Simplicity in Design.

Contributed by Sarasota Visual Art Student Correspondent, Sishirprithvi Bommakanti, with Patrick Benjamin

Contributed by Sarasota Visual Art Student Correspondent, Sishirprithvi Bommakanti, with Patrick Benjamin. More information about Sishirprithvi posted at the end of the column.


As art students, our greatest obstacle (and perhaps most-emphasized concept), is simplicity. Whether simplicity of shape (in design), simplicity of ideas (in communication), or wearing down the general into the specific (in painting), it’s an essential element in communicating. But what does simplicity offer to the viewer? A clear, effective idea communicates easier with a viewer. Upon understanding the concept, they can then dig deeper and dissect the work. Sergei Bongart, a Russian painter writes that the hardest skill to learn is to be simple. As artists we have a natural inclination to create detail. He also states that it’s the artist’s job to only put in the information that speaks to the relevant issues. Although Bongart was speaking specifically about painting, his ideas can be applied to any concept in Visual Arts. Whether you create paintings, moving images, or sculptures; a simple design helps communicate your ideas.

Sergei Bongart, Red Light, 1976, acrylic, 32″ x 40″, private collection

When studying illustration and design at Ringling College, one of the most important thing we need to do is to create an image that communicates an idea effectively. What better way to present an idea than … simply?

However, there is another side to this argument. Milton Glaser disagrees with the “less is more” idea. He argues that through looking at the designs of many works, you cannot say, “less is more” because, “every element in the design is essential for its aesthetic success.” Glaser’s statement – that successful pieces are the result of careful planning – is correct. However, A piece of artwork, no matter how detailed, or interlaced in visual metaphor, should still appeal to the viewers. Care must be taken to adopt a visual language that is appropriate to its audience; the spectre of esotericism threatens every potential design.

Milton Glaser, I Love New York Logo

An idea, simply stated, can go a long way.

Sishirprithvi Bommakanti, Senior Portrait
Sishirprithvi Bommakanti was born in India (1990). He Lived India, New Zealand, New Jersey, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and is currently living in Florida. Sishir is a freelance illustrator, designer and painter whose illustrations and focus are geared towards conceptual narrative and figurative arts. His subject matter involves big juxtaposing objects within a composition, while his design works focus more on abstract compositions.

In addition to the above featured article, Simplicity and Design, Bommakanti’s latest body of work, Friends + Monsters http://bit.ly/vDEGsE will open January 21st.