Minimalist web design

Minimalist web design – hugely impactful, but not as easy as you’d think

Minimalism is certainly no new thing in design, and it’s not even a new trend in web design. It is, however, an enduring visual style that any web designer or brand wanting to future-proof their website as well as making a statement with their branding, will want to consider.

What is minimalism in web design?

The key thing to remember when designing a minimalist website is ‘less is more’. These three little words form the essence of the technique. You put less on the page and because of this, what is there makes a huge visual impact. It’s all about clear presentation of content, without all the bells and whistles to distract the viewer from your core message. Another definition comes from thenextweb.com, who describe it as such:

“Similar to its graphic design origins, minimalism in Web design is the purest form of sculpture through subtraction – perfection is achieved not when there’s nothing more to add, but when there’s nothing more you can take away.”

The appeal of minimalist websites

One of the main reasons to embrace minimalism to future-proof your website is that it always feels new. It is concept-driven, with your brand’s message at its heart. It efficiently achieves design goals in a way that more complex styles can’t, which is why it lasts when other trends come and go. There are other practical benefits too, as minimalist sites reduce the information that browsers need to process, improving load times and site performance. Plus, they’re a perfect fit with responsive design frameworks, and they deliver information instantly to attention and time-short web audiences without the need to trawl through pages cluttered with content.

Mastering minimalism

So, if minimalism is about simplicity, you might assume that it is easier to achieve because it involve less work on the part of the designer. Wrong! It’s actually quite tricky to pull off, as you are restricted to fewer elements, you need to construct these with far more care and accuracy. In short, there is nothing to hide behind. Here are the basic principles of minimalism that you’ll need to grasp:

  1. White space. Also known as negative space, this is essential in minimalist design as it helps to create contrast and focus all the attention on the content.
  2. Striking contrast. Following on from the principle involving white space, minimalism requires contrast between colours, as well as between other ‘unlike’ design elements.
  3. Visual balance. A common element in many minimalist websites is symmetry, along with other aesthetically balanced elements to ‘please the eye’.
  4. Exceptional quality images. If there is nothing but an image on the page, this image must be an exceptional high definition image in all of its glorious detail.
  5. Easy navigation. Minimalist sites are incredibly simple to navigate, reducing drop-downs and menus to one simple function.
  6. Flourishes in typography. If any part of a minimalist website can have a flourish, it is in the typography – which can be bold, dramatic and impactful.

What do you think of minimalist design – too stark, or the ideal way to put the emphasis on content? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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