Understanding the Theory of Minimalism in Web Design

Minimalism is the stripping down of a work of art, whether a design or a photograph, to its bare essentials in order to affect the viewer somehow. An image or photograph is made up of a combination of elements: light, shadow, shape, color, space and so on. When one or two of these elements are brought to the forefront of a piece and the others are subdued, the finished product could be called minimalist.

Understanding the Theory of Minimalism in Web Design

Minimalist web designs are simple and conservative. They are basic, without clutter. The perception of the audience overrules the personal expression of the designer. This doesn’t mean that creating a minimal design requires less effort or expertise than a traditional design. Although simplicity is key, understanding the laws of minimalist design and working within them are necessary.

In a Newspaper, even though the whole story is printed, but what catches our attention is the ‘Headlines’ in minimum words which speaks about the whole content. The same principle is applied here where only the necessary elements are defined and the most important part lies in identifying those ‘Elements’ which are to kept and which need to be ruled out. The maximum usage of Minimalism can be seen while designing portfolios where only the work speaks and not the person.

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The Benefits of Minimalism

Audiences today do not have the time to analyze a design and appreciate its complexity and aesthetic brilliance. They prefer things that are easy to comprehend. You might be an expert in Photoshop, capable of creating a design with many shapes, sizes, colors and enhancements, but knowing when and how to use your skills is important. Be conscious of the needs of your client, and don’t overdo your designs.

Minimalist design is becoming more popular, and its benefits are extensive. I will discuss the arguments for minimalist design below.

Humans Are Limited

The human brain is limited in its capacity to process different information simultaneously. A design needs to catch the attention of its visitors immediately as they scan through the pages. If the information on a page is cluttered or complex, then it will be difficult for readers to take in.

Easy Navigation

If your design is too distracting, the audience will not be able to focus. Content is king: your design should not confuse the content. The content should be concise and clear, and the design should be in harmony with it. This will ensure that navigating is easy, enjoyable and fruitful.

The Curiosity Factor

Minimalist designs evoke curiosity in readers, leading them to delight in exploring the information behind links.

Minimalism Saves Time

Working with few elements and features, rather than the hundreds at your disposal, saves time. Compare this to the work of an interior designer: the more furniture there is to arrange, the more complex and time-consuming the work becomes. Your product should be clean, well arranged and spacious.

Minimalism Facilitates Learning

Scarcity brings out the best in a designer. Minimalist design stretches your imagination simply because fewer tools and elements are at your disposal. Restrictions facilitate creativity. Too much freedom can be a hindrance. Minimalism requires you to cut down on personal expression and strip the visual experience to its bare essentials. Once you become skilled in this craft, your clients and readers will be happy that their requirements have been met.

It Sells

Minimalist designs are selling like hot cakes globally. Both readers and clients demand classy, simple and comprehensible websites. The demand for designers who can create effective minimalist designs is growing. Make sure that you are familiar with this trend because it won’t slow down anytime soon. Stand above the competition: be an expert.

Less is More

This web design principle is about keeping things simple. Believing that no space should be left unused on a web page is amateurish.

Keep content and important graphic elements at the forefront. Present a clear flow of information that can easily be absorbed. The more content, colors, textures and graphics in an image, the more likely the audience will misinterpret the design. Balance the graphics, text and white space to ensure an aesthetically pleasing, professional look.

A Purposeful Design

Be clear about the purpose of your website. The colors, textures and graphics you choose need to serve an overall purpose. Minimalist design is in demand because the attention span of Internet users is diminishing. In a matter of seconds, you must catch the eye of viewers before they jump to another website. This is another reason why your message should be at the forefront.

Information: The Body

Write down what information needs to be presented, whether it’s essential text or graphics. Every element should serve the overall purpose of the design.

The Key to a Successful Minimalist Design

White Space

Minimalist designs should have plenty of white space. This empty space doesn’t necessarily have to be white, but the most important part of the page should be surrounded by it. When clutter is minimized, then focusing on and absorbing the content becomes easy.

Typography

Minimalist typography should lead the eye and make the design look professional. The creative use of font size, textures, headings, borders and paragraphs can make a lasting impression on readers. Typography shapes the personality of your design.

Color

Minimalist color schemes go beyond black and white. Don’t stick only to black and white; rather, use colors creatively and intelligently. Color should separate and highlight the most important content on the page from the background.

Effective Use of Images

Images and graphics should be used sparingly. A complex image or irrelevant graphic can distract readers from the focus. Still, infographics have their place; charts and pictures are useful for conveying information. Use infographics with fewer words to convey your message effectively.

Usability and Layout

You may think that creating a minimal design requires less effort because it strips down the flashy images and colors, but this assumption is mistaken. Designing a usable, attractive minimal website takes creativity and imagination. The layout should be unique yet convey the message clearly and concisely. The flow of information should be seamless and easy to absorb.

Find the Balance

One might get the impression that minimalism restricts your design to white space, images, colors and graphics. But there is room for intelligence and imagination. Your aim is to balance and harmonize these elements. The content needs to be broken down to what is absolutely essential. An image should not burden the overall piece. Use an image only when it is in line with the purpose of the page.

