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6 Examples of Elegance

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I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Elegance is a remarkably simple solution or style that outperforms complexity. Simple solutions often don't perform well in the real world. An inexperienced designer can easily come up with a simple solution that doesn't work well. This might be described as naive simplicity. Elegance is an extremely sophisticated design that is nonetheless simple. To be considered elegant, a design must outperform alternatives, even if they are far more complex. The following are illustrative examples of elegance.


Do-it-yourself street fashions that are regarded as more stylish that expensive brands or haute couture.

User Interfaces

A user interface that is minimalistic that nonetheless is more pleasing and productive to use than more complex alternatives.


An algorithm of 80 lines of code that outperforms alternatives with more than 100,000 lines of code.


A business strategy based on a handful of principles that allows a firm to dominate an industry where competitors have far more complex strategies.


An artist who unlearns culture, known styles and techniques to create something completely original that is eventually held in high regard by a culture.


A passive design for a building or city that is more resilient than far more complex solutions such as a smart city approach.
Overview: Elegance
A remarkably simple solution or style that outperforms complexity.
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