Learn why a minimalist website design is a great option for B2B and B2C websites.
So you might be thinking about a new website or a website redesign project. You have a lot of choices and a minimalist design is a great choice for many organizations.
Minimalism, also known as the essentialism or simplicity, describes the reduction of the existing to the absolute minimum necessary. Life is defined by minimalism as the significant abdication of the expendable consumption and appreciation of the remaining possessions. People, who have accepted minimalism to their core, often feel whole and happier as they are mindful of themselves.
The concept of reducing the unwanted clutter to the essential elements in design is trending widely. Minimalist web design over the past decades has proven that the simplistic approach is very successful in branding. Every website, brand, company, campaign or designer is moving towards minimalism. With optically simplified icons, reduced colors and well-used white spaces, modern websites are providing a better user experience.
Simple web design has been an increasing trend in recent years that brand managers have adopted to rise above the common crowd. Jay Walker-Smith of the marketing firm Yankelovic says that we are exposed to over 5000 ads every day. To separate your brand from such noise is a challenge and minimalism is the key to this problem.
It is an art in itself to be able to get rid of the right amount of clutter without jeopardizing the true meaning of the brand. There is no point in creating a logo with glossy 3D vectors that have no purpose. A minimalist web design, on the other hand, leaves something to think about and something to feel.
Principles of Minimalist Design
The basic but most important idea behind the minimalist design is the principle of the form following the function. This translates to the fact that all the design elements, which serve only the purpose of decoration, are not necessary and can be reduced. In the Asian culture of Japanese calligraphy, architecture and art perfectly reflect these principles of the simplistic way of life.
In the modern age, the term ‘Minimal Art’ was coined by Richard Wollheim in an article from 1965. Not only did it have its influence on sculptures and architecture but also on music and design. In today’s world, the concept of design is ruled by the idea that ‘Less is more.’. Designers from around the world are focusing on reducing the highly complex designs to the simple. Architects prefer reduced geometric-shaped buildings as it is the design of the new age.
Design Elements of Minimalist Web Design
In the earlier days of web design, the designers had relatively few options to play with the logos, homepage, footer or header of a website. Then with the further development of CSS, HTML, and JS, designers could build more complicated logos and websites, in order to attract more customers. The use of images for buttons and background, the hover effects, not to mention the parallax effect, has resulted in chaos in terms of design and user experience.
Moreover, when you design a website with such heavy elements, the page load time will increase, and Google does not like it. This is why simple web design is a better option where a web page is reduced to essential design elements only. All the elements such as colors, shapes, images, gifs, CSS effects, etc., will be removed for improved user experience.
- White Spaces: Utilizing the white spaces on a web page is an important element of the minimalist web design. By properly distributing spaces between content, the true meaning of your brand can be made visible to the reader. White spaces must be handled carefully as these are among the most effective elements of simplistic web design.
- Grid system: A clear and structured design of a web page should be used to present the text content at its best. It helps with the readability of the text and also decreases the bounce rate of the visitors.
- Fonts: The typography in a minimalist website is reduced to simple fonts that are more readable. By using fewer different fonts, you are allowing symmetry to layer the website. Complex fonts will decrease the readability of the text. When writing an article review, for example, it is important to ensure that you select a font that is simple and readable. It is better to use sans-serif fonts and variations in font size or typesetting for perfect typography in order to structure the text.
- Color: For simple web design, the use of base colors like white, black or gray is preferred. Different shades of these colors can be used to separate different sections of the website. Any other single color can be then used to indicate some particular important element.
Simplify Your Homepage
Ask yourself this one question – what do you see when you visit the landing page of any e-commerce website these days? The answer is something in between chaos and clutter of boxes, columns, pop-ups, and sliders. The e-commerce sites follow the basic idea that the more information they put forward, the more a user will buy. According to the annual report into web habits by Dr. Jakob Nielsen, only 25% of the users in 2008 visited the homepage of a website, compared to 40% in 2004.
In 2018, users have definitely become much more impatient. They expect a website to get to the point right away. Instead of scrolling through the heavy homepages, they navigate through categories and try to reach the product they wish to buy. Sadly, heavy homepage designs add to discomfort in finding the navigation itself.
With too many ads and information on the homepage, brands will lose potential customers. This is why many small brands have adopted a simplistic homepage design. Simple web designs for homepages are crucial as they allow the users to navigate easily and find the right information.
- To simplify, reduce any playful elements like animations, pop-ups, blinking gifs and banners, etc. Any distracting elements should be entirely removed in order to allow the user to focus on the business. The message and the meaning of the website should not be deterred with the use of unwanted stylish boxes on the homepage. Simply allow the user to navigate comfortably and feel the web pages so that they can return again.
- It is important to work with flat textures as well as limited color palettes. Use the white space on the homepage with precision and thought. The principle of ‘less is more’ suggests using images and graphics to adapt to a minimalist web design.
- Choose the colors from the minimalist color spectrum, for example, black, white and gray. Only the essential elements should be highlighted using strong colors to set accents. Some minimalist website designers use black to highlight and everything else with shades of gray and white.
