Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, and in my opinion he was right. If you can master minimalism in your designs for websites or print, you can achieve an appearance of elegance and a feeling of effortlessness – but as designers, we are often questioned by the clients that employ us, as the minimalist approach is often confused as a way to avoid work, or to cheat them out of using all that space they have paid for.
Getting around client expectations of minimalism can be difficult, so hopefully, this handful of amazingly simple, but beautifully succinct websites will inspire you to follow in da Vinci’s footsteps and champion the minimalist way.
Früute is a bakery offering exotic bite-sized tarts, using a layout that mimics an art gallery, with a uniform spacing and a muted background color. The layout allows the vibrant tart palettes and textures to stand out.
Evoking a high-end fashion catalog, RFRM uses high-quality photography of props framed neatly inside a white border. But as you interact with the page, scrolling down to view the content, this background image slides away to be replaced by the content – a simple effect, but executed well.
The Paprika website is dominated by a large grid of their design portfolio, making use of the strong colors in their work, they’ve color-coded the images to give the user a more organic gradient as they scroll down the page, making the experience gentle and extremely subtle.
Another heavily typographic website, Blake Allen uses off-white and off-black to add a sense of warmth to the minimal color palette, and uses well-padded elements to create rhythm.
Delivering exactly what you would expect, this site is simply a (large) list of links to Fashion-centered tumblr blogs, but the well-paired serif & sans-serif type faces, set in uniform columns, and without any images on the page, all gives a sense of harmony and balance to the layout.
TK Type’s landing page draws focus with a prominent example of their Otari Regular font, gradually fading in from the background, giving users a gentle introduction to the website, but a strong visual of a lower-case “g” that invites a bit more exploration of the site.
Of course, these examples are all different, but they all have several core components in common that help them to keep a sense of balance and pace, allowing visitors to enjoy their experience and easily navigate the sites.
- Using a wide grid structure can help to provide that all-important white space around your content
- Minimal color palettes can reduce the visual noise of a website, so reducing the number of colors on a given page, or using gradual tone changes can help harmony
- Having a strong visual concept, whether it’s eye-catching oversized typography, or evocative photography of a product; may help provide an anchor point for your layout
I’m sure da Vinci would be proud.