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Mevis & van Deursen — restrictions quote

February 6, 2011

I feel like I’ve already written up this quote any number of times,but I can’t find it, so here we go again.



Someone once said that design is always the product of a lot of restrictions, Charles Eames, I think, or maybe it was Cahrlie Chaplin — but it’s exactly how it is, you can’t overstate the role played by the restrictions.

But not only the ones that come with the job, I mean the given ones, content, the project, the time, your own limits, even the expectations of the client or whoever you are working with. They all restrict you. But I think that you then have to introuce a set of extra restrictions based on these, that in a way, protect you from them. I think it’s here that you in fact find find all the decisions you need. The size, the format, whether you choose color or only black and white, whether to use images and type or just type.

It’s a way of setting up rules to a game you are about to play. Rules that create the game. And the clearer the rules, the more fun it is in fact to play.

Because it’s not about wanting to be dogmatic or something less free, it’s the opposite. By knowing what the rules are or are the limits, you seem to get a better sense of the possibilities. You react more quickly and you make decisions more easily and effectively. You look for all the possibilities for freedom within those restriction and you play them out.”

Dutch Resource p. 66


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