Grids Make It Simple

The grid system is a tool that can save you time and help you create a structured layout. It allows you to be creative and minimizes any cluttered images on the page. A grid system helps users navigate your website easily. It is not absolutely necessary, but it will help you to create an effective minimalist design.

Great Examples of Minimalist Design

Less is More, is what a minimal design preaches, but that is under appreciated since it is reduced to its fundamental features which most of them don’t find up to the mark. By the beauty lies in creating a sensible design which appeals to all without nothing being there.ere in this showcase below, we trying to present you exemplary design trends, new practices, creative ideas and designer’s skills and you’ll find a comprehensive collection of Clean and Minimal Web Designs which will give you better understanding of design capabilities as well as inspiration for your site.

Yourneighbours

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Madebysofa

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Typedeskref

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Davidpolonia

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Mizko

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Ngenworks

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Patrickmonkel

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Designwoop

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Rodrigogalindez

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Madebytj

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Ilovetypography

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Analog

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Skindy

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Studiobreakfast

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Joyent

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Poemsoutloud

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Sproutfund

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Concentric-studio

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Fajnechlopaki

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Jstraining

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Midtonedesign

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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31three

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Designhotels

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Pixelumbrella

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Things

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Infinvision

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Projectfedena

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Cappen

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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204beech

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Grandpeople

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

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Minimal Web Design Tutorials

Less is More, is what a minimal design preaches, but that is under appreciated since it is reduced to its fundamental features which most of them don’t find up to the mark. Bu the beauty lies in creating a sensible design which appeals to all without nothing being there. This section provides you with some of the tutorials which give you guidance in creating a minimal design.

Create an Awesome Minimal Design in Photoshop

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

A step-by-step tutorial of creating a minimal design in Photoshop which uses a 16 column 960 grid with creating separately the top bar, content, arrows and about designing a portfolio slider.

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Minimalistic Layout for Your Personal Site

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

A minimalistic yet a stylish web layout in Photoshop for your personal site which uses the tools, effects and some of the blending options to get the perfect logo and the arrangement of images.

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Minimal and Modern Portfolio Layout in Photoshop

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

A modern and minimal portfolio layout created in Photoshop which explains about designing the portfolio in the first part and conversion of PSD to XHTML / CSS in the second part.

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Design a Minimalistic Blog Theme

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

A beautiful theme for your blog in Photoshop created with a Bokeh image as background and drawing the layout and the contents producing the final result.

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Simple Portfolio Layout in Photoshop

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

This tutorial creates a dark-themed minimal web layout for a portfolio design which uses only the basic parts like making the navigation menu, designing the content area and and finally adding the necessary elements.

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A Minimalistic Poster Design

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

A minimalistic poster design creation in Photoshop with a paper textured retro background with a combination of stock photos, blend modes and filters.

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Slick and Minimalistic Web Layout

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

Create a slick and minimal looking website in Photoshop using the 960 grid system as a template to arrange the design elements and adding the navigation, sub-navigation and content for the design elements.

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Light and Sleek Minimal Website in Photoshop

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

A light and sleek minimal website created with 960 grid system and altering the structure, quality, gradients, layers in the initial steps and designing the search bar, making the Recent Projects and Services area.

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Guide to Create a Minimalistic Design

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

A step-by-step guide of creating a minimal design website with a detailed explanation on the areas which are the prime things for a minimal design.

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How to Create a Minimal Design

instantShift - Minimalism in Web Design

Creating a design with only its fundamental features means a lot of things to be sacrificed, but what to omit and where to be more focused. This portion will help you explore the details.

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Find Something Missing?

While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great tips. Feel free to share it with us.

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21 Comments

  1. Not a bad article if not over simplified. Couldn’t help but feel like it was overly general and didn’t really mention much in terms of minimal design but instead listed pretty much what all websites should do and that’s “being effective” with all aspects of webdesign.

    Good starting point.

  2. Great theory! Great showcase! as per usual :-)

  3. I was surprised not to see Apple’s website listed since they are the king of minimalism and whitespace. Overall, great article!

  4. Great article! I couldn’t agree more with these points. I agree that a minimalist website needs to invoke curiosity, I guess if it didn’t minimalism would be taken as boring.

    I’ve just gone minimal with my website recently as well! velvetant.net

  5. Very useful post for web designers ,really enjoy all the instructions even i am not belongs to this profession but i got some tips related to this web design

  6. Great article and a great collection of examples. A really inspirational post for anyone just starting a minimalist design. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Minimal design is great to see. Some designers tend to put eveything and the kitchen sink into their designs

  8. Nice post. I disagree that minimalist design takes less time though. It’s often as much to do with what you remove as it is what you add.

  9. Thanks! You got me drooling! :)

  10. nice article on minimalist, though I think there is something missing.
    some parts are not tackled.

  11. Excellent points.

    I have been a firm believer of using this technique for relevant audiences. It provides a comfortable browsing experience without distractions and unnecessary fluff.

    Keep the user engaged and interested without making them think.

    More designers need to understand this approach instead of creating bloated graphic and poor GUI designed sites.

  12. Yep, that sums it up nicely!

  13. Thank you so much for featuring my portfolio (Mizko.net)!

  14. Many great designs. I like the design of the 2010 calendar!

  15. Cools site :)

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