30 Examples of Clean and Minimal Website Navigation

By / Mar 12, 2010 / Inspiration
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Navigation is one of the most important aspects of a web design, but this doesn’t mean it needs to be overly complicated or over designed. In fact, when it comes to navigating a website, simplicity is a good thing.

Some navigations make use of design elements like 3D bars, buttons, and tabs to appear clickable, which works great for certain web designs. However, clickability can be achieved with a focus on typography, placement, and maybe some subtle line work. For this article, we’ve rounded up 30 clean and minimal website navigations that will inspire you and prove that navigations don’t always have to look like 3D buttons to be effective.

Kilian Muster

website navigation

bressane

website navigation

Haik Avanian

website navigation

Design Instruct

website navigation

Color Cubic

website navigation

Big Cartel

website navigation

Kyle Fiedler

website navigation

Miguel Buckenmeyer & Co.

website navigation

Creative Spark

website navigation

Infintium

website navigation

Jeroen Homan

website navigation

Frank Chimero

website navigation

Mercy

website navigation

Information Highwayman

website navigation

We Are VI

website navigation

Kari Jobe

website navigation

One Login

website navigation

Momentify

website navigation

OVO

website navigation

Brian Hoff

website navigation

Shout

website navigation

North Kingdom

website navigation

MCA Denver

website navigation

Jacob Lee

website navigation

Giant Ant Media

website navigation

AdFlavor

website navigation

Waterworks

website navigation

Sugar Rush Creative

website navigation

Websiteburo

website navigation

Corking Design

website navigation

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

56 Comments

  1. Nathan
    March 12, 2010

    Umm… honestly, I have to admit that none of the above looks nice. I’ve seen a lot of minimal layouts and even more minimal navigation and I can point many that looks better. Perhaps these newest trends aren’t very minimal after all :)

    Reply
    • Alex
      October 18, 2011

      “Umm… honestly, I have to admit”, Nathan your mistake here is to admit something that to others can see as minimal websites. That`s the usual mistake we all do from time to time, “admitting” is very different from an opinion. Unless one of the websites above is yours, to admit something like this implies that you had to do something on the creation of that specific “thing”.

      Alex.

      Reply
  2. Kilian Muster
    March 12, 2010

    Wow, yet another web design blog mentioning my redesigned website… It appears I’ve done something right at last. Thanks a lot for the link!

    Kilian

    Reply
  3. Daniel Long
    March 12, 2010

    I think there are some great examples of minimal and clean website navigation above. I agree with Nathan in saying that the examples don’t look fantastic as screenshots, but when you navigate to the actual website, this is when the design really shines through.
    The navigation complements the design of the whole site really well which makes me want to carry on looking through the site.
    Some of my favourites – Miguel Buckenmeyer & Co. Brian Hoff and Sugar Rush Creative.

    Reply
  4. Francesco Ciabatta
    March 12, 2010

    Beautiful. I love minimal website. Thanks for the list!

    Reply
  5. lono
    March 12, 2010

    Have to say i disagree with nathan (sorry)
    I love the collection… take a look at my website as we use ultra minimal site navigation.

    James – Lono Creative.

    Reply
  6. F
    March 12, 2010

    Erhm, what’s minimalistic about 60% of the examples? They’re “normal” and not minimalistic at all.

    Reply
  7. Dave | SEO Nottingham
    March 12, 2010

    I’m absolutly loving “Sugar Rush Creative”, I’ve always been a massive fan of this navigation.

    Reply
  8. Cueburst
    March 12, 2010

    A nice list, although in my opinion, a few don’t deserve to be up there.

    Loving the majority though!

    Reply
  9. Justin Carroll
    March 12, 2010

    I’m a minimalist at heart. Thanks for the fodder. :)

    Reply
  10. Amberly | Web Designer
    March 12, 2010

    These are awesome. I love the Jacob Lee menu.

    Reply
  11. Jen
    March 12, 2010

    What I don’t like about these types of posts – while the above are potentially inspiring, these types of posts don’t break down the why’s of why a minimal navigation is successful. Why should someone mimic this style in their own work? Why should a client strive for this type of clear minimalism?

    Reply
  12. chicago web design
    March 12, 2010

    Minimalism is the direction were heading in. This is great inspiration for our designers. Thanks bunches!

    Reply
  13. Tom Dahm
    March 12, 2010

    AWESOME. I LOVE minimalism. I currently reworking my site to better attain my love for minimalism and typography. Thanks for the great inspiration.

    Reply
  14. Elf M. Sternberg
    March 12, 2010

    Only two of the sites listed above are retail or business-to-business outside of the web design world; only two sell something other than the site’s owner or his design services. That’s not a heartening observation.

    I’m working with a client right now and we’re struggling with an “evolutionary, not revolutionary” reboot of her website. In the AIDA paradigm, she has plenty of attention from her niche. The biggest challenge of all is still what every designer faces: after “Attention,” how do we go to “Interest, Desire, and Action?” She has a broad category scheme for thousands of products, and designing the home page and interior wayfinding to support visitor clarity with respect to the “Why am I here?” and “What should I do (other than leave)?” questions has occupied much of my time recently.

    The examples here are all boutique and, quite frankly, the Faberge’ eggs of navigation. Pretty, but do they really help visitors find what they want?

    Reply
  15. Web Design Soul
    March 12, 2010

    These websites are great. I love Infintium’s Navigation Menu.

    Reply
  16. Web Design by 314media.com St. Louis
    March 12, 2010

    good resources and excellent examples. .. I’m a big fan of minimlaistic design so these are great! Shout’s my personal fav…

    Reply
    • rob
      January 3, 2011

      Great list. Some fantastic navigation options on here.

