — Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." — Leonard DaVinci
Tips from Kurt Vonnegut:
1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.
"Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." — Albert Einstein
"I think a lot of people see simplicity as the lack of clutter. And that’s not the case at all. True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, ‘Yeah, well, of course.’ Where there’s no rational alternative." — Jony Ive
That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” — Steve Jobs
"Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest." — Leo Baubata
"Simplicity is not about making something without ornament, but rather about making something very complex, then slicing elements away, until you reveal the very essence." — Taken from a piece in The New Yorker by Christoph Niemann detailing the experience he had creating an app, Petting Zoo.
"From one thing, know ten thousand things." — Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
"Usually when it is so simple we say, "Oh, I know that! It is quite simple. Everyone knows that." But if we do not find its value, it means nothing. It is the same as not knowing." — Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
"Simplicity is at the core of things wabi-sabi. Nothingness, of course, is the ultimate simplicity. But before and after nothingness, simplicity is not so simple. To paraphrase Rikyu, the essence of wabi-sabi, as expressed in tea, is simplicity itself: fetch water, gather firewood, boil the water, prepare tea, and serve it to others. Further details, Rikyu suggests, are left to one's own invention.
But how do you exercise the restraint that simplicity requires without crossing over into ostentatious austerity? How do you pay attention to all the necessary details without becoming excessively fussy? How do you achieve simplicity without inviting boredom?
The simplicity of wabi-sabi is probably best described as the state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence. The main strategy of this intelligence is economy of means. Pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry. Keep things clean and unencumbered, but don't sterilize. (Things wabi-sabi are emotionally warm, never cold.) Usually this implies a limited palette of materials. It also means keeping conspicuous features to a minimum. But it doesn't mean removing the invisible connective tissue that somehow binds the elements into a meaningful whole. It also doesn't mean in any way diminishing something's "interestingness," the quality that compels us to look at something over, and over, and over again." — Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, pp. 71-72.
Isn't the same true of art? "Backpacking is the art of knowing what not to take." — Sheridan Anderson
"One does not create by adding, but by taking away." — Robert Bresson