7 Design Principles, Inspired By Zen Wisdom
One of the best-known photographs of the late Steve Jobs pictures him sitting in the middle of the living room of his Los Altos house, circa 1982. There isn’t much in the room, save an audio system and a Tiffany lamp. Jobs is sipping tea, sitting yoga-style on a mat, with but a few books around him. The picture speaks volumes about the less-is-more motive behind every Apple product designed under his command. As Warren Berger wrote on Co.Design, Jobs’s love for elegantly simple, intuitive design is widely attributed to his appreciation of Zen philosophy (Jobs was a practicing Buddhist). But while many people might be familiar with Zen as a broad concept, far fewer are knowledgeable of the key aesthetic principles that collectively comprise the “Zen of design.” To understand the Zen principles, a good starting point is shibumi. James Michener referred to shibumi in his 1968 novel Iberia, writing that it can’t be translated and has no explanation. The Shibumi Seven 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.