What is minimalism?
You’ve probably heard the phrases “the art of less” or “less is more” many times. It’s a cliché, but there is truth to it. One can say that the simplicity represents the essence of a minimalistic approach in modern design.
“The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture, wherein the subject is reduced to its necessary elements”.
However, today I would like to focus on exploring minimalism as it’s applied in digital web design. I will also go through its main principles and show you actual examples of beautiful minimalist websites.
Minimalism in web design
Most designers agree that minimalism in web design means simplifying the interface by removing unnecessary elements. Some will also argue that you need to strip down the website to its bare bones, especially since AMP was introduced. However, no matter which approach you prefer, remember that there are some restrictions in deleting the elements of your design before it loses its main goal of providing information to the visitor or generating sales.
The main principles of minimalism in web design
- Invisible or subtle navigation
- Negative/empty space
- Use of contrast
- Power of typography
- User-friendly layout
Invisible or subtle navigation
Most people are in a hurry, or to be more accurate, are impatient. Simple navigation will encourage them to look for what they came to your website for. Unless you’re building a large retailer website that requires a mega menu, keep it simple, and you will be rewarded.
White space can be a powerful tool, helping you to draw people’s attention toward what little remains on your minimalistic website. It is commonly used, but often its inclusion is an accident, especially when a designer building an e-commerce website will tend to focus on making sure the shop works. How it looks is a secondary concern. In such instances, you end up with a website of a five-year-old who did not learn yet how to fill in the background between the grass and the sky on that picture they drew for grandma.
Use of contrast
In terms of contrast, you can play with light or dark colours (resist using too many in one project) to effectively use minimalism in web design. In addition, you can strategically place some of the website elements in the foreground vs background to emphasise them. Another contrast to consider is size and shape. These come especially handy when designing Call to Action buttons that should draw the attention of the visitor.
Power of typography
There are hundreds of fonts to choose from these days, and with minimalistic design in mind, it’s not about which one you choose but how you use it. You can even use bold fonts and huge letters. No website should use one font only, but do not go overboard. Do not go over three if you care about minimalism in web design. Even better, stick to two and play with the size, weight, and letter spacing to achieve balance and simplicity.
Large images will empower you to bring life to empty spaces. But they only work in certain cases like when designing a website for interior design, or photographers etc. Pictures can be very heavy and can slow down your website, so they need to be well balanced with the text between them.
When should you choose minimalism in web design?
There are certain benefits to choosing minimalistic web design, but it’s not suitable for all projects. On the one hand, they often seem a good choice for one-page websites or to sell a few products but won’t work on large retailer e-com stores.
It also depends on your audience. A professional corporate worker may not care about the aesthetics but for a musician, or in fact any artist, a minimalism in web design can be appealing. It is quite clear that you need to keep your end user in mind at all times and design for them. Will your customer appreciate the ease of navigation? Or will they feel like something is missing and flee to your competitor’s website?
Whether you choose to design a minimalistic website or not, remember that what seems simple at first glance, usually requires a lot of effort from a designer’s perspective. There is no point in stripping things from the website to make it light and user-friendly if it’s not going to be functional. With a bit of time, dedication and a proper approach to never sacrificing usability for the sake of visuals, you can create a beautiful and useful website in no time… Kidding! Every designer knows that it takes time to design any good website. At least now you know what you should keep in mind to design a minimalistic one! So, are you ready for minimalism in web design? Good, then go and be creative!