Your pals may not know what minimalism is, but chances are they’re using or viewing a minimalist design right now: a modern phone, a clear online or application interface, a slick brochure or other visually presented content, sitting in a basic living area on a sleek sofa, and so on.
The reason why minimalism penetrated so many fields yet is less known than, say, pop art or something, is because it’s more of a principle than a visual style. And since it is only a principle and direction of designing, designers outside of architecture and industrial design can apply and improve their designs as well – including many web and visual designers of today.
Okay, so minimalism is wonderful and important. It is less spectacular, yet it has a greater influence and reach. You’ve got it. So, what is minimalist design, exactly? Let’s look into it, as well as its origins and major figures. This post will provide you a brief history of minimalist design, then provide some useful guidelines for using in your web and visual designs, and then show you some minimalist web design examples.
Roots of Minimalist Design
Richard Wollheim coined the term “minimal” in 1965 to describe paintings and other artefacts with a high intellectual value but limited industrial content. Many people believe that the Japanese were the first minimalists, creating basic but functional buildings between 1185 and 1333, based on the spiritual ideas of zen Buddhism. As an original response to the overloaded styles of the moment (pop art) and the communicational saturation inside the aesthetic cosmos, minimalism matured in the 1960s and 1970s.
Frank Castella’s Arundel Castle from 1956.
We could also talk about Dieter Rams, a german industrial designer known for his work and principles that have been an important influence on the minimalist style of Apple’s product lines, such as iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macs, as Jony Ive acknowledges, Apple Vice President of Design.
Frank Castella’s Arundel Castle from 1956.
What is Minimalism
Minimalism is about eliminating excess and strategically placing the remaining elements. It is based on the particular use of space in which colors are usually neutral and small objects occupy large places. The result can be a simple but powerful design, which is simplified to convey your message. Minimalism can be found in all forms of art, from architecture to graphic design to fashion, and has recently been very beneficial for interface design.
If you want to incorporate a minimalist style into your interface design, it will be important to understand these five fundamentals.
1. Give some space to the White Space
In digital design, white space (sometimes known as negative) is a word that refers to space rather than colour. It’s another great technique to create elegance and distinguish the key parts in minimalism. White or negative space also helps to create appropriate contrast and support intelligibility when using a monochromatic or limited colour palette.
Negative space, simply put, is the “empty” space around and within objects in the UI. White space is also used for indicating these areas but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the white space is always white. White space comes from print design where in the early print days texts were printed mostly on white paper thus negative space would be white by default. Negative space comes from photography where it indicates the background and everything that is in focus and primary object becomes the positive space. In terms of UI design white space and negative space have the same meaning.
Image credit: Dribbble
2. Flat design to reduce the cognitive load
Flat design, in contrast to skeuomorphism, eliminates the three-dimensionality of shapes and their resemblance to the real world. To provide simplicity and readability, the components are designed in only two dimensions.
Flat design is evident on the Black Madre website not only in the background and buttons, but also in the same 2D vector graphic, which, due to its complexity in some areas, becomes quite appealing.
The flat design decreases cognitive strain, resulting in a more straightforward and minimalist design. Despite the fact that many designs in this style do not employ gradients, this resource can be quite effective if used sparingly in key elements.
3. Use limited colours to enhance minimalism
Color has a lot of promise in interface design since it may establish both informative and emotional connections between the product and the user.
The user experience is improved by simplifying the color scheme, however having too many colors can be detrimental. Limiting a color palette, however, does not imply that you must design in black and white. The goal of a minimalist design is to utilize only the colors that are required to achieve the appropriate visual hierarchy and convey the appropriate mood.
Image credit: Dribbble
4. Use Typography To Advantage
Typography is one of the most important visual aspects in minimalistic design, since it not only informs users about the content but also sets the tone and improves visual performance. When it comes to choosing the best approach to employ graphics in a concise manner, designers usually focus on typography and never rush through the process of experimenting with different pairs, sizes, and combinations. Fonts and typefaces, like color, are considered as a strong graphic element that contributes to overall elegance and the emotional message it communicates. Readability and legibility, on the other hand, do not relinquish their top positions in terms of preference.
Image credit: Apple
5. Eliminate non-functional elements to make an impact
One of the benefits of minimalism in user interfaces is that it improves user concentration. Because these pages and screens are focused on functionality and simplicity, they don’t usually overwhelm users’ attention with decorative elements, shades, colors, details, or motion, resulting in a high attention ratio and allowing users to quickly solve problems and navigate through the website or app.
Minimalism is an attempt to provide some structure to an otherwise chaotic composition. The majority of people believe that minimalist design is just easy because it lacks a lot of aesthetic resources. In this case, we must consider what a website or mobile application’s genuine purpose is. The first responsibility is to be functional, allowing us to do things as efficiently as possible. In this scenario, the goal is to improve the user experience, and minimalism has traditionally excelled in this area. Its ease, simplicity, and clarity provide us with joy and a sense of security.