When you think of minimalism, you may conjure up images of black and white color schemes, overly-simple layouts, maybe a splash of color here and there. The actual concept in context of web design is about stripping out anything unnecessary. While this can produce boring design, there is a LOT of creative freedom within this framework.
Minimalism seeks to identify the real, functional needs of users and get the clutter out of the way. Want an experiment? Take a screenshot of any modern, monetized blog, throw it into Photoshop, and start erasing sections you do not need to navigate and discover content. You’ll be amazed at how much can go: the header image (usually), the ads along the sidebar, other gadgets you never really need. The end result may be strikingly similar to these designs.
Some of the trends that have emerged are likely a response to the over-the-top monetization of blogs. With banners, ads, and widgets, oh my; well, maybe we’re packing too much on a page. Text-based nav bars, use of grid layouts, minimal colors, large graphics sans text, and hyper-minimalism are just a few of the responses we’re seeing to overly-busy websites.
Text-Based Navigation Bar
The text-based navigation bar has no roll-over graphics. No bells and whistles. Just a simple text-based message that tells you how to get where. This trend goes to show it doesn’t take much to guide your readers around. While the horizontal arrangement is classic, note how a few of these sites mix it up.
Billboards, books, text-boxes – these are all examples of grid-based organization in an insane world. Grids keep things nice and simple. You know where to expect the next element, whether that’s a graphic or a text-block. These sites use grids to organize a stripped down site and manage to keep things visually interesting as well.
Minimal Color Treatment
Who says you needs lots of color? In the below examples, the designers did a great job of minimalist design while also stripping the colors down to almost nothing. What this does is create an opportunity to intentionally draw the eye of the reader to specific places on the page. Headers, titles, and other important sections get the color treatment and the copy stays black/gray.
The heading on this site changes to red when visitors hover the mouse over the text.
More Graphics, Less Text
Sometimes a picture says everything that needs to be said. This doesn’t work on every website, of course. Check out how these designers decided to remove pretty much everything BUT the graphics. The effect can be stunning.
Then there are the few who take minimalism to its farthest logical extension. If you can say everything you need in a few short words, maybe that’s all you need. You get the benefit of ultra-fast loading times, easy updating, and a focused message. Did these designers make it work?