Is Minimalistic Design more Effective?

By / Oct 25, 2008 / Inspiration
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Let me preface by saying, yes – most of the time I think so. Minimalism is a style or technique in design that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. I believe it’s more effective in Web Design – especially in a designer’s portfolio. When content is king – clean, spacious and concise gets my attention.

Here are some great examples to get your minimalist side inspired.

Astheria

Vitor Lourenco

Alltop

Behance.com

Designate Online

Frank Chimero

Huge Inc

Jan Reichle

Panoptes

TypeSites

Emersian

Do you think it’s more effective in Web Design?

Want to find more minimal inspiration? I recommend these resources:

The ‘Less is More’ or Minimalistic Approach to Web Design

The Anatomy of a Minimalistic Web Design

Minimal Sites

27 Comments

  1. Federico
    October 28, 2008

    the minimalist design it’s very beautiful technique, i love it! I think is very effective in some cases

    Reply
  2. Patrick Algrim
    October 28, 2008

    I don’t think its effective for everyone. I think it all has to deal with the branding and what kind of services you offer. For example; Huge is company that wants to come off as a very large company, with large amounts of organization, but still doesn’t want to lean away from the art of design. Once you ask yourself how you want others to perceive you, then you can better answer the question of how you should design for your business.

    Reply
  3. kyle steed
    October 28, 2008

    YES! Most definitely. But I am really biased towards minimalism as it appeals to my Obsessive Compulsiveness about having to have everything organized and clean.

    Reply
  4. Nick | Resource Pile
    October 28, 2008

    I love minimalistic design, I always find it hard to achieve good results however, there’s a certain skill in making something look simple and beautiful.

    Reply
  5. adelle
    October 28, 2008

    @tisha glad you enjoyed the article, it can be very beautiful.

    @Federico yes I agree when done right it’s very effective!

    @Patrick In some cases your absolutely right, for a large company it may be the worst thing you can do & many companies do not see it for the “design” aspect either. That is a great question as well that you bring up. (How you should design for your business).

    @Kyle I am biased towards it as well – clean and organized!

    @Nick there is a skill involved and I don’t think it’s an easy task either – it can sometimes be harder!

    Reply
  6. Patrick Algrim
    October 28, 2008

    @Adelle – Yes, you are completely correct! :) That is another good question to ask. I do LOVE minimalistic design, seeing as though all of my designs would probably fall into that category… I think… :)

    Reply
  7. adelle
    October 28, 2008

    YES all your designs would fall into that category, love your work! :) Hmm I feel another article brewing!

    Reply
  8. nirz
    October 28, 2008

    It all depends on the audience and context. I try not to hug this minimalist thing too much. It’s easier to pull this off than to pull off a complex layout. At first, a complex (non-grid) site may seem easy to do-put whatever you want wherever you want and plaster some psd filters on it- but it is very difficult to make it look visually mature. It’s easy to get into the habit of touting grid based, minimalist designs and not venturing into breaking the whole swiss school grid system.

    I’ve been a victim of this complacency and I know it isn’t easy to open up to non-grid based layouts. However, whether we should go with minimalist or complex depends on the audience: we are after all commercial “artists” and not Artistes.

    Reply
  9. Benek
    October 28, 2008

    In general, I always lean towards minimalism. In many cases it’s the most effective, especially, as you say, for portfolio sites where you want to show off the content. That’s what I’ve done for my portfolio and I can’t imagine it being any other way.

    As a designer, I feel that designing and excellent minimal site is actually quite a bit more challenging than one that is busy and graphics-intensive. Minimal design puts a huge emphasis on things like grid, spacing, rhythm, typography, etc. These are the core elements of a good design and if you can get them right for a minimal design you can design anything.

    Reply
  10. Adam
    October 28, 2008

    Finally, an article that speaks to me!

    I absolutely, 100% agree that minimalism translates to usability. Without the clutter and crap of gaudier websites, the user is left with nothing more than juicy content and the experience that the user was hoping for. More than ever, people use the web to FIND THINGS, if they wanted to be entertained by art and visuals, they can head over to YouTube or check out some neat flash videos from 6 years ago (is it a coincidence that this style of web design has died out since then? I think not).

    My site (http://www.21gunstudios.com) was designed exclusively on the principles of minimalism, and it has certainly helped convey the message of my site more effectively. I strongly encourage designers to think minimalism when they think of usability.

    Great examples!

