Minimalist Website Design
Minimal design is clean, elegant, and spacious. Minimalist websites feature few words, powerful images, an elegant layout, and captivating one-liners. Just like a minimally designed room, a minimal online research or shopping space offers calmness, clarity, and pleasure. Minimal web design is the right choice for some businesses, but not appropriate for others. Read below to find out how minimal websites work, what effect they create, and if that aligns with your business’ goals.
Image and Text
The seamless synergy of image and text on minimalist websites invites the viewer into the cyber space. Think full-screen photographs or muted graphics with a central line of text and a menu drop-down in the top left corner. Perhaps an information link in the top right hand corner of the page as well. The first thing a minimalist website does is arrest your vision. The power of the picture is celebrated and takes the monopoly while carefully selected words add meaning.
Minimalist websites also play with negative space, the white space of the background. Negative space, the space between images and words, can be just as significant. We think about negative space subconsciously when we organise a grid of images or text boxes with the aim of making the white space in-between equal in width and height. Balancing images on a white background can take a designer’s eye to feel out the proportionality of space, and importance assigned to each image.
We use size, boldness, and layout to draw viewers’ attention. This goes for images and text. The text that is largest in size, bolded, and centered middle or top is where the viewers eyes will go first. That is the word or phrase that matters most. The same goes for images, remembering that, as a rule, visual attention travels from top left corner diagonally to bottom right.
Image and text should work together to communicate the purpose of your website.
A minimalist design created for Innate Life Chiropractic
The body of a minimalist website avoids text when it can and saves up description for detailed drop-down links on product pages. The most powerful and important page of a website is the landing/home page. You need to provide some text on your landing page. So how can you make an impact on the user with only a few words? The writer Earnest Hemingway made a bet with his friends that he could move them to tears with a short story only six words long. He won. “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” Not all web writers are as skilled as Earnest Hemingway, but there are tricks that a writer can use.
As in the six-word short story, punctuation plays a big part. Without the colon the story wouldn’t work grammatically while the full stops create tension and suspense. Colons, semicolons, and dashes used cleverly can enable writers to craft minimal and powerful sentences.
The other key to minimal text is the use of buzzwords. Strong triggering words and phrases imply a deep and multilayered background of meaning. You can use a combination of buzzwords to replace full sentences and still convey the same meaning. Takes these examples:
Believe. Belong. Become.
Black Lives Matter
Quality. Sustainability. Future.
These phrases trigger deeper realities in only three words. The first example is a religious call to action but could be applicable to a community project. The second example implies a history of disempowered women and patriarchy (patriarchy is a pretty strong buzzword by the way). The third example invites action and a call to justice for a people/nation/group undervalued throughout history.
Think in words rather than sentences.
Keep it simple; fonts, colours, graphics, icons, and borders. Avoid flourishing or bold fonts and opt for slender print fonts in upper case. Choose a muted colour pallet and stick to it; try monochrome. Or if you must use a primary colour, use it sparingly over a predominantly white background.
If you are designing the graphics and icons or working with existing branding, be consistent above all else. If an existing brand label/icon is overly complex or colourful, play with it: strip it to its bones, emphasise the strong vectors, and make it a colourless wireframe. Note that borders engender formality and enclose a space. Use borders judiciously on sites for clients that want to embody formality, structure, and enclosure.
Peace & Clarity
A clutter-free web page offers peace of mind. A website without excess and without boisterous distracting colours offers clarity. Banners, graphics, and strips of ads can confuse and create visual stress by over stimulating the viewer. A minimalist website offers a peaceful online research or shopping experience. Minimal use of text creates a single focus and a clear objective. People looking for information or products appreciate a clear website design with obvious flow and movement between pages. Font size and clear vectors can assist in making the flow of the site obvious.
There needs to be a balance of how much information and how minimal the text is. Taking it too far can make the website too bare and not provide potential customers with enough information to trust it. If it is a website selling products, the online shopper might not feel comfortable if there is not enough information about the product, where it is coming from, and who produces it.
You want to way create a minimal look and still give the user enough reasons to trust the website. You can do this by making the landing page/homepage as simple as possible and adding drop-downs to the product pages. The product pages can follow the same style as the homepage but have multiple drop-down links that flesh out the product. This way the user can feel confident about the legitimacy of the site and the credibility of the brand/products after being attracted by the elegant landing page.
Use powerful images and few words.
Negative space is just as important – always keep it in mind.
Make the words count by utilising punctuation and buzzwords.
Use size and layout to indicate importance and visual order.
Think in words, not sentences.
Use a single clean uppercase print font,
Opt for a muted colour pallet
Adapt logos and icons to be wireframe monochrome,
And approach borders judiciously – they have a particular place.
Balance text and images so that users can trust the website.
Users will need enough information to feel secure and in control.
Another minimalist design created for Nicola Bolton – painter, illustrator and photographer
Minimalist Websites from Jezweb
Looking for a sleek, minimalist design for your website? The websites we create are mobile responsive, optimised to Google requirements and designed to suit your business branding and content. Get in touch by calling us on (02) 4950 1140 to discuss your vision today!