The term “minimalism” is often used loosely and without definition. The term “minimalist” can be used to describe a wide range of concepts, from a way of life to a specific type of art. Minimalism is becoming more of a subgenre within web design, particularly among creatives who are trying to find fresh ways to communicate vital information.
Because of this, it’s easy to assume that a minimal web design can be made in a shorter amount of time. After all, the point of a minimal design is to convey the impression of simplicity and a primary focus. The claim that less effort is involved is, however, completely false.
A Minimal Mindset
Establishing a focal point is essential for successfully implementing minimalism in your design. The primary purpose of a minimalist layout is to convey information clearly to site visitors. Before diving into the actual design process, having a project plan and narrow scope will go a long way. Attempting to implement a broad scope of information while still maintaining a minimal style can have pretty disastrous results.
Don’t rush into deciding what this site’s focus will be. If this isn’t the kind of site that can focus solely on one thing, then switching up the design approach might be the best option. If you know where you want to go, you can prioritise the information that will be most useful in creating your design.
Sometimes, the most effective way to convey your message to the user is through the use of very few words at once.
The Art of Taking Away
Antoine de Saint-Exuper, a French writer, once said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Designers’ creative skills are often cited as reasons for their success. We often start from scratch, with nothing but a blank screen or canvas, and create stunning works of art. The removal of elements from a design is a skill that requires practise and training and thus can be challenging to master.
Minimal designs are often doomed because designers love to use eye candy wherever they can. In some cases, it’s best to start with a blank canvas when designing a website, and then gradually remove any elements that aren’t strictly necessary. It’s true that this can be a difficult and lengthy process, but the payoff is well worth it.
Learn to put the principle of reduction into practise.
Black and white are the traditional colours of minimalist web design, but this is by no means an inflexible rule. As opposed to popular belief, minimalist web design does not require a lack of colour, but rather the strategic application of carefully curated colour schemes.
That being said, monochrome palettes are frequently employed.
This is due to the fact that it provides a blank slate for designers to use any accent colour they like in order to create a uniform brand appearance. Color schemes with more variety can be just as efficient. The importance lies not in the use of colour itself, but in the manner in which it is employed.
A minimalist web design makes use of a continuous background colour to establish the site’s mood and tone, while an accent colour draws attention to and emphasises the site’s most crucial elements. Use of accent colours should be restrained so as not to confuse the reader by drawing their attention to multiple points at once.
The mood communicated by a website is greatly influenced by the colours used within a minimal design.
Whether it’s a sleek and sophisticated black and white design or a bold and bright colour scheme from across the spectrum, minimalist web design isn’t colour blind.
Designs devoid of extraneous elements, such as animations and transitions, draw attention to the textual information. Clearly, this highlights the value of carefully considered typography even more. When there are fewer visual elements on a page, the text must do more work to hold the reader’s interest and advance the narrative.
As more and more typefaces become available online, typography as an art form is gaining popularity among web designers. The best examples of what can be achieved with carefully chosen type are often found in minimal designs. A design’s overall impression is shaped in large part by the typefaces chosen and how they are used.
The use of appropriate typography has the potential to convey structural significance while also lending a great deal of personality to a website. Choosing between a serif and a sans serif font may seem like an easy decision, but in practise it can be quite complicated. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the various font options.
Expanding your font customization options beyond just size and colour to include leading, kerning, weight, and style will give you much more leeway as you use your content to construct your site’s architecture.
A minimalist aesthetic isn’t always indicative of an easy-to-navigate website. Reduce the visual noise on your website by increasing your focus on smart layout. A poorly planned site structure is the single most effective way to undermine the efficiency of a minimal web design.
Where exactly are you putting your logo, and does it matter? Do you have a straightforward and simple menu structure on your site? Without flashy visuals to support these crucial elements, your site’s functionality will be in jeopardy.
One of the most important principles of web design is to ensure that users can access the information they need without having to perform any mental gymnastics. Many well-executed minimal designs are incredibly user-friendly and visually indexable, but this is not a property of the design style per se. Rather, it takes a lot of work and excellent visual sense to achieve that kind of natural, seemingly effortless flow.
When the goal is to make less mean more, negative space becomes one of the most powerful tools available to designers, and the ability to space content properly is what separates the men from the boys in any field of design.
More than that, negative space is used to cluster related elements, which strengthens the framework of a design. The breaks in the content provide our eyes and brains with a much-needed rest. Though the designer’s initial inclination may be to overstuff the space with eye-catching graphics and trinkets, doing so will inevitably lead to a chaotic end product.
Find the Balance
Since much of this discussion has focused on eliminating or minimising excessive visuals, it could be easy to assume that pictures are the problem. Instead, visuals can convey more with a minimal layout. By increasing white space and employing muted colour schemes, a minimal website design allows images to stand out as the screen’s primary attractions.
Always remember the importance of harmony when arranging visual elements like images and graphics. Do you think the image you chose complements the text? Don’t just throw images in there to fill up the page or add some colour; make sure they add value to the text they’re next to.
Your website may benefit from additional tidying up if you use elements like infographics, charts, and pictures. If a picture can convey your message more effectively than words, then by all means, use a picture instead of words.
Similarly, a few well-placed charts or graphs can convey more information clearly and elegantly than a wall of text could ever hope to.
What to Take Home
In the end, knowing our end goals for a minimal website design is what matters most. If you’re implementing a minimalist web layout just to see what the fuss is about, you’re going about it all wrong. Minimalism is more than just a fad; it has a place in the fine arts, architecture, and philosophy as well as the digital realm.
The goal of minimalism is to convey only the essential information by omitting all else. It’s not always the case that a design project calls for an absolutely stripped-down aesthetic. In most cases, you will discover that minimalism is not well-suited to the job at hand.
However, the principles of communicating information in a minimalistic nature should always be emphasised.
How About You?
Do any of your projects attempt minimalism? If you’re working on a more conventional project, have you found any of the minimalist theory helpful in your work?