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

    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.

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  2. 52

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

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  3. 103

    Great designs!

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  4. 154

    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.

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  5. 205

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

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  6. 256

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

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  7. 307

    Very Very Very Very Very…….. Nice

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  8. 358

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

    0
  9. 409

    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.

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  10. 460

    Sheryar Nizar

    May 9, 2009 4:10 am

    Nice …

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  11. 511

    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!

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  12. 562

    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
  13. 613

    MologokoStudios

    April 15, 2010 7:18 pm

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

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  14. 664

    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!

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  15. 715

    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

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  16. 766

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

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  17. 817

    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.

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