Keep It Simple, Stupid!

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Let’s put it straight – simplicity is more complex than you probably think it is. To design a web-site in user-friendly tones, presenting all information and removing unnecessary details isn’t easy. In fact, many designers don’t manage to find the right mix between details and their presentation on the screen, which usually results in an information overkill and/or decreased usability. However, some designers do manage to find the right balance and create usable, elegant and clean web-sites with simple layouts.

We’ve selected some of them. 49 simple, clean, sometimes even minimalistic designs, which all stick closely to one single principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid!1. You can also download the whole KISS-gallery in PDF2 (7,2 Mb) – the document includes high-resolution screenshots and the list of all showcased web-sites. Please do not copy the list, but refer to it with a link.

Update: We’ve been buried as inaccurate/spam on Digg.com. If you don’t think that this post is inaccuarate and you don’t see any spam here, keep digging us3 and let us know your opinion in the comments.

Recently we’ve suggested few start points one could start learning simplicity from. If you are looking for inspiration, you’d probably like to check

we’ve selected recently.

Centered Designs

1. Davidville8

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Davidville9

2. The place Garrett Dimon calls home. | GarrettDimon.com10

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - The place Garrett Dimon calls home. | GarrettDimon.com11

3. Drew Warkentin | Creative Solutions Daily.

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Drew Warkentin | Creative Solutions Daily.

4. Goplan – Online project management and collaboration tool12

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Goplan - Online project management and collaboration tool13

5. Business Logs: Blog Design, Blog Consulting, Web 2.0 Services.14

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Business Logs” Blog Design, Blog Consulting, Web 2.0 Services.15

6. 31Three – Web Development in Niagara, Ontario16

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - 31Three - Web Development, Website Design, Web Design, Graphic Design in Niagara, Ontario17

7. 45royale, Inc. | Atlanta Web Design and Development18

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - 45royale, Inc. | Atlanta Web Design and Development19

8. JeffCroft.com: Homepage20

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - JeffCroft.com: Homepage21

9. Web Design – Normanton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire – Grove22

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Web Design - Normanton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire - Grove23

10. Jewelboxing – Super Jewel Box Packaging System – CD and DVD Cases24

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Jewelboxing - Super Jewel Box Packaging System - CD and DVD Cases25

11. Studio MIKMIK: Graphic design and illustration by Michael Lewis26

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Studio MIKMIK: Graphic design and illustration by Michael Lewis27

12. journal // hicksdesign28

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - journal // hicksdesign29

13. [Beta] Rapid coding collaboration: Springloops30

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - [Beta] Rapid coding collaboration: Springloops31

14. Corking Design | Daniel Cork freelance web designer based in Manchester32

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Corking Design | Daniel Cork freelance web designer based in Manchester33

15. Tijs Vrolix34

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Tijs Vrolix35

16. Visit MIX0736

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Visit MIX0737

17. Apple – iPod + iTunes38

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Apple - iPod + iTunes39

18. The Book Magazine – read online book reviews, author interviews

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - The Book Magazine - read online book reviews, author interviews and win books in our competitions

19. kottke.org :: home of fine hypertext products40

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - kottke.org :: home of fine hypertext products41

20. Simple software to help you get organized: 37signals42

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Simple software to help you get organized: 37signals43

21. t:m44

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - t:m45

22. The Missing Link – Homepage46

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - The Missing Link - Homepage47

23. Wishlistr: Skapa din egen onskelista48

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Wishlistr: Skapa din egen onskelista49

24. IconShoppe ~ Royalty-free stock icons for the web50

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - IconShoppe ~ Royalty-free stock icons for the web51

25. Solution Watch – Your descriptive source of solutions

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Solution Watch - Your descriptive source of solutions

Left-aligned Designs

26. Navix Europe | Language, Creative & Consultancy Services52

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Navix Europe | Language, Creative & Consultancy Services53

27. maybe.for.you.54

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - maybe.for.you.55

28. Good Creative – Branding and Graphic Identity

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Good Creative - Branding and Graphic Identity