Minimalistic Logo Design
Simply put, a clean and simple logo design is easy to remember. It will create a lasting impression of the brand on your customers. For example, NIKE’s famous swoosh logo is one of the simplistic logo design and one that can be recognized instantly. Successful businesses usually have a unique but simple logo that smartly presents the idea of the company.
The main job of a logo is to help the customers in easily identifying their favorite brand and its products. This is why it is important to keep a simple design of your logo to make it more memorable. Many brands are updating their old complicated logos to minimalistic designs.
To add additional weight to their logos, brand managers earlier created logos in 3D or animated logos. Such logos were difficult to print and read, not to mention impossible to remember. A design like that can be counter-productive today, especially because customers see hundreds of such logos every day.
Minimalism aims to help with the those above-mentioned, and it can directly help in building a stronger brand. Paul Rand is a popular graphic designer known for the simple IBM and ABC logos. He consciously practices simplistic design and has been a web design inspiration for many.
We can all agree that the Apple or Nike logos are simplest of all and everyone remembers them. These logos have successfully made strong statements about their brands for decades. Of course, these brands did not initially build simplistic logo designs; in fact, their logos were more complicated with a clutter of colors.
How did these brands manage early brand growth then? Well, they adapted to the market conditions. Both Apple and Nike have continuously worked on their logo using the minimalist approach. You can also follow the approach of these successful brands and design simple but powerful logos for your business.
Why is a Minimalist Website Design Better?
Our taste for website design has timely evolved and will continuously change. The current trend in the web design industry is minimalism. Right at the turn of the millennium, the trend of old web designs with overloaded UI, flash intros and heavy animations, was overtaken by the trend of simple web design.
Minimalistic web design is all about reducing the superfluous elements on a web page and concentrating on the essentials. The goal is to present the content and the services in a simple manner. For minimalistic web design, remove unnecessary tabs, menus, drop-downs, pop-ups, sliders, buttons, colors, accents, background, etc.
Why would a brand bother to go through such hardships? The reason is simple, a minimalistic design helps in increasing the sales, purchases, leads, downloads, orders, and contacts. Moreover, the user loves the experience so much that he will return. There are definitely many benefits of minimal web design, most of which are:
- Faster navigation: When they have finally made their minds, your website users, become impatient and are in a hurry to make the purchase. Minimal, simple web pages can help in making the navigation easier for the customers.
- Faster page load: A web page designed with simplicity in mind, without the heavy JS and CSS effects, will be faster to load. This means a lower bounce rate for the webmasters, and it further translates into more sales.
- Better SEO ranking: Oh! Google loves websites that are easier to load and have scored well on page speed.
- Faster purchases: Imagine losing a potential sale just because some complex java elements on the checkout page failed to load.
- Returning visitors: A satisfied user, who finds it easy to read, navigate and scroll through your website, will surely return. This will reward your business with reoccurring sales.
- Better for mobile: Simple websites are easier to load on the mobile platforms. Moreover, it is easier to make the page responsive to fewer design elements.
Examples of Minimalist Website Design
Many e-commerce brands struggle to capture sales even after the visitors spend a huge amount of time on their websites. They have given too many options and choices. Too much of the information on a single page is counter-productive.
Meanwhile, many other successful brands follow a minimalistic web design. Their logos, homepages, product pages, offices, etc, are built with simplicity. Here are some examples:
The infamous Google Homepage
Why don’t you use any other (Yahoo, Bing?) search engine to do an online search? Or, every time you want to convert Celsius into Fahrenheit? Google homepage is one of the most simplistically designed web pages. In fact, many of us open Google homepage to check whether we are still connected via the internet.
Nua Bikes Homepage
Their homepage contains a lot of text, but the proper use of a simple color palette and high-definition image allows the user to easily understand the brand. They simply sell bike parts!
Truth Labs Homepage
Truth Labs have successfully implemented interactive elements into minimalist web design. The aesthetically designed page still allows the visitors to focus on the real meaning.
Here is another minimalist homepage design by Studio Rotate, which is a company from London that caters to the designing needs of e-commerce brands in the luxury and lifestyle sector.
Lars Tornøe minimalist website
It is a Norwegian design studio devoted to furniture design. Buying furniture online could be much easier if every e-commerce store would follow a minimalist web design.
There is an architectural philosophy in Japan that is known as Ma. It translates to ‘the space between’, introducing the white space in architecture and culture. Ma spread further beyond the shores of Japan, successfully influencing Dutch and German artists to focus on modern simplistic geometric designs using base and primary colors.
Your existing business logo is ready to be improved. Here you have an opportunity to create a stronger brand using simple but effective tools in web design. Minimalism is an art for the modern day web designers. Remember, minimalism is a trend that has existed longer than any other.
Let us know what you think about a Minimalist Website Design at @mmgtweets.
Author Paul Calderon
Paul has been a successful brand manager for a reputable design and management firm in New York. He is passionate about web design technology and spends his time mentoring design students across the nation.