6 Pillars of Minimalist Design That Make for Functional Websites
Updated on November 11th, 2015
This is a guest post – Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.
Designers have coined the term “minimalist design” to capture the essence of what makes for a functional website – but this is nothing new.
Minimalism comes from the art sector. It applies to painting, music, literature and other types of art.
It is said that the simple things in life are most precious and the truthfulness of this statement is evident with minimalism. The essence of it is simplicity – and the best web design is simple to understand.
Designers favor minimalism, because it helps people understand complex content and sparks action. The real genius of it is that it may be simple, but it certainly isn’t easy to master.
In order to do it effectively, it is important to understand the 6 pillars of minimalist design.
What is minimalist design?
Minimalist design has fewer elements than other styles of design, so you must be able to provide a similar level of usability or even better – with less interface. There must be a balance between the aesthetics and the functionality of the website. It is all about using space, breathtaking visuals and stunning typography. There is also an overall focus on the content within the design as well.
With minimalism, you will strip down the elements of the design to the most basic. You will work with the elements that only allow the website to be functional. In the process of doing so, the website will have the simplest style but at the same time, be stylish and functional.
To better understand minimalism, here are the 6 pillars.
1. Negative space
Space is the primary element of minimalist design. Remember that when talking about web design for the human eye, minimalism is not just a small visual encompassed by a colourless space. You can get white, black or even darker backgrounds to work with. It is even possible to express the negative space by use of full colour backgrounds.
Negative space makes it possible to manipulate the user’s visual flow. The more negative space there is around an element, the more attention it will command. This is just a general rule for any designer to operate with. You will discover just how powerful this tool is in the minimalist layout when you are down to a few but very powerful elements.
2. Supersize typography
It is quite hard for a website to portray meaning without words, and since you will be chopping out many other things, words must be present. The typography that you choose is going to help you hit the mark or miss it totally. You can have gorgeous, sharp and even custom typography that is perfect within the minimal framework. Supersize typography has a way of capturing the attention of people and is hard to miss.
3. Dramatic photography
There are designers who feel that minimalist sites are just too emotionally distant. Well, by using large size photographs you can add that relaxing touch of familiarity.
Always remember one important tip when you are choosing a photo to add – you should consider a high definition picture that consists of plenty of negative space. When you choose a photo packed with distracting items you will simply lose the advantage of the neighboring minimalist interface.
4. Relevant but beautiful contrast
Using a white background is common. It makes it possible for the designer to create beautiful contrast very easily. Designers often cover black or white backgrounds with several small and colorful elements or a bold image. This is the trademark of minimalism design. Designers are able to create contrast with size, colour, shape, scale and location. The contrast brings to attention particular elements of the design.
5. Harmony of visuals
There must be visual harmony. This does not need further explanation. You need to do just a few things to your minimal design framework in order to be effective and one of them is visual organization. To achieve this you will need a strong grid, visual balance as well as paying attention to alignment.
6. Navigation for dummies
Most people do not want to feel stressed when they are on your website. They want to think and work like dummies – the simpler the better!
Therefore, the fact that you have a simple design aesthetic is good. If you pair this with the simplest of navigation tools then you would have nailed it. Designers are dropping traditional navigation options in favour of the ‘hamburger icon’ that further lowers the number of interface elements.
By observing these six pillars of minimalist design, you can be sure that your website will be easy to navigate and engaging for your prospects. Minimalist design is one of the world’s finest ways to capture people’s attention. It is simple and brimming with opportunities for creativity. Coming up with the finest of minimalist designs requires a bit of patience though. Take your time and abide by the above rules and you will be good to go.
Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.
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