    Reply
  11. adelle
    October 28, 2008

    Nirz, I have to agree with the audience and context. However I disagree that it’s easier to pull off the minimalist layout than a complex one. As I have designed both before and just come off a fresh redesign of my blog (heading more towards, clean & minimal design) I actually found it way harder! I guess it depends on the person and of course goes back to who your designing for as you mentioned.

    Reply
  12. nirz
    October 28, 2008

    @Benek: Let’s not forget the works of Martin Venezky
    (http://flickr.com/photos/14105283@N05/2302902324), whose typography work is nothing short of off the grid design.
    Of course, Sagmeister: (http://designdautor.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/sagmeister_chiken.jpg)and David Carson, (http://kingdomofstyle.typepad.co.uk/photos/uncategorized/raygun1sml.jpg)whose work is anything but minimalistic never ceases to churn out beautiful typography, without the help of a structured grid.

    Grids are a good aid to designing with type, but it isn’t always necessary, in fact there is a danger of it becoming merely a crutch.

    @adelle:
    Indeed, I guess if one is more familiar w/breaking the grid one would find it more difficult to adhere to the grid system and vice versa. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Cheers! Miss these intelligent (and sometimes self flattering) design conversations.

    Reply
  13. Mariusz
    October 29, 2008

    Not just minimalistic — people tend to like designs that don’t get them confused. Even if it’s not minimalistic in form, but has a clear way of dealing with the user interface, it will become surprisingly effective.

    Reply
  14. Jason Gaylor
    October 29, 2008

    Some great inspiration here. I’ve already spent a bunch of time soaking in several of the sites you’ve mentioned above. It is refreshing to observe the clean, simple interfaces here.

    Reply
  15. Gavin Shinfield
    October 29, 2008

    mnml=prfct

    Reply
  16. adelle
    October 29, 2008

    @Nirz no problem and your input is well received. I miss these conversations as well and we need more of them!

    @Mariusz that’s a great way to put it- clear & not confusing.

    @Jason thank you!

    @Gavin thank you too

    Reply
  17. rutiso
    October 29, 2008

    To be honest! I love minimal design. But on the other hand. There must be a reason why all “cheap-selling” companies use these big, bold prices with ugly line-style … Cause it works for the target group. They won’t be attracted by minimal design – cause minimal or good designed means expencive. I like expensive ;)

    Reply
  18. liam
    October 29, 2008

    Nice article and a great website here. I think minimalistic design does mean that there is more focus on the content, but I think this is only when it is done right. A lot of minimal designs just miss out on that, but your examples are great and they work very well. Nice one!

    Reply
  19. Ralph
    November 6, 2008

    I love minimalistic web-design and my own website is a minimalistic website.If my own personal webdesign-style more effective or not is no question for me. It’s my style and there are for every webdesign-style a lot of positive and negative arguments ;)

    Thank you for this great list. Ralph

    Reply
  20. Timothy Long
    November 12, 2008

    I’m always interested to see what designers do with so little.

    Reply
  21. Muhammad Siyab
    November 14, 2008

    a little late, but thanks for the link :)

    btw, I looove the design of Astheria!

    Reply
  22. Showcase Of Clean And Minimalist Designs | Design Showcase | Smashing Magazine
    November 17, 2008

    [...] Is Minimalistic Design More Effective?A showcase of minimalist designs by Henry Jones. [...]

    Reply
  23. Jason T.
    January 4, 2009

    Late to the party, but great post. I definitely consider minimalism part of my style, but the simplicity makes it all too easy to mess up. I recently wrote about my disdain with the new Pepsi packaging, I think they overdid it.

    It’s also harder to design in this style for clients who want to see where their money goes. Unfortunate. For filler and effect, there will always be unnecessary swooshes, curves, dots, lines, Photoshop filters, and other bad ornamentation.

    Are you familiar with the Bauhaus movement from the 20s? Minimalism has its roots!

    Reply
  24. dv
    September 28, 2009

    hecks yeah. http://apple.com anyone?

    Reply
  25. Minimalissimo
    November 2, 2009

    “Is minimalist web design more effective?”

    That highly depends on which goals were set, and which type of experience you set out to achieve.

    Reply
  26. Leah
    December 17, 2009

    I just redid my site with the simplest design – all white background with fresh fruits in bright colors. Some say it’s too simple. I’m not sure. I just want clients to call me and not get bogged down with details…. Previous site was: http://www.i-pointwebdesign.com/old/index.html. New site is at http://www.i-pointwebdesign.com. – Any feedback? Did I do minimalism right, or did I go too far?

    Reply
  27. Mauritius Web Design
    September 16, 2011

    Think minimalist design can be very effective in some cases but can’t fit in all projects

    Reply

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