29. Text Link Ads – Smart Link Marketing56

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Text Link Ads - Smart Link Marketing57

30. Webdesign Werbeagentur Kassel Vitamin J Kommunikation58

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Webdesign Werbeagentur Kassel Werbung Corporate Design CMS Vitamin J Kommunikation59

31. Subtraction 7.060

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Subtraction 7.061

Vibrant and Dark Designs

32. We Create Things

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - We Create Things

33. Lighthouse62

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Lighthouse63

34. Centrigy™64

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Centrigy™65

35. nclud™ a creative web design agency66

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - nclud™ a creative web design agency67

36. White Image – Irish Art68

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - White Image - Irish Art69

37. Revision370

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Revision371

38. The Consult – Creative Design Agency – Home72

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - The Consult - Creative Design Agency - Home73

A Little Bit More Noisy, but Still Simple and Clean Designs

39. Webreakstuff74

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Webreakstuff75

40. @media 2007 | The Cutting Edge Conference for Web Professionals76

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - @media 2007 | The Cutting Edge Conference for Web Professionals77

41. only a blog78

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - only a blog79

Worth Mentioning

42. An Experiment Gone Useful – Artypapers80

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Wishingline Design Studios | Services - Services Summary81

43. kartooner.com82

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - kartooner.com83

44. Unspace84

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Unspace85

45. Wishingline Design Studios | Services – Services Summary86

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Wishingline Design Studios | Services - Services Summary87

46. SXSW’07: After the Storm – Snook.ca88

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Wishingline Design Studios | Services - Services Summary89

47. Design Observer: writings about design & culture90

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Design Observer: writings about design & culture91

48. paulbeelen.com92

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - paulbeelen.com93

49. Olof Lonnroth Design – Lonnroth.info94

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Simple Usable Designs - Olof Lonnroth Design - Lonnroth.info95