      Reply
  17. Lava360
    March 12, 2010

    one of the most important part of a website and you find some great navigation’s here. very inspiring and useful

    Reply
  18. Peter V Cook
    March 12, 2010

    Another great example: http://www.storypixel.com

    Reply
    • Darlinton
      March 15, 2010

      No, is not a good example, looks bad..

      Reply
    • Drew
      March 29, 2010

      I agree with Darlinton.
      It’s not a nice site, but then it’s always really easy to be critical of others. Who am I to be critical

      A

      Reply
  19. Brian Walsh
    March 12, 2010

    I basically modelled my website to be as minimal as possible. http://www.quickpixfix.com I would love to know what you think. Nav is nice and minimal. :P

    Reply
  20. fgaeg
    March 12, 2010

    Wow this one is great list resorces!
    But this post should break down “why minimal navigation is successful”. and maybe describing the information can make this post really usefull for everyone and the community. thx for share!

    Reply
  21. Peach
    March 12, 2010

    Awesome list. Minimalistic design is really the trend this year.

    Reply
  22. Web Development Outsourcing Company
    March 13, 2010

    Nice collection..

    Reply
  23. Sunny G
    March 13, 2010

    Nice… great inspirational stuff

    Found few more…
    http://www.broadbandmix.co.uk
    http://ilovetypography.com
    http://astheria.com
    http://www.rikcatindustries.com

    Reply
  24. Web design chennai
    March 13, 2010

    Nice article..Iam a minimalist…i like the color cubic and sugar rush creative.

    Reply
  25. Tanya
    March 14, 2010

    Very Nice Collection. I like most of them :)

    Reply
  26. Jordan Walker
    March 15, 2010

    Very clean and easy for users to navigate.

    Reply
  27. Alex Aguilar
    March 16, 2010

    Seems that nowadays navigation menu with link description under the link is pretty popular

    Reply
  28. thegraphiks
    March 16, 2010

    Great information!
    Muchas gracias por estos ejemplos, siempre sirven.

    Reply
  29. void
    March 16, 2010

    Total nav failers. Too simple.
    Nothing inspirational!

    Reply
  30. Xander
    March 18, 2010

    Very nice collection of minimal navigation samples. Check out our site for our version of minimal navigation menu.

    Reply
  31. Maksim Shaihalov
    March 19, 2010

    nice collection! thx!

    Reply
  32. Miles
    March 19, 2010

    Some nice examples, but what worries me is that several of these sites’ navigation would be unreadable by many people with vision problems. So many designers, even on ‘public’ rather than ‘personal’ sites, seem to know – or care – nothing about the most basic accessibility considerations. The designer/developer needs to inform and educate clients about these considerations or they’re not doing their job and the client gets a compromised product.

    Reply
  33. chicago web design
    April 9, 2010

    Yes, I found these easy to use too. Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  34. bodybuilding clothing
    April 9, 2010

    great examples!

    Reply
  35. 10 Best Free Minimal WordPress Themes | Freebies
    April 11, 2010

    [...] there are times when a minimal style is more appropriate for the content and it’s audience. A clean and minimal design gets out of the way and lets the content do the talking, and it’s a great way to give [...]

    Reply
  36. Curtis Shae
    April 28, 2010

    Amazing stuff as usual…

    Reply
  37. Felicia D. Henegar
    May 1, 2010

    Do you mind if I use the information I got reading from this website on the project that I’m working? I will properly cite you.

    Reply
  38. Vincent Roman
    June 1, 2010

    Some of these NAV styles are awesome, but some of them are AWFUL.

    The worst offenders are Websiteburo and Corking Designs. The text is practically invisible. I am not blind and the design is barely accessible.

    Nice little collection, thanks for yet another list :)

    Reply
  39. yehya hafez
    July 8, 2010

    just one word “outstanding”

    Reply
  40. Aker
    July 29, 2010

    Great list but you could add some more like mrkwvr or minimalissimo. Anyway thanks for sharing that great list !

    Reply
  41. Marty Rogers
    July 31, 2010

    Fabulous, absolutely stunning.

    Nothing beats simplicity when it comes to websites, users adore it. That’s what I have found anyway. I really like the Big Cartel nav, it’s very smooth indeed.

    Thanks for the ideas!

    Reply
  42. egyptian web designer
    July 31, 2010

    Just one word “OUTSTANDING”
    my favorite is “Color Cubic”
    Thanks from EGYPTTTT

    Reply
  43. Matthew Menard
    September 13, 2010

    Great list, some very nice examples of clean and simple navigation, a few were almost too simple ;-)

    Reply
  44. Web design portfolio
    October 12, 2010

    great collection

    Reply
  45. Kyle Hildebrant
    March 4, 2011

    Thanks for featuring OVO in this list. W’re happy to be included.

    Reply
  46. Zia
    April 26, 2011

    simple, nice & clean :)

    Reply
  47. Krista
    May 31, 2011

    Really great examples. Love the minimalist look.

    Reply
  48. Manu
    August 19, 2011

    For this amazing collection i suggest niuenso.com

    Reply
  49. Karl
    May 9, 2012

    Hy guys,

    I want to thank for the nice list of menu,and I just wanted to share a cool free minimal menu design – the files are PSD and you could use them to create really cool menus. http://www.creattor.com/web-elements/minimal-menu-3992
    I used the files to design a couple of websites, but I think they’re useful for everyone.

    Reply
  50. Richard Tomkins
    June 5, 2012

    I loved them all.

    Reply
  51. Christopher Becker
    June 28, 2012

    an AWESOME collection, thanks for sharing….

    Reply
  52. Howard Steele
    June 21, 2013

    Simplicity rules! Most popular web resources have very simple, minimalistic designs. Great post! Enjoyed it :)

    Reply

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