Is there another way of saying “less is more" in the following context?

They changed their packaging and left only the essential branding on it. It epitomizes "less is more".

  • 3
    Why look for an alternative to a perfect fit? Please clarify why "less is more" doesn't suit you.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 13:05
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    @RegDwighт While the phrase is a good fit, I disagree that such a phrase is a perfect fit due to its ambiguous and colloquial nature. See my answer.
    – Jack Ryan
    Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 16:20
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    @RegDwighт Because "less is more" is reminiscent of Ingsoc slogans from Nineteen Eighty-Four, while alternatives below are not. I for one have never liked the phrase.
    – Izkata
    Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 19:03
  • Occam Rules! Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 21:16
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    Not quite fit for context but: "Brevity is the soul of wit"
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 23:20

6 Answers 6


Minimalist/minimalistic is used to describe art or design stripped to its essential or fundamental features and may be a good way of describing your redesign.

  • You could also use minimalism. Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 13:37

A similar, but less dramatic phrase is keep it simple, or the more emphatic keep it simple, stupid, often abbreviated to KISS.

You also might consider lean and mean

using only what is necessary, and determined to work effectively in order to compete successfully

  • +1 I would suggest "lean" is appropriate by itself. It is certainly the industrial equivalent of "less is more" (feel free to perform a search for "lean" business books), but might not be as widely understood as the "less is more."
    – Jack Ryan
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 11:12
  • From the US EPA, "Lean is a business model and collection of methods that help eliminate waste while delivering quality products on time and at least cost. "
    – Jack Ryan
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 14:42
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    Although the second 'S' in KISS could be avoided :). Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 3:39

To quote a US president, "that depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

This phrase implies a subject and verb (via the equivocal "is") of some cause, as well as the resultant effect. At times, explicitly stating an idea is preferable to implying what the result might be (more brand recognition? more market share of the target demographic?). I would suggest that the critical idea is that simplicity (or minimalism, as @GetzelR notes) will achieve a greater impact (e.g. sales revenue).

In this context, an alternate way of stating the key phrase is to explicitly say that "a simpler package design might appeal to more customers, thus creating higher sales revenues for the company." However, by specifying both cause and effect, one finds oneself wielding a longer sentence containing some information that the target audience already understood (of course they're selling more!), supporting the idea that, well, sometimes "less is more."


Instead of "less is more", how about "efficiency"?


They changed their packaging and left only the bare essentials.


In design terminology, the word that I think comes closest here is "elegant". This does not mean stylish, nor high-fashion. It simply communicates artistic economy.

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