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.digital-web.com/articles/keep_it_simple_stupid/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/pdfs/kiss.zip
  3. 3 http://digg.com/design/Keep_It_Simple_Stupid_4
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/01/12/white-space-and-simplicity-an-overview/
  5. 5 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2006/12/19/50-beautiful-css-based-web-designs-in-2006/
  6. 6 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/03/05/45-fresh-clean-and-impressive-designs/
  7. 7 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/01/13/30-dark-designs-you-shouldve-seen/
  8. 8 http://www.davidville.com/
  9. 9 http://www.davidville.com/
  10. 10 http://www.garrettdimon.com/
  11. 11 http://www.garrettdimon.com/
  12. 12 http://goplan.info/
  13. 13 http://goplan.info/
  14. 14 http://businesslogs.com/
  15. 15 http://businesslogs.com/
  16. 16 http://www.31three.com/
  17. 17 http://www.31three.com/
  18. 18 http://www.45royale.com/
  19. 19 http://www.45royale.com/
  20. 20 http://www2.jeffcroft.com/
  21. 21 http://www2.jeffcroft.com/
  22. 22 http://www.grovewebsitedesign.co.uk/
  23. 23 http://www.grovewebsitedesign.co.uk/
  24. 24 http://www.jewelboxing.com/indexsg.php
  25. 25 http://www.jewelboxing.com/indexsg.php
  26. 26 http://www.studiomikmik.co.uk/
  27. 27 http://www.studiomikmik.co.uk/
  28. 28 http://www.hicksdesign.co.uk/journal/
  29. 29 http://www.hicksdesign.co.uk/journal/
  30. 30 http://www.springloops.com/
  31. 31 http://www.springloops.com/
  32. 32 http://corkingdesign.co.uk/
  33. 33 http://corkingdesign.co.uk/
  34. 34 http://tijsvrolix.be/
  35. 35 http://tijsvrolix.be/
  36. 36 http://www.visitmix.com/
  37. 37 http://www.visitmix.com/
  38. 38 http://www.apple.com/itunes/
  39. 39 http://www.apple.com/itunes/
  40. 40 http://kottke.org/
  41. 41 http://kottke.org/
  42. 42 http://www.37signals.com/
  43. 43 http://www.37signals.com/
  44. 44 http://www.tm.com/
  45. 45 http://www.tm.com/
  46. 46 http://www.themissinglink.nl/
  47. 47 http://www.themissinglink.nl/
  48. 48 http://www.wishlistr.se/
  49. 49 http://www.wishlistr.se/
  50. 50 http://www.iconshoppe.com/
  51. 51 http://www.iconshoppe.com/
  52. 52 http://www.navix.co.uk/
  53. 53 http://www.navix.co.uk/
  54. 54 http://www.maybeinc.com/
  55. 55 http://www.maybeinc.com/
  56. 56 http://www.text-link-ads.com/
  57. 57 http://www.text-link-ads.com/
  58. 58 http://www.vitamin-j.de/
  59. 59 http://www.vitamin-j.de/
  60. 60 http://www.subtraction.com/
  61. 61 http://www.subtraction.com/
  62. 62 http://www.lighthouseapp.com/
  63. 63 http://www.lighthouseapp.com/
  64. 64 http://www.centrigy.com/
  65. 65 http://www.centrigy.com/
  66. 66 http://www.nclud.com/
  67. 67 http://www.nclud.com/
  68. 68 http://whiteimage.com/
  69. 69 http://whiteimage.com/
  70. 70 http://revision3.com/diggnation
  71. 71 http://revision3.com/diggnation
  72. 72 http://www.theconsult.com/
  73. 73 http://www.theconsult.com/
  74. 74 http://blog.webreakstuff.com/
  75. 75 http://blog.webreakstuff.com/
  76. 76 http://www.vivabit.com/atmedia2007/
  77. 77 http://www.vivabit.com/atmedia2007/
  78. 78 http://www.mstefan.com/blog/
  79. 79 http://www.mstefan.com/blog/
  80. 80 http://www.artypapers.com/
  81. 81 http://www.artypapers.com/
  82. 82 http://kartooner.com/
  83. 83 http://kartooner.com/
  84. 84 http://unspace.ca/
  85. 85 http://unspace.ca/
  86. 86 http://www.wishingline.com/services/
  87. 87 http://www.wishingline.com/services/
  88. 88 http://www.snook.ca/archives/conferences/sxsw07_after_the_storm/
  89. 89 http://www.snook.ca/archives/conferences/sxsw07_after_the_storm/
  90. 90 http://www.designobserver.com/
  91. 91 http://www.designobserver.com/
  92. 92 http://www.paulbeelen.com/blog/
  93. 93 http://www.paulbeelen.com/blog/
  94. 94 http://lonnroth.info/
  95. 95 http://lonnroth.info/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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  1. 1

    Cool!!!

    1
  2. 2

    Some nice sites. Its interesting to see how many use only a single column for their main content and how many who have lots of columns.

    Just out of interest how do you go about finding the sites that you use for your lists? Are they just sites that you happen to know of already or do you go to gallery sites looking for good designs?

    0
  3. 3

    Vitaly Friedman

    March 26, 2007 9:44 pm

    2Eddie: thanks. First of all, we list at least 15-20 sites we know and seen earlier. Afterwards we search through 10-15 CSS-galleries and select some of the most beautiful examples we find.

    0
  4. 4

    I really like these articles. They are so inspirational, but they make me feel like ass in comparison. :p

    0
  5. 5

    Fab resource!

    0
  6. 6

    I like simplicity!

    So many designers that I know, doesn’t like simple layouts, because they think it’s boring and ugly…

    Sometimes it’s harder than create complex layouts… You need to know where and when white space is the better choice.

    0
  7. 7

    guys at digitalweb don’t have a feed, 2007? sooo lame

    0
  8. 8

    Great list. I am in a continuous process of revisions in an aim to find the perfect simplicity. I am not there yet but this should help a lot.

    0
  9. 9

    I love clean design. As a multimedia/graphic designer I have been inclined to learn Flash in the past few years. Taking a look at where the web is going, ie Web 2.0 I feel flash based websites are going to be ancient history except for certain exceptions. Anyone else feel the same way? Let me know.

