Minimalism in Web Design: Clear Perfection

Minimalism in Web Design: Clear Perfection

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.

Minimalism in Web Design: Clear Perfection
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.

Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive

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.

Minimizing Content

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.

Thuc Banh
Thuc Banh

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.

Subtractions
Subtractions

Balance

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.

Ben Hulse
Ben Hulse

White Space

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.

Jason Santa Maria
Jason Santa Maria

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.

Tictoc
Tictoc

Typography

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.

Carsonified
Carsonified

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!

Lachlan Bailey
Lachlan Bailey

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).

Grow Interactive
This is Grow

Bart & Jones Flash Website
Bart Jones

Mac 2008
MAC 2008

Lado Connect the Dots
Connect The Dots

Panoplie
Panoplie

Smart Flash Website
Smart Flash Website

Bio
The Bio Agency

Red Bull Creativity
Red Bull Creativity

Kiluka
Kiluka

Business Flash Website
http://templates.motocms.com/flash-moto-templates-type/30890.html
Intuit

Cubic
Cubic

Playing The City
Playing the City

Kenneth Elgaard
Kenneth Elgaard

Toy
Toy

Momkai
Momkai

Ariza
Ariza

The Things I Love
The Things I Love

Normann Copenhagen
Normann Copenhagen

Innocean
Innocean

Taku Satoh
Taku Satoh

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.

Alastaire Allday
Alastaire Allday

Ah Studio
Ah Studio

Second & Park
Second & Park

Buctenmeyer & Co
Buctenmeyer & Co

Great Works
Great Works

Wilson Miner
Wilson Miner

Authetic Style
Authetic Style

Maurice Kuhlborn
Maurice Kuhlborn

Open
Open

Tim Jarvis
Tim Jarvis

Muller
Muller

Olson Kundig
Olson Kundig

Cypher13
Cypher13

Paravel
Paravel

Go to China
Go to China

Bernat Fortet Unanue
Bernat Fortet Unanue

Berit Somme
Berit Somme

Jason Mayo
Jason Mayo

Postmachina
Postmachina

Dconstruct
Dconstruct

Useful Resources:

Conclusion

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?

Tina Zennand is a copywriter, content manager and blogger. Her interests are web/graphic design, Flash, photography, SEO, internet marketing and many more. Tina works for MotoCMS.com – an innovative Flash CMS.

Comments

  1. / Reply

    Great selection of minimalism!

    • Sam,
    • November 20, 2010
    / Reply

    And this website http://www.samuelschmitt.net

    Isn’t it minimalist ??

  2. / Reply

    Quite a nice collection of examples. When I first started designing for the web, I would almost always over-design until I finally realized that whitespace (which isn’t always white) is actually an integral part of the design process. It helps us sort out content and present everything in a clear visual hierarchy.

    • 4non,
    • November 20, 2010
    / Reply

    I have to disagree, most of these are not examples of minimalism. They are examples of clean and ultra-clean design. Minimalism is about only leaving the absolute necessary, the only thing close to that is the Taku Satoh, and Toy. Don’t get me wrong, all of the sites are gorgeous designs, but they are clean and ultra-clean designs.

    Cheers.

    1. / Reply

      Very true. It is a big difference between clean and minimalist. “Less is more”

  3. / Reply

    Have to disagree as well. That sounds harsher than I mean it.

    These are all gorgeous sites. Some are even very simple. Others look clean but are darn hard to interact with or even understand.

    I posted a note on the Drawar design community about my take on Minimalism v New Objectivity and such. I’m just a happy user there, not involved so it’s not a plug. But I’d love for you to have a look and maybe join the debate?

    http://www.drawar.com/posts/Don-t-call-it-minimalism

    A lot of these could be considered minimal in that second school of design: clean, simple, less. But minimalist they’re not.

    Still, it’s an awesome collection with quite a few I had not yet seen on other similar posts. Cheers.

    • Max,
    • November 22, 2010
    / Reply

    Hmmm… curious, would my website qualify as an example of minimalism or “not enough” design?

  4. / Reply

    Whilst there are some lovely designs here, a number suffer wide scale usability issues which does then pose the question as to whether they are good designs? Some great looking sites though.

    • Tom,
    • November 22, 2010
    / Reply

    I don’t believe in minimalism, I believe in simplicity though. There’s no reason to make anything more complicated than it has to be. I understand that minimalist designs are trendy at the moment, I don’t think it’s necessary though

    • dave,
    • November 22, 2010
    / Reply

    Awesome post, I love the minimalist designs. Great inspiration you provided. Thanks!

    • Peach,
    • November 22, 2010
    / Reply

    A lot of great examples. You really put a lot of afford into the post, and it came out great! Awesome post.

    I for one love the minimal trend web designers are applying to their own site, i might be doing the same thing soon as well.

    • Kelly,
    • November 22, 2010
    / Reply

    I really like the Smart website’s homepage for the simple blocks with categories, it’s such a totally different approach to a menu and it is ‘smart’ so although you don’t necessarily know anything about the company at this point, you do know that they are clever. I do however think that having all the hover states that ‘jazzy’ is a bit much, it’s cool on the menu but when absolutely everything moves that much, I think it spoils the minimalism.

    • Ryan,
    • November 22, 2010
    / Reply

    Awesome examples, thanks!

    • Buzz,
    • November 22, 2010
    / Reply

    Some great examples…. I do agree clean and simple doesn’t necessarily = minimalist, thanks for posting!

    • Bryan,
    • November 23, 2010
    / Reply

    Wow! The examples are really excellent. Thanks for sharing! This article inspired me to study more about HTML.

    • Tabitha,
    • November 23, 2010
    / Reply

    I would have also included reedshay.com in the minimalistic flash section. Clean, concise, beautiful.

  5. / Reply

    Some great examples here! I have to say well chosen and the illustrated example Berit Somme I love. I would like to present a series like this, particularly useful in showing my clients how effective a minimalist site can be.

  6. / Reply

    My theory is simple: if it has to be argued whether its minimalist or not, it probably isn’t.

  7. / Reply

    Examples are so Cool.Thanks for this post.

  8. / Reply

    Comming from the programming background, Im starting to learn design from minimalistic designs.. And this is what I need for inspiration

  9. / Reply

    Best samples for minimalism. It sounds great buddy. It was very useful & effective post to know. We really inspired with some of the minimal web designs. Thank you very much for sharing such a wonderful post. Looks forward to hear more from you like this. Congrats & Keep up doing great jobs like this.

  10. / Reply

    really great collection, very inspiring thank you

  11. I love minimalistic designs, space is a good thing and should be embraced!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Deals

Iconfinder Coupon Code and Review

Iconfinder offers over 1.5 million beautiful icons for creative professionals to use in websites, apps, and printed publications. Whatever your project, you’re sure to find an icon or icon…

WP Engine Coupon

Considered by many to be the best managed hosting for WordPress out there, WP Engine offers superior technology and customer support in order to keep your WordPress sites secure…

InMotion Hosting Coupon Code

InMotion Hosting has been a top rated CNET hosting company for over 14 years so you know you’ll be getting good service and won’t be risking your hosting company…

SiteGround Coupon: 60% OFF

SiteGround offers a number of hosting solutions and services for including shared hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated servers, reseller hosting, enterprise hosting, and WordPress and Joomla specific hosting.