Creating an impactful design can be subjective. Personal preference may lead one person to favor a particular design technique, while another person may prefer a completely different approach. And while there will always be variances in personal preference, new trends frequently emerge in the world of art and design. Often, these trends come as a reaction to or even rejection of previous trends.
Even in a crowded and competitive market, I’ve noticed that designers who strive to stand out often go with a more simplistic approach in an effort to connect with the user. The same is true in web design. The current trend, resulting from increasing complexity in web design, is to take a minimalist approach to create more meaningful engagement. Across all platforms and industries, designers leverage minimalism as a way to streamline their designs and focus the user’s attention on what is most important.
What Is Minimalist Design?
Like all other trends, minimalism was influenced by other trends in design, such as the geometric abstractions associated with the Bauhaus movement and Zen philosophy in Japanese culture. Minimalism focuses on simplicity, expressing only those details that are most essential in a design. It is often used as a way to showcase a subject’s true form, accentuating its inherent elegance. In web design, this means stripping away anything that would draw the user away from the focus of the design. This strategy pushes designers to prioritize the various elements in their designs and eliminate anything that is not necessary, simplifying the user interface (UI).
Characteristics Of Minimalist Design
Minimalist design is best characterized by the phrase “Less is more.” Negative space is often used to great effect in web design, creating strikingly focused imagery. This lack of content can make a design feel simple and clean, while still being sophisticated. When coupled with dramatic photography, illustrations or typography, the message of the design becomes exceptionally clear to the user.
High contrast is also common in minimalist designs, drawing attention through its boldness. Designers may also choose to use a limited color scheme, sometimes deciding on a monochrome scheme. By limiting the use of color, they can clearly dictate the focal point of the design.
Impact Of Minimalism In Web Design
Web designs can be elevated with a minimalist approach by simplifying the overall interface for the user. Because designers have to establish the most important elements, each and every item they include in the design must have a purpose. If a piece of content does not support user tasks in some way, it must be eliminated. This can greatly simplify the user’s interaction on the site. When applied appropriately, minimalism can help designers achieve this simplicity while also enticing the user to explore the website.
Another benefit of minimalist web designs is that the lack of complexity in the content can lead to faster loading times and better screen compatibility, which improves the user experience (UX).
An Alternate Viewpoint
As a response to this minimalist trend in web design, some designers are shifting in the opposite direction toward maximalism. In contrast to minimalism, maximalist designs are characterized by a “More is more” approach that embraces vibrancy and overabundance. Bright colors, bold fonts, patterned backgrounds and complex animations are just some of the various features used in maximalist designs, both print and digital. To make these excessive elements successful, designers must use maximalism deliberately and strategically rather than haphazardly. When done right, maximalism can be a great way to make an impact.
For certain brands, a minimalist approach may not be in alignment with who they are. A brand wanting to convey a sense of bold liveliness may find that a minimalist design fails to showcase its energetic personality. It is therefore incredibly important to understand brand identity so that whatever design approach is used makes sense in relation to the brand as a whole.
Creativity and ingenuity will continue to evolve and uncover new trends in design. Minimalism has been used in web design to create compelling communication with its acutely focused messaging. Its powerful influence stirs the imagination and is sure to inspire future designers.