    0
  10. 10

    I really like the PDF file version for this post. I printed it out and put it in page protectors in a binder. I find that I can flip through the binder and look as designs and get ideas faster than surfing lots of sites. I also put my own comments on the printouts. Can you make PDFs of the other posts that you have done on website design? The 4 you have listed below the introduction text would be great. Your site is great, keep up the good work.

    0
  11. 11

    Awesome list – one more for keeping it simple: http://www.seventhvision.com.au

    0
  12. 12

    May be u can also make a list of complicated web site, that u should not follow. :D

    0
  13. 13

    A lot of my personal sites follow the KISS rule and mainly revolve around 1 master area.
    It’s the cleanest, easiest way to design.

    0
  14. 14

    there’s some damn nice sites there, maybe one day I’ll actually manage to make a site as nice

    0
  15. 15

    also worth mentioning would be bloobseven.net

    0
  16. 16

    Very true! It’s more tough that one could imagine to make something very simple and yet come up with an excellent design. Your article has some nice looking website and inspires me to follow their approach.

    Thank you for the list!

    0
  17. 17

    Agreed – simple is better. I’ve tried to balance an inviting design and the presentation of content on my blog using the concept of “keeping it as simple as possible.”

    0
  18. 18

    i’ve seen couple of the designs presented here also at open source design sites – i guess here are the original ones (the designers who created layouts for open source..).

    0
  19. 19

    I like my firms site (very simple) pendergraphics

    0
  20. 20

    Thanks for this great list!

    0
  21. 21

    As always, I love your lists and this one is superb. Insired!

    0
  22. 22

    wow the famous “KISS” in web design, it interests to me.

    greetings!

    0
  23. 23

    Custom Web Site Design

    March 29, 2007 6:26 pm

    Some people are saying that simple design is boring… well simple design can be boring… but I also think simple design is the key if you want a website that works for your business… a very often a complicated design can work against your business… just my opinion :)

    0
  24. 24

    Wow, i could certainly use these techniques of web 2.0 in my web designing. Nice article

    0
  25. 25

    Please add my site also in sutable category

    0
  26. 26

    Awesome!

    0
  27. 27

    Great, i love minimalistic designs, can’t help it

    0
  28. 28

    Everything is so simple. I love it. :)

    0
  29. 29

    Excellent Usability and Fantastic User Interface.

    0
  30. 30

    I have gone through your site its good and excellent,and i found many interesting things to read ,gathered information
    so here i am linking you relevant site to get more details,

    onlinebookreviews

    0
  31. 31

    have gone through your site its good and excellent, and i found many interesting things to read,gathered information.
    So here i am linking you relevant site to get more details,
    onlinebookreviews

    0
  32. 32

    I like most of them. I do not like Apples site. It appears simple but after using it, it is pretty terrible. Most of the time you dont know what section you are under as each tab is a whole different site in itself. But the idea is great. I like simple Website Design

    0
  33. 33

    If anyone has ever used Apple’s “iWork” application, many of these layouts look rather familiar. Most could have been designed in iWork, just by using the templates for the basic layout.

    0
  34. 34

    Jennifer Farley

    May 22, 2007 7:54 pm

    More Inspiration! Thanks. Just found this after looking at your new list. The only problem with these lovely designs is that it makes me want to go and re-design mine all the time.

    0
  35. 35

    Thanks for the include! Can’t believe I’m on a list with some of these designers!

    0
  36. 36

    Outstanding post. These are all excellent designs. Certainly a good mixture of text and graphics. I am certainly learning a lot from these designs, and as we like to say imitation is a sincerest form of flattery.

    0
  37. 37

    Quite a collection here. I have also wanted to make good CSS designs but I am just moving to it.

    0
  38. 38

    Good Article, but:

    Would this make my site too complicated?
    I’m not trying to spam, I just have made it recently and have no idea.

    Thanks anyways, Nathan

    0
  39. 39

    Great designs!

    One of my favourite http://www.abacusdatasys.com

    -1
  40. 40

    assume collection……. but ll try to do better than u…. its challenge!!!!!!!!!!!1

    0
  41. 41

    simple is cool. and your list is quite inspiring!

