Scott Dadich of Wired on designing under constraint, two important thoughts in reverse order:
The idea of operating within constraints—of making more with less—is especially relevant these days. From Wall Street to Detroit to Washington, the lack of limits has proven to be a false freedom. With all the economic gloom, you might not be blamed for feeling that the boundless American frontier seems a little less expansive. But design teaches us that this is our hour of opportunity.
That’s because designers understand the power of limits. Constraint offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth and innovation.
Think of a young tree, a sapling. With water and sunshine, it can grow tall and strong. But include some careful pruning early in its development—removing low-hanging branches—and the tree will grow taller, stronger, faster. It won’t waste precious resources on growth that doesn’t serve its ultimate purpose. The same principle applies to design. Given fewer resources, you have to make better decisions.