So, you’ve probably noticed that minimalist designs have been around for awhile now. From a designer perspective, what’s the relevance? Will you become a better web designer by following minimalism, or is it a fad?
Well, there is certainly beauty in simplicity, and as for it being a fad, it’s hard to say. Who knows how design will change even over the next couple of years. The great thing about minimalism is that you can learn a hell of a lot from it and pursuing it will significantly improve your skills.
Number one, consider the purpose of minimalism. Remember the crazy and wacky 90’s websites? How about the 2000’s with Flash popping out of everything, excessive photoshopped pages and a bunch of other on-page clutter that didn’t need to be there. As things evolved, we now have a calm. Whisper. Welcome, minimalism. People have had enough with bad sites that were confusing and extremely user unfriendly.
Minimalism embraces the user; it provides a lighter, friendly environment. Everything that needs to be on a minimalist site is there, nothing else. No clutter, no confusion. Users can grasp it at a glance.
Well, when done correctly, of course.
So, how can web designers jump in and design a minimalist site the right way?
Add focus to a main element
Minimalist designs don’t have a lot of elements incorporated. Remember, there’s no clutter, there’s nothing that is not essential to the website’s goal.
As a result, designers only need to focus on a single element, something that will become the focal point of the entire site.
So, the element, what is it? That depends on the site’s goal, but as an example, we’ll say you’re designing a site for an online service.
In this case, your main element would be a signup form. This will be a button, a couple of screenshots, and some short copy. Don’t include anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be there. Focus on the essentials. Shifting to a minimalist perspective will really make you think twice about the importance of elements on the site and what can be booted.
Anyone can fill a site with a bunch of stuff, but good designers are ones who can identify the few important elements and reject the rest.
Get the important few right
Given that minimalist designs use only a handful of elements to convey a message, visitors must be convinced to take action. This means that the few elements have to be just right.
Minimalist design is about using as few elements as possible to attain a goal. Every element has a purpose in a minimalist design.
You know you’re on the right track if there aren’t any elements that can be removed without impacting the site’s ability to achieve its goals.
Typography is beauty
Typography is huge in minimalist designs; this is definitely a major one.
Given that there’s not a lot to show on a minimalist site, text becomes an element all its own. Be sure to choose the right font; both size and decoration are crucial to balance.
If you’re thinking that Arial may be the perfect fit, forget it. It rarely is in minimalist designs. Don’t neglect choosing a proper font. It does take time, but it’s important to understand the basic rules of typography and how it can take your design to the next level.
Loving and using whitespace
Whitespace is something that more experienced designers welcome using. A lot of beginners are under the impression that every bit of the page needs to be occupied, which obviously isn’t the case.
Whitespace is crucial when it comes to minimalist designs. The great thing is that minimalist design forces the spacing of elements across the site evenly; they can’t simply be clumped together.
Minimalist designs will certainly help you improve your use of white space, which will ultimately come in handy for any piece of design work imaginable.
Believe in your opinion
Believe in your work.
If you’re freelancing, you may think twice about handing back a simple design. Don’t think that your client won’t be as eager to pay for only a handful of elements on the site and if the form is simplistic.
Stick to minimalism and stand behind your designs. Being able to explain the “why’s” behind the design will add extra value for the client.
5 Minimalist examples
Check out these power 5 minimalist designs for a little inspiration.