As the legend says, long long ago there was a small kingdom in the Middle Land, called Old Minimalshyer. People of Old Minimalshyer loved simple things, they always ate simple food, wore plain dresses, sought for easy solutions. They hated meaningless words, useless talks and believed in Simplicity as the perfect state of the mind. As the old king had gone, the kingdom was drawn into a continuous war between two brothers: elder son – His Majesty Terrell "Information" and junior son – His Royal Highness Hendrick” Design".
Long-lasting war has exhausted the kingdom so much that people have abandoned their homes to search for a better life in the neighbouring lands. Finally, two brothers have signed peace treaty. Since those days Old Minimalshyer has returned its good name back, and sovereigns have collected all their knowledge into one manuscript called "Less is more". And yes, they lived happily ever after.
P.S. We are proud to share with you some ideas from this ancient book.
As you may know minimalism is used in web design to reduce all unnecessary elements for achieving clean and super-efficient layout. If you are going to create website in minimal style you must strip everything down to its essential quality. Minimal style is focused on geometric abstraction. The main rule of minimalism is keeping only important things. Below you can see a widely used formula that you can use while creating minimal layout for a website.
20% of your design is used to welcome visitors and rest 80% is used to give them information what they are looking for.
Further we will take a good look at major components of minimalism principle in web design. So you will know more about:
- White space
Yep, white space doesn't have to be white by the color (I mean that you can create minimal design for your website by using any color from your palette). White space is just an empty space around various design elements of the web design layout. This term has achieved its name due to white paper that was widely used in the printing industry. Despite the common and misleading opinion that white space is absolutely useless it shouldn't be neglected. Moreover you can use white space as the most powerful tool in creating minimal web layout.
Active and negative space
Active space is used for creating perfect structure of the layout and content emphasizing. Let's try to do it together: just put one single design element into huge amount of space. Separate this element with an empty space and you'll see that this very element becomes the most important thing on the page and collects 90% of visitors' attention. So, here is a simple rule of using active space: the more element stands alone, the more attention it is going to get. Furthermore you can use active space to group blocks of similar information together and enhance your structure.
Also there is an empty space which has minor role in the process of layout creating during web site designing. This type of space fills the place between information blocks and often gives a minute of a rest for our eyes. Please remember that you shouldn't fill this empty space with some useless but "pretty" design elements. Putting those in your design will ruin the structure and will distract users.
Micro and macro levels
- Micro level. Kerning, leading and tracking are basic actions that you can perform on the micro level to enhance design. If you want to reach the highest level of web page's legibility you must use wisely all these three methods. For example, if you need to place tons of content in a small amount of space, just play little bit with leading or tracking by making text more readable.
- Macro level. Macro means big and it is obvious that white space on this level deals with big objects of your design. These objects have huge impact on the major impression that you get while observing website's design. You'll agree that right disposition of big elements will add elegance and charisma to your website.
If you want to build strong visual and conceptual connections between your design elements then you must look deeper into this design principle. Unity is vitally important for creating minimal website design because it helps to hold together design's concept, its structure and make it visually complete. Unity creates an order from the chaos by organizing design elements according to their logical and design interrelation. Creating logical groups of design elements will help users perceive website's information entirely and avoid processing each element individually. Unity as design term consists of many factors help to create unity within a web page. Below you can find a list of all components that play various roles in the designing process.
- Alignment – This factor plays important role in visual unity, because elements designed around a common axis which creates strong design connection. So, as I've mentioned before alignment creates visual unity but not conceptual.
- Continuity – The law of continuity says that items placed in a certain row or direction are seen as a group/li>
- Consistency – Well, everything is simple here. Consistency together with other factors (like typography) make the elements quite dissimilar but logically connected.
- Proximity – This factor describes another simple postulate that closer things look together. Proximity helps to create visual unity as same as alignment.
- Repetition – By repeating certain elements in your design, like buttons at the footer, or other small details you can unify your design. Just choose a certain element and repeat those throughout.
Color is another cornerstone of the minimalism theory in web design. It is not a secret that most successful business projects use a controlled and thought-out color scheme. Why? It helps to unify their products and create a feeling of continuity. Color carries the function of reinforcement of design elements, emphasizing some of them. This makes them conspicuous and attracts user's attention (it is widely used for various navigation elements). There is a common myth that minimal web design usually has white or grey color scheme. It is not so. You can use any color you want just stick to a simple color palette and use 2 or 3 colors. Of course you can try to use a single color scheme which creates contrast and would have a strong impact on your design.
ypography is another efficient method that you can for polishing your minimal design to its perfectness. You can always implement big typography to your design which will be a perfect solution to replace images. Also it will add bonus to the graphic karma of a website. Drop cap, color typography and other awesome effects will help you to catch user's attention on information which perfectly reflects the strong philosophy of minimalism. Minimal design concentrates visitors’ attention on information while images often neglect this principle.
Now we are getting back to the role images on minimal design. Please don't think that I'm trying to confuse you but there are cases when you can add images to minimal design (yes, I know that I wrote in a previous paragraph that "images often neglect the principle of information dominance"). The secret is simple - you must use images to serve a purpose of minimal design. With the right usage of simple color palettes, typography and negative space you can provide images with an opportunity to deliver information and focus visitors on it.
Don't forget about balance. If you are going to place graphic content strictly maintain a balance. This design principle is equal to all principles of minimal web design. Do not let one element to consume space or stand out against the background of the whole design. Just be sure that all design components are highly relevant to the content and create the whole structure.
“Less is more.” - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1886
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