Why Choose a Minimalist Web Design?

Most advice on web design will tell the reader that less is more when it comes to the web, some simply saying that minimalism is the current fashion while others describe it as an essential aesthetic principle. But choosing a minimalist web design can often seem like an unfair trade-off between all the content and features you want to include and adherence to a particular look. So what are the advantages of a minimalist web design and how should you create a look that is clean and simple but still expresses personality?

  • One good idea is better than ten: Letting one visual or textual feature dominate your web design can create a much greater impact on your viewer than a site cluttered with different images and messages. Deciding what to put on the all important home page in your website design can be difficult as the space is generally limited even if you don't choose to stick to minimalist aesthetics.

Practising restraint, however, can be the best way to produce a successful website design. The website designs users find most enticing usually have one large attractive feature on the home page, in the form of a highly defined image, a carefully worded banner or an easily identifiable call to action. Minimalist web designs that use this technique have a well defined focus and communicate their message to the viewer quickly and effectively.

  • Minimalism doesn't have to be boring:The strict definition of minimalism is design stripped of extraneous aesthetic qualities to focus on the function of an object rather than a decorative form. However, minimalism can be interpreted in a number of different ways, and there is no need to ignore aesthetic concerns altogether. The function of most website designs is in fact to connect with a human being through an online interface, and this is best done through attractive visual features.

Minimalist web design places emphasis on the aspects of the site that appeal to the viewer the most, whether these are emotive images or beautiful typography. Many successful websites combine striking visual features with a generous use of white space to make interesting, engaging and easily understandable minimalist designs.

  • Simple web designs send complex messages:Web designs are created to communicate something, or sometimes quite a lot of related things, to the viewer. If you have many different messages to communicate to your audience, it could seem to make sense to use a variety of different elements to do it.

In fact, complex web designs are just about as successful as complex billboards that cannot be read from a distance or while driving at a high speed. Minimalist designs, on the other hand can make a significant impact on the reader and are more capable of conveying complex messages for the viewer to consider later.

Minimalist Interior Design - Below the Surface


Minimalist interior design came about as a direct result of the Minimalist art movement which first surfaced in the 1950s in New York and dominated the art world through the 1950s and 1960s. The art movement came from the overarching movement of the time, Modernism. This is why the terms Modernism and Minimalism are often used almost interchangeably when discussing design. While it is accurate to say that a minimal approach is a modern one, the reverse is not always true. 

Minimalist art is self-contained art; external references and emotion are avoided. Interior designers who work with minimalism tend to broadly follow this ideal. The approach to minimalism in interior design is less rigorous than it is in the art world. This is to be expected as a building's interior has to serve a function beyond the aesthetic--it has to be conducive to the act and to the art of living.

There are several distinct objectives within minimalist interior design and the task of the designer is to make these rationales come together as seamlessly as possible. This is no easy task and involves a lot more than knocking down a couple of non-supporting walls and painting everything white.

The Spiritual

The first objective is the spiritual. Minimalist interiors are designed to facilitate a sense of calm and peace. People's surroundings have a huge impact on the way that they feel and consequently act. To this end colors tend to be extremely pale or white so as not to induce an emotional response. The use of whites and pastels on walls also maximizes the reflection of light giving a soft, diffuse illumination that is not harsh or uncomfortable. The minimalist interior designer uses light to define the forms and the spaces where other designers would use materials and finishes. 

Open plan designs are favored as this type of architecture promotes a calm, detached feeling. Patterns and textures are generally not used unless they are essential to an object's function. An unfinished brick wall could easily be incorporated into minimalist design as the texture is directly related to its function, but wallpaper with an image of bricks would be about as anti-minimalist as it is possible to be. 

The Practical

The second objective is the practical. Multi-purpose objects are important in this regard. The floor that is also a radiator, windows arranged for the gathering of heat as well as light, and even the sofa that converts to a bed all follow the minimalist ideal. This multi-purposing ethos also extends to the use of spaces within the home. A committed minimalist will not be happy until every space serves at least two distinct functions.

Energy Efficiency

Thirty years ago this third objective would have been a subset of the practical. The importance of energy conservation in the light of recent discoveries regarding climate change and potential fuel scarcities means that energy efficiency is now an essential part of minimalist design. In fact it could be argued that it is impossible for a home to be considered an example of minimalist design without a serious attempt at energy conservation. At the very least the house should be insulated and all windows double- or triple-glazed. A purist would argue that the minimalist needs to go beyond these standard measures and look at non-fossil fuel options such as geothermal heating or solar panels.

If a designer meets these three objectives, the design produced would undoubtedly be a minimalist one.

Concluding thought

Of course many will slap a coat of white paint on the walls, rip some carpets up, and put a few openings in walls and call it a minimalist design, but for a design to be truly minimalist a bottom-up approach is needed. The functioning of the home, spiritually, practically, and energy-efficiently, will to a very large extent dictate its appearance. This is true minimalism and it comes from below the surface.