Minimalism in art appeared in the late 1960’s. The main principle of the movement is simplicity in form and content; in order to achieve this, personal expression is removed. The aim of minimalism artists is to build their compositions in such a way that visitors perceive the artwork as deeper and more intense.
It can be achieved by making the themes clear from clutter. Minimalism is often manifested as abstract art, but it can also be very beautiful.
Image credit: Todd Klassy
Minimalism as a Web Design
Minimalist designs make the simple things simple, and the complex things possible. My aim is to combine simple elegance and functionality to a timeless form. - Xavier Lust.
Minimalism as a web design trend came back not long ago. It was a move away from gaudy, elaborate graphics and design schemes, and a shift back towards simple, understated design. It was a comeback of the design at its most basic and simple elements, free from superfluous shapes and complex color combinations.
I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time. - Mark Twain.
Aspects and Features of a Modern Minimal Web Design
In today’s world web minimalism is still all the rage, and the main reason of the trend’s popularity is people’s love for friendly and lightweight yet stylish and unobtrusive simple designs. By simple is not meant primitive. Some of the websites with minimalistic design have a number of shiny effects and use advanced forms of CSS and Ajax. But they seem to favor a cleaner, more clutter-free experience, and put a premium on white space.
So, what are the main distinctive features and aspects that make a modern web design minimalistic?
It is too easy for novices, too difficult for professionals. - A saying about playing Mozart.
The core function of a minimalistic design is to be able to present a clear message to the visitors. In order to achieve that, it is necessary to re-think the content and modify it to meet the design’s requirements. You’ll have to remove most of the graphic elements and images, but you should do it wisely, because it is very easy to go too far in an attempt to simplify the layout therefore you risk making the design boring.
Before making a decision to create a clear design, it is important to think what your future website is going to be about and make sure that minimal design will work well for your online project.
Grid Systems are Used
Grid systems play a key role in minimalistic design. With their help it is possible to create a solid visual and structural balance of websites. If you use a grid to design your website page layout, you'll create web pages that feel comfortable to most people. They allow you to strengthen your layouts thereby eliminating cluttered designs that usually arise. If the proportion of one of the website elements is off in relation to any other one, the whole design is out of order.
Here the traditional ideas of balance are used: symmetry (a mirror element; the results look organized and orderly) and asymmetry (without symmetry; careful adjustments in size, color, shape and placement of the elements in the format are required before balance is achieved). In minimalistic design it should be performed absolutely right or else.
Another essential feature that is peculiar for minimal design is having plenty of white space that should be used effectively, and also lack of clutter. The space is needed to balance the few elements that will appear on the page. So, use white space around the website elements, because that makes things look separate. It makes working with the website much easier. By the way, it doesn’t mean that white spaces have to be white: it just means an open space in web design, and the color may be whatever.
Wise Use of Colors
Minimalism doesn’t imply a lack of color – the use of the color palettes should be intelligent and well planned. The idea is how you use color, but not just use it. Many minimalistic designs are created with black and white, but this tendency is not essential for a minimal design. Surely, black and white is a good choice, since you can then use any accent color to grab the visitor’s attention and highlight the necessary elements of your website.
The typography in minimalistic design should be clear and easily readable. It is not that difficult to create a website with very few images and items; the main idea is to develop a website with no clutter that would look good, and it is not that easy. When creating a minimalistic design, many designers compensate for using less graphics and images by making better use of typography. If the typography is excellent, it is capable of replacing many visual attractive elements that are not used in the design in order to make the website lightweight.
Effective Use of Images
Good minimalistic designers are able to create a stronger effect with minimal graphics and few images, rather than using too many of them. They use fewer graphics, but do it wisely, that in the end turns out much more effective than if they used a lot of them. In some cases, such elements as infographics, pictures or charts can serve to clean your design up even more. In other words, if you can use an image that will replace a thousand words, that’s great!
Minimalistic Website Showcases
Here is a showcase of minimalist designs for you to see how the above mentioned aspects work. The collection is divided into two categories: Flash and HTML/CSS designs.
Flash Minimalistic Designs
A great number of minimalistic designs are created with Flash, and there is no wonder any more… Flash technology is getting more advanced from year to year. In order to achieve with Flash what can be achieved by traditional methods designers make websites’ elements easier, e.g. unconventional wireframes, typography, etc. As for animation, the task is to make it subtle (text fading in and out without being overpowered).
Business Flash Website
HTML/CSS & other Minimalistic Designs
Below are some very good, in my opinion, minimalistic designs created using traditional coding. The designers’ intention was to make the content stand out and be the focal point. As a result, we have calming designs that bring the mind down to the basics.
- Art History: Minimalism
- Minimalist Web Design
- What is Minimalism?
- Simple Flow: Minimalism in Web Design
- The Different Elements that Bring Together Minimalistic Design
- Minimalism in Web Design: A Guide
- The Anatomy of a Minimalistic Web Design
- Minimalist Web Design: When Less is More
- Design 2.0: Minimalism, Transparency, and You
So, what do you guys think? Is this trend tending to grow? Or is it just another way of potentially designing a site that works for some and not for others?