Sunday, January 18, 2009

Curious about Elegance: How Elegant Are You and Your Products? Would Elegance Make You and Your Business More Remarkable?

Definition of Elegance: Refined grace or dignified propriety; Urbanity; Tasteful richness of design or ornamentation; Dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style; Polish; Scientific precision, neatness, and simplicity; something that is elegant.

The only real elegance is in the mind; if you've got that, the rest really comes from it.” - Diana Vreeland, American editor

Ah! Elegance! It is almost an elusive quality in today’s hurry up world. I started considering the many ways that having elegance can make something or someone stand out from the crowd. I am beginning to develop and design a website for an elegant foundation, so my goal is to also make the website portray elegance. And yet, possess all of the qualities so necessary for a usable, helpful, friendly and highly functional website.

In the above definition, I especially relate to, “Dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style.” And having been a mathematics major originally, I can really relate to Johnny Ball’s statement, “If mathematics is to be understood widely, we need to emphasize its elegance and its applications. Sometimes it seems that universities want to emphasize how difficult it is!”

As I wandered around the elegance and elegant quotations, I found an interesting variety of feelings about elegance, so here are a few:

  • Isn't elegance forgetting what one is wearing?” - Yves Saint Laurent, French designer
  • But I think beautiful is simple and elegant, like a ballad with simple harmony.” - John Fogerty, American musician
  • If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.” – Albert Einstein, German physicist
  • Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.” - Coco Chanel, French designer
  • If only for the sake of elegance, I try to remain morally pure.” - Marcel Proust, French author
  • Elegance is not a dispensable luxury but a factor that decides between success and failure.” - Edsger Dijkstra, Dutch scientist

And some additional quotations with interesting interpretations:

  • Genius ain't anything more than elegant common sense.” - Josh Billings, American comedian
  • A truly elegant taste is generally accompanied with excellency of heart.” - Henry Fielding, English novelist
  • What convinces is conviction. Believe in the argument you're advancing. If you don't you're as good as dead. The other person will sense that something isn't there, and no chain of reasoning, no matter how logical or elegant or brilliant, will win your case for you.” - Lyndon B. Johnson, American President
  • Teach us that wealth is not elegance, that profusion is not magnificence, that splendor is not beauty.” - Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman
  • A statesman who keeps his ear permanently glued to the ground will have neither elegance of posture nor flexibility of movement.” - Abba Eban, Israeli Diplomat
  • To achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance.” - Jean Genet, French dramatist

And the quotation that I am keeping in mind is by the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The web, then, or the pattern, a web at once sensuous and logical, an elegant and pregnant texture: that is style, that is the foundation of the art of literature.”

How about you? Do you work on possessing elegance? What do you notice when you meet someone with elegance? I would love to read your comments.