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The elements of minimalistic web design

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 by Servage

flat-designVarious trends over the past decades since the breakthrough of the web have steered the design towards the flat style we often see today. Flat design goes hand in hand with the so called Web 2.0, meaning the transition from static HTML content to interactive Javascript-based web apps, heavily utilizing the AJAX technology for background data exchange to simulate app-like usability.

Minimalism is a style that has been around in art and other design for decades. It is not exclusive to the web. However, it has heavily inspired design trends and flat design is essentially a variation of minimalism as flat design skips the use of extravagance and advanced graphics and effects. Instead flat design relies on clear colors, typography, contrast and icons in order to show content.

When it comes to creating web design that is truly minimalistic and flat at the same time, which is right in the sweet spot of current web design trends, you have to obey a few simply rules.

Skip fancy effects

Flat is flat. Flat is not mostly flat, and then a little 3D here and there. You will find such elements misplaced in a truly flat design environment. Therefore remember to stay away from 3D effects like drop shadows, bevel and emboss. However, flat design does not restrict shapes. You can use rounded corners as much as you want, and looking around, you find various sites that rely on completely round elements.

Be generous with whitespace

Minimalistic design is characterized by giving lots of space to few outstanding elements instead of overloading the page with content. Imagine the following comparison: A website should be more like a magazine than a book, because a magazine is visually more appealing. However, minimalistic design is more than that (or actually less). Minimalistic design would be a magazine that only has a few elements on each page, instead of a mashup of content. Transform this concept to your website by making elements large, and surround them with a lot of empty space. It provides a clearer visual impression and lets the viewer focus more easily.

Emphasize on limited content

Focus your content on few elements with simple typography. Surrounded by whitespace, such elements attract the users’ attention and provide a concise message. You can further emphasize this by using large font sizes, while reducing the amount of text. Furthermore you should limit the choices a user can make on a given page. Provide a clear overview of your product, and then rely on few call-to-action elements with a large presence.

Minimalistic design works

It is clear that minimalistic design works and the users like it. Therefore you should not skip decisions lightly to implement it. Always try to reduce overload, and make your content more appealing. You do not need to redesign your entire website. It is easy to improve pages over time, if you pull your design in a general direction (otherwise you will create confusion).

 

 

 

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