Skip to content

Six Principles of Principles

27 May, 2015

I love a good principle.

They’re fundamental in nature. Sometimes simple, often deep. They guide behaviour. They help make decisions in the complex world of multiple decisions required. They’re better when there are more than one – because nothing is ever black and white (if is it then they’re rules not principles).

So when I found this link to Design Principles FTW (curated by Meetod “a tiny UX agency in Sweden” doing a big job curating these principles!) I was in principle heaven.


Also, having read through many of them, I couldn’t help but have a go at my own set of Principles of Principles based seeing 73 collections and 587 principles.

The Desonance 6 Principles of Principles

  1. Same letter start, way to the heart.
  2. Single                 …word, then explain.
  3. S’Number them for better hits.
  4. Six minus one to 10 in number.
  5. Succinct verbosity, otherwise too much curiosity.
  6. So action occurs, use verbs.


1. Same letter start, way to the heart.

Connected, Courageous, Collaborative, Coherent, Co-sponsored.
Make it clear, Manage it all, Maintain what you can, Maximise the value.

I made up that last one but seems like to could be something! Anyhoo, I’ve been guilty of this in the past – using the same letter to start each Principle. I think sometimes, trying to get that matchy-matchyness (there is no linguistic term for lists starting with the same letter) may dilute the actual heart of the principles intent.


2. Single                        …..word, then explain.

I’m a fan of conciseness (even if I don’t often practice it), but I think a list of snappy descriptions is better then a single enigmatic, open-to-interpretation word. And it goes with Principle 6.


3. S’Number them for better hits.

Apparently, you get better clicks if you number your lists and posts. Just think of all the ‘4 Ways Elevators Will Get Totally Insane in 2016’, ‘38 Foods That Shouldn’t Exist’ and ‘10 Signs You’re a Sucker for Clickbait’ you click on. I know I do! I know they’ll be skimable, I know they should be fast to get through, and I know it will be a list.


4. Six minus one to 10. (See what I mean about Principle 1)

Between five and ten seems to be the most popular number for a list. I subscribe to the ‘The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two’ (Miller’s Law) so it works for me.


5. Succinct verbosity, otherwise too much curiosity.

No gorilla arm‘ is rare as a type of principle, but generally a principle is immediately understandable so you don’t get confused. And if it is wordy or verbose, it’s probably aimed at a specialist audience.


6. So action occurs, use verbs.

Design, Assume, Tailor, Strive, Reduce, Offer – doing words! Because principles are about doing something – making a decision, changing a mind, setting a course.


Disclaimer: If, in reading this list you say “ahhhh, they aren’t actually principles!” – Sorry, I don’t really care. Sometimes it’s nice to just put fingers to keyboard, compose something and hit publish. Without making sure you’ve captured a system of broadly applicable truths. Ironic, don’t you think?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: