Less is more when it comes to web design. If you remember how gaudy early webpages were then you know that the simple elegance of a minimalist website leaves a better impression on visitors.
If you’re planning on building a website anytime soon, consider taking the minimalist approach. It’s more than just a trend, there are benefits to minimalism in web design.
What to do With A Minimalist Website?
Many popular businesses use simple web design because of the benefits it brings. Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Netflix must be doing something right.
Guide Your Customers
Keeping pages simple helps guide your customers to what you want them to see. By reducing the amount of visual information on the screen to a minimum you are able to effectively choose what they look at.
The homepage is probably the most important page to focus on as a designer. If it is difficult to navigate or can’t keep a visitor’s interest then the rest of the site may as well not exist.
Websites need links but your business doesn’t need to look like Drudge Report for users to navigate. A simple menu can be implemented on the homepage to hold and organize any navigation links required. And while it seems basic, just use your company logo for the homepage link.
Any contact information should be easy to find, but it doesn’t have to be front and center. Contact numbers and addresses can be neatly tucked away on their own page or at the bottom of the page. Having a bar on the bottom of the page with that information is effective and doesn’t require a separate link.
Hide Those Links
Text is good, but the pictures are better. You could have regular links on a sidebar, but linking through visuals can remove the need for that sidebar.
Tiles look great and can replace lines of text with visual representations of what your visitor is looking for. A picture of shoes and a text link to “shoes” achieve the same thing, but can drastically change how your website looks.
It’s up to the designer to choose what to do with links. Sometimes a simple text menu looks and feels better. But if you can implement quality tile links you can remove most of the text from your homepage and leave it looking fresh.
Make the Best Use of Fonts
No matter what you do with your text, you will need something for visitors to read. Consider fonts to be one of the most important pieces of minimalist website design.
Fonts like Arial and New Times Roman work well because they’re easy to read and considered “web safe”. That means that any device can read them without problems. If a device can’t fall back to one of these safe texts, your content may end up looking like gibberish.
You can get around that by making text part of a graphics instead of plain text. This way you can have much more artistic freedom over the font than regular type options. This makes editing harder so consider doing this with areas you don’t intend to change much.
Besides font, consider what to do with typography. If your site relies mainly on text make sure headers and content are clearly differentiated. You can easily do this by choosing different fonts, sizes, and colors.
If you’re going very minimalist then your typography is the most important part of your site. It will have to be easy to read and easy to differentiate between the content text and any menu text. Any visitor trying to read the content text next to the navigation text will quickly give up if it looks too similar.
Make Your Product Pop
By using negative space you can make your product the center of attention with ease. Minimalist web design can take away any distractions on the homepage and stage products as the first and most important element of your website.
The keyword of minimalism in web design is “focus”. Put the menus and links off to the side to make room for your product.
If you make and sell something, accentuate how good they look. Put your newest model on the homepage with an accompanying link and description. Treat your homepage like a virtual store window and put the attention on what you want people to buy.
Just because your website is minimalist doesn’t mean it has to look boring. Minimalism isn’t about removing all colors besides black and white.
Bright colors hold attention as long as it’s done tastefully. Consider where you want to draw attention and use contrasting colors to attract visitors to look.
Most websites use white backgrounds with colored menus and black text. It works well because it’s easy to read and the menus are easy to find. Reading the black text on a white background is the default because it works.
Consider the web design of most video hosting sites: very dark in most places except for the text and menus. Many websites offer the option for a nightmode now because darkening the website eases eyestrain while browsing in the dark. If you can make it work, your site will be much easier on the eyes when browsing at night.
Websites selling a product can take advantage of darker designs as well. Dark backgrounds help focus attention at whatever is brighter. Use this to put a spotlight on your product.
The important thing to remember is to contrast colors. Contrasting colors look great and guide the eye where you want it to go. Too many shades of one color make a website difficult to navigate and pretty boring to look at.
You can definitely stay in the grayscale, however. Black and white work together for a reason. You could argue that nothing is more minimalistic than black text on a white background.
More Ideas For Your Website
These are just the basics of minimalist website design. If you want more ideas and tutorials for web design, graphic design, and photoshop then check out our blogs and how-to sections.