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Minimalist Design: A Showcase

From music to film to interior design, minimalism spans a broad and vast landscape of creativity.  It’s no wonder the style is often found in the world of graphic design as well.  With minimalism, less is more and only the most essential design elements get the spotlight.  Achieving this design can sometimes be a bit hard to grasp for designers, but it’s not an impossible style to master.
Basically, minimalism is about taking a site to its bare bones.  It’s about elimination of design features to the point of almost going beyond the site’s limits.  It can be a very challenging design, but once you get the hang of it, also very satisfying.
Below we’ve compiled a few of the major principles of minimalist design as well as a showcase of excellent minimalist websites.  Perhaps these will help inspire a minimalist style you can call your own.

Less Is More

One of the primary principles of minimalism was coined by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the famous architect.  Less is more.  It’s a fitting catch phrase that really gets to the heart of the minimalist movement.  The main objective is to take a work down to its essence, trading the elaborate for the simple and clean.  This means straightforward imagery, single shades of color, one feature rather than five and so on.
As you will see from the examples below, the dynamics of minimal design are exceptional, which is somewhat counterintuitive, but that’s the whole point.  Minimalist design attempts to do more, with less.


Lindvall A&D


A dynamic message of less is more is found in the barely visible, single image of a coat hook on the Lindvall A&D site.

Omit Needless Things

The best piece of advice to achieve the minimalist look is summed up in the simple philosophy: omit needless things.  Put another way, remove that is not necessary.  Minimalist design thrives most under simple, clear conditions using basic elements.  The basic elements of a site are the content and the function.  Think only about the elements and features needed for these two foundational attributes, and design with these and only these, in mind.

up&onward


Just a few design elements are in control here: gray background, white borders, basic typography.  Take these few elements away, and the site wouldn’t be able to function.

Reduce Until It Breaks

Similar to the principle above, the idea is to reduce a design, stopping just short of dysfunction.  Try eliminating elements until you break the functionality of the site, and then take one step back.  There’s the minimalist design you’re looking for.
This takes the minimalist concept to the extreme.  That’s why it’s important to use certain factors to gauge the “brokenness” of your design.  Usability is a good calibrator as is user experience.  Make sure that these are not sacrificed in your efforts to achieve the dynamics of the minimalist design style.

Brian Danaher

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