“Less is more” is a motto that more and more people are following. Nowadays, you can see minimalism everywhere with architecture, art and fashion being the most obvious areas. It’s coming to digital design in a big way as well, which some designers fear while others welcome.
I belong to the latter group. As a graphic designer, I have always preferred to create minimalist designs. What I love about it is its straightforwardness and transparency. Don’t be fooled though – achieving a minimalist design is often very challenging because with just a few elements there is nowhere to hide.
So how do you get it right? Let’s look at some of my tips and the benefits that minimalist web design can bring to your users.
What is a minimalist design?
Although it’s gaining momentum these days, it’s actually nothing new. The concept of minimalism has been around for more than sixty years, so it could be reflected in the digital world as soon as the first websites were created. For example, Google’s home page has always been extremely simple, which is one of the reasons why the search engine is the most popular.
However, the way minimalism is applied to design is evolving as we speak. There are more and more tools that allow us to embrace the concept to the maximum.
Minimalist web design is all about including only the essential elements. It conveys the specific message without all the noise and distraction that you face with most digital projects.
Take a look at the most successful brands – they overwhelmingly use minimalist design, whether it comes to their online presentation or the products themselves. Apple or Nike are great examples of this approach.
How to get it right?
Over the years I have followed these rules when creating minimalist designs. They’ve helped me focus on what’s really important so that each element of the design is brought to perfection. Keep in mind that this list won’t automatically make you a master of minimalism. That takes years of practice.
However, it will give you an idea of what you should definitely pay attention to.
1. Choose the right typography
The right typography is one of the most important elements in minimalist web design. Choosing it comes down to the brand personality. Is the brand original and bold? You might choose bold and out-of-the-box headline fonts and in contrast, smaller body text.
Users want to explore the brand to see if it resonates with them. The right typography will help you tell the story you want to tell. There are attributes of typography that you can work with, including size, spacing and indentation.
Setting these attributes can not only help you grab users’ attention, but also improve readability and comprehension. Don’t overcomplicate the text itself either. A good copywriter can tell a whole story in just a few sentences.
2. Make the most of negative space
Sometimes referred to as white space, making the most of this feature can be a difficult task. It’s used to create more room on the website, which is the opposite of the visual clutter that dominates most digital projects.
If you know how to work with it, you’ll be able to direct the user’s attention where you want it. Would you like your users to notice a particular content element? Increase the negative space around it to make it pop.
Without white space, a web design can’t be considered minimalist. However, you can easily overdo it. If you have too many focal points on one screen, it can be confusing. The focus of users is vulnerable and if they’re presented with too many options, they might not be able to figure out what to pay attention to.
3. Great visuals = great first impression
Because you’re working with just a few elements in minimalist design, you need to make sure they’re all brought to perfection. You should regularly collect feedback from users so that you know what to improve and thus improve the UX.
You should never forget about great visuals. They should be big and bold, which makes them memorable and reinforces a positive first impression. Also, try to keep them as simple as possible. Over-complicated visuals are not part of a minimalist web design.
According to Google, users form an opinion about a website within 17 milliseconds. In the blink of an eye, the design can be deemed as unappealing and impractical – meaning users will leave the site and may never return.
Images can also be used in the background as negative space, helping you draw attention to the content that you need your users to see.
4. Think about colors and their psychological impact
Intelligent minimalist web design can’t do without wise use of color. It’s important to keep the palette as simple as possible. The majority of successful websites use monochromatic colors or no more than three colors.
This way, colors are easy to look at and work well with other content. They can serve many purposes, such as providing a background or highlighting a product.
You may have heard that colors also work on a psychological level, and I can’t stress this enough. Think about the message the site should convey and choose the color that will set up the mood that aligns with the business.
I have talked extensively about using colors in Do you know how to use the right colors? so check it out for more information.