Web Trends 2014: Minimalist design

2014 is an exciting year for design web trends. Technologies are rapidly expanding the capabilities of what’s possible. In this blog series, we’ll look at some of the latest trends close up, and explore their value to the web.

Minimalist design

This week’s focus is on a design trend that may seem like a step backwards, because it doesn’t depend on newer development frameworks or browser features. I call it minimalist design, and while the trend is already emerging, this design strategy will really hit its stride in 2014.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

– Antoine de Saint-Exupe

What does it look like?

  • Minimalist design features content simply and cleanly, without clutter, and without being overdone.
  • Designers use either no graphics, or keep it to just one or two images.
  • Often, the font size is larger than average and easy to read.
  • The content usually fills the space with generous margins and includes no sidebars, no banners, no digital knick-knacks.

What does it accomplish?

First, it offers users the visual refreshment of viewing content with a clean and uncluttered space — something of a novelty after the chaos of the average news or e-commerce page — which are often comprised of a multicolor background image, 5 columns, sidebars, banners, popups, tables, video’s, logos, clashing colors…

Secondly, it lets the user focus squarely on the content. This is what they came for, after all — minimalist design makes it the star. This trend has a limited place in web design and it won’t work everywhere, but consider how it might make sense when you really want to highlight content overall.

What does it look like?

Here are some examples of minimalist design at its best. 

medium

Medium.
This is an online content publishing forum that’s a bit hard to classify. It’s not a news site or a blog, per se. It is a place for anyone to publish and share original long-form stories and essays. It’s definitely worth checking out for the great content quality, but we’re featuring it here as a perfect example of a clean, minimally formatted website.

SVBTL homepage

SVBTLE is an online community based magazine with a very clean, simple 3-column user interface.

zenhabits homepage

Zenhabits is a good example of a blog stripped down to bare bones yet very elegant and distraction free.

exposure

For exposure.so, the stunning photography tells the stories. Beautiful example of minimal design to maximum effect, with textual narrative kept bare bones.

Minimalistic design won’t be every website’s design solution, but it’s something every designer should consider. Because when a web page has 100 CTA’s flashing at a user, the only thing they’re going to click is the “get me out of here” button.

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