Essential Principles for Creating Minimalist Web Design

The history of minimalism date back to the 1960’s, it was first seen through art that was inspired by the modernist movement (society moving in to the western world in the late 19th century). Minimalism was also a reaction and revolt of Abstract art and expressionism.

Here is an example of minimalistic art:

Piet Mondrian, Composition 10, 1939–1942, private collection

Minimalism has had a long, powerful history and has brought us some of the most beautiful art ever made. Back then artists from all backgrounds believed that eliminating non-essential features of their subject exposed essence and identity. This movement rapidly spread to the work of architects, musicians, play writers and more.

Today minimalism is one of the most widely used design principles and can be conveyed through various art and design related fields, from movie posters, fashion, print adverts, games, business cards and brochures.

The role of minimalism is very strong in web design with the help of companies like Apple. Apple has helped expose minimalism in to the 20th century by the way their website, branding and devices were stripped down to show only its necessary elements, the less is more statement has never been so popular.

How minimal is minimal?

Everyone has a different perception as to how minimal a web design should be. Some people think web designs with colour are not minimal whilst others believe a minimal website should contain very few visual elements. Whichever you believe minimalism design requires certain essential principles in order to be conveyed effectively. This is because minimalism in web design should only take away elements until nothing else can be removed without affecting the purpose of the web design.

A lot of thought and planning needs to go in to handpicking design elements required to make a web design function, only these elements should be visible. Below is a list of the essential principles for creating minimalist web design. We hope you will find them useful in planning and preparing your next minimalist web design.

Why should you use minimalism in web design?

Using the minimalist concept in web design represents modern design. By only focusing on the content and branding the web design will reflect its main goal or mission without any other distracting elements. Here is how you can benefit from using minimalism in your web design:

  1. Better usability and user experience
  2. Less CSS and Html rules and elements
  3. Less coding is required
  4. Better front end performance

Remove unnecessary elements

It’s important to research and understand the purpose of your website before removing any elements. With this in mind it will be easier to evaluate the importance of certain features. To help decide what to remove just stick to the basic fundamental features of your website.

This minimal example is so basic that it draws the user in to the content instantly. The websites purpose is to showcase the various projects created by the designer and minimal look makes the titles stand out. The whole concept works effectively here.

The role of white space in minimalist web design

The elements chosen to display on a minimalist web design must have enough white space in between to make users think the web design is larger, this effect emphasis your other elements making your content look clearer and easier for your users to digest.

White space can also be referred to as negative space or empty space, this is a key principal as white spacing acts as a back bone to the whole design concept. You must put a lot of thought in to what you leave out as well as what you put in.

White space is one of the more fundamental principles and is what makes up and defines minimalism.

This grid style web design showcases the art of white space. Each box is equally spaced out, this gives the whole web design a fantastic balance. The text is inserted in to one of the boxes, altogether they make the web design work.

The use alignment

Alignment in minimalism organises and arranges your design. This helps to provide the relevant amount of white space and makes it easier for users to absorb key information. Alignment can be achieved effectively with the use of grid layouts.

This example shows us how alignment is an important principle in minimalistic web design. The content is broken down in to digestible amounts and split up. The white space in between the alignment of the content gives a perfect balance.

Colour in minimalist web design

Colour in minimalism helps to reinforce specific elements, emphasising those that require more attention in order for a user to easily navigate. It’s important to use a simple palette and very few colours. Using a single colour will contrast beautifully and can have a strong impact on your overall design.

This example is slightly busier when compared to the others. What’s interesting is the way the designers have incorporated colour only on the logo and products. This is a very clever effect as it will make users instantly drawn to those elements. The contrasting tones on the logo work effectively and stand out beautifully.

This example uses colours like pink and black to add emphasis on the content titles and name of website. The use of colour is very subtle and selective. Users will be instantly drawn to the main logo “Artypapers”.

Emphasise key elements

Since you have to leave out as much as possible it is important you emphasis the remaining elements. Experiment the effect of different typography styles, focus on the detail of adding different colours and the size of all these elements. When they all come together the elements will support the overall design.

This example displays a number of different typography styles. The designer of this website has focused on adding more detail to the font and alignment of content. It works really well.

Repeat

Repetition in minimalism helps to provide consistency in web design. This principal should be used to reinforce shapes and icons, you can use this is almost any area of your design.

This example shows the repetition of the arrows and block page elements, these elements provide fantastic consistency.

Summery

The essential principles for creating minimalist web design are a fantastic guide. By stripping down designs I believe a web design’s mission will work better, there will be no distractions because there is less to see.

Using the principles above can help you create a great minimalistic design but it is also important to pay attention to the balance of your remaining elements.

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the insign you bring to the topic, awesome stuff!

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  2. Glen Elkins says:

    “Better front end performance” this is not entirely true. The performance of the front-end is more to do with the way a developer codes it. You can have the smallest web page you can think of, but if its setup and coded poorly it could take a very long time to load.

    Appart from that, i thought this was a very informative article.

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  3. Thank you for writing about Minimalism, it was well written, interesting and informative. Apple is a really good example of minimalism.

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  4. Dedy says:

    Minimal design is interesting indeed. Beside that, it is loaded faster….I like it. Thank u for the information

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