Even if custom design and printing options seem endless, remember nothing surpasses the power of simplicity. Sometimes we get so caught up in maximizing all of our design choices – colors, fonts, images, logos, bling, bling, bling – that we forget the simple messages that we are trying to convey: contact me, please come, thank you, congratulations. Whether you are designing a business card, wedding invitation, return address label, or thank you note, think very carefully about what you are trying to say before you start clicking away at templates, fonts, and colors. Above all, we want our design tools to showcase your identity, not distract from it.

Here are a few tips for wielding the mighty power of design simplicity:

Embrace free space

Think of free space as a beautiful, balancing breath in your design. Like the elegance of a clean white shirt or the serenity of a clear desk, you want your design to be calm and accessible. Don’t think of free space as “empty space,” instead regard it as an important element to your overall look. Resist the urge to add unnecessary images, lines, dots, and curly-cues that could clutter your message.

Choose one beautiful font

When choosing a font, remember the golden rule of typography: a good font is one you don’t notice. Even if scripty, curly letters look the more interesting next to standard fonts, they are not necessarily catchier. On the contrary, they are usually distracting and difficult to read. Instead, go for one clean, simple font that adds richness and elegance to your design.

Carefully consider color

Sure, we all have our favorite colors, but it’s important to consider whether those colors work on a business cards or stationary design. Colors carry strong connotations. What do you think of when you see a light blue balloon or a red sign? What comes to mind with a yellow ribbon or a green triangle? We are trained from birth to associate certain colors with certain messages and whether we realize it or not, colors evoke certain feelings. Be mindful of your color choices. Go for complimentary pairings that evoke cleanliness and simplicity.

Spare your words

People are more likely to process messages that are short, sweet, and to the point. When it comes to words, less is usually more. There is no need to list all of your certificates and services on a business card; wordy driving directions and lengthy descriptions don’t do much for an invitation. Instead, keep it simple by referring to a single website or phone number for more information. Your recipient is intelligent enough to take it from there.

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” You want your design to look as sophisticated, creative, and inviting as your business, party, or personality.

image by LaszlO GajdOS