    0
  42. 42

    When I do need a BIG changeover for my website, this is the place I definitely will come for inspiration! Excellent picks!! :P

    0
  43. 43

    oooh some lovely wee designs in here, i like the darker ones they seem more elegant somehow. When I need a revamp or design inspiration, these are the types of blogs i like to check out thanks smashing magazine!!

    0
  44. 44

    where is darinfireball.net ?

    0
  45. 45

    Hey, fantastic list of sites. So simple and elegant :)

    0
  46. 46

    So simple means white and boring?

    0
  47. 47

    Bare-knuckle simplicity – gone too far? smpl.se

    0
  48. 48

    the link to the email advertising site might have triggered your burial on digg

    0
  49. 49

    You know, for a post about KISS web design, this site looks a LOT better once I blocked all the &^&%&ing advertising!!

    Maybe it would be a good idea to learn your own lessons, perhaps :)

    0
  50. 50

    I am looking at seeing some designs that use 50/50 spacing for layout, I would say something similar to the idea of how a book would display its conent

    0
  51. 51

    Nice article but I disagree a wee bit, simple is good for a lot of sites, yes. take a look at the apple store, its not simple, take a look at any big e-commerce store, ebay, dell the list is endless, most of the sites you show are non-commercial blogs etc, while the web 2 style look works for them, it simply work quite work that way with e-commerce sites, where conversion and design are king.

    0
  52. 52

    I think that keeping the design clean & simple is the best for your website design.

    0
  53. 53

    Great designs!

    0
  54. 54

    Simple, clean design is an excellent idea for a great looking website.

    You dont want anything too fancy otherwise you distract your readers. I love the examples in this post.

    0
  55. 55

    I admire 32. website, nice and i am going to use it . thanks!
    frengly

    0
  56. 56

    I absolutely love springloops.com. Another one of my favorites is

    0
  57. 57

    Very Very Very Very Very…….. Nice

    0
  58. 58

    Just say http://www.smashingmagazine.com got award from my blog…
    so thx smashingmagazine…

    0
  59. 59

    I wonder if people would consider a site like Avalonstar.com simple. The layout itself is very simple, but it has the illusion of being busy because of the abstract coloring and styling mechanics used in it’s design.

    Just as well, I’ve been working on my own site (Xenostar.net) trying to get it to look as simple as possible; I have to say, it isn’t as easy at one would think. Its even harder because I’m designing live.

    0
  60. 60

    Sheryar Nizar

    May 9, 2009 4:10 am

    Nice …

    0
  61. 61

    I use articles like this to help me with my designs. It’s very difficult to keep it simple after working on a design for an extended period of time. After viewing sites like the ones posted above, I can tell when to stop adding and start perfecting what I have. Thank You!

    0
  62. 62

    I like the new designs where a picture or flash movie (700×400 i think) is used, I’ve used this on a few pages, where this photo or movie is toward the top takes up most of the space and links are underneath.

    0
  63. 63

    MologokoStudios

    April 15, 2010 7:18 pm

    Where is the line between clean and simple going to template looking?…

    0
  64. 64

    Hey! This is a beautiful compilation. Check out what the guys at http://www.marketcrashers.com are doing, it fits right in with the clean/simple/minimalist theme. It’s kind of tiring seeing the same old “apple this” and “apple that” all over the place, this is a great mix.

    Thanks!

    0
  65. 65

    Here’s another example of a very clean, simple, minimalistic design that is easy to use and navigate. Nothing to subscribe to, no ads, no embellishments, no animation, just pure simple content: http://www.paxsonwoelber.com

    0
  66. 66

    it was nice to see the new designs and they where very aatractive and good for drawing and painting

    0
  67. 67

    I love how every link I clicked sent me to a website which looked absolutely nothing like the preview images! Great job at being myopic! You get a gold star….is it really too much to ask to cache a local copy of the sites you advertise as “cool designs”? Might make the value of your pages last a little bit longer than the 2-3 months it takes for the owners to decide they’re bored with their site and that it needs a re-design….just a thought.

    0

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