We lean on these principles throughout the design process. Strong and clear principles help keep designs focused, critiques purposeful and free of egos, and solutions clear and decisive.


Showing your wearer how busy they are doesn’t need to be stressful. Avoid lots of manic patterns, lines, and shapes.

Be zen

An effective watch face design should be calming, balanced and considered.


If your concept needs to be “studied” to be understood consider simplifying your design.

Be glanceable

People don’t stare at their watch, they glance quickly at it many times a day.

Whatever data you decide to show on your watch face, make sure it can be read completely in a short glance.

Your design doesn’t need to be confusing to be a good conversation piece.


How do UI elements map to time?

Make it work

Is the functionality thought through or is it just pretty? A great watch face undergoes round of interrogation, not just challenging it’s visual appeal but how it will actually work as a watch face.


Less is more. A weather-based watch face that shows tons of detailed data points is ultimately less useful than one which is simple and clear.

Show a singular expression

If your design aims to express a single idea, you can avoid overwhelming wearers. It’s a small screen and pixels are bigger than atoms. A simple purpose paired with a simple design will make your watch face easy to understand and fun to wear.

For example
  • Is it going to rain later?
  • When is my next meeting?
  • How active have I been today?