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Less is More (shirt 65)

November 15, 2010

Less is More t-shirts
Today brings a few experiments on the “Less is More” phrase. The left shirt design follows this to the letter by cutting it down to “Les is Mo.” Yes, this is a Less is More t-shirt that really means it. (Here at my Zazzle store.) The right shirt design goes in the opposite direction by repeating the phrase many times to form a crowd. A bit of a contradiction. Or just plain old hypocritical. (Here at my Zazzle store.) Both designs include hand-drawn text.

One more take on the idea is the phrase descending as it loses a letter on each side with each new row. The overall shape is an upside down triangle, starting with “LESS IS MORE” at the top and ending with “IS” at the bottom.

Less Is More cartoon

I had heard of this phrase connected with architect and furniture designer Mies van der Rohe, who’s creations find beauty in simplicity — such as the Farnsworth House (photo from
Farnsworth House

But I also learned that “Less is More” first showed up in print in the 1855 “Andrea del Sarto” poem by Robert Browning (text from

Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.

Pretty good advice, that. Don’t smear the paint on carelessly with your robes afloat. At least have the decency to tie your robe. Especially if you live in a glass house like the Farnsworth. The neighbors might see.

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