Showcase Of Clean And Minimalist Designs


By Jacob Gube and Smashing Editorial Team

Minimalism, in the context of design, refers to simple, unadorned designs that embody only the most basic and fundamental needs. In art, it is a movement that has its roots in the post-World War II era, started by highly regarded minimalist artists such as Donald Judd1, Carl Andre2, and Robert Morris3. Minimalism today refers to a certain style (or even a certain attitude or way of life) that transcends different fields, such as architecture, philosophy, law and, of course, Web design.

In this article, we explore the meaning of minimalism in the context of Web design. First, we’ll look at some features of a minimalist Web design in the hope of learning by way of deconstruction. Then, we’ll see a showcase of minimalist designs. Finally, you’ll find some useful resources on the topic of minimalism in Web design.

Showcase of clean and minimalist designs

Though there are different ways to achieve a minimalist Web design, and designers have varying definitions and interpretations of what minimalist Web design truly is, there are certainly some commonalities among what we can consider minimalist designs.

In the review below we’ll consider some common features and attribues of a minimalist Web design. However, let’s first take a look at some truly outstanding examples of excellent minimalist and clean web design.

Jan Reichle4

Jan Reichle screen shot.5


HUGE screen shot.7



Rodrigo Galindez10


BrynnShepherd.com12 screen shot.13


SpiekermannPartners screen shot15


MaximNew screen shot.17


Muller screen shot.19


FLOWmarket screen shot.21




80/20 screen shot.25


GG screen shot.27


Cubic screen shot.29

Vitor Lourenco30

Vitor Lourenco screen shot31





3rings screen shot.37

AIGA New York38

AIGA New York screen shot.39

Kalle Gustafsson40

Kalle Gustafsson41


Clagnut screen shot.43






FLOWmarket screen shot.49





MAYØ screen shot55

Berit Sømme56

Berit Sømme screen shot57


Poccuo screen shot.59


SMeltery screen shot.61


kraaft screen shot.63

Hermes.com64 screen shot.65


Sitening screen shot.67

bora aksu68

bora aksu screen shot.69


hillmancurtis screen shot.71

BuuHouse Interactive72

BuuHouse Interactive screen shot.73


Theme screen shot75

Marek Levák76

Marek Levak screen shot.77

Mark Wieman78

Mark Wieman screen shot79

Rogier Bikker80

Rogier Bikker screen shot.81

Razvan Stavila82




1. Design is focused on the content

In minimalist designs the focus lies not on the visual presentation, but on the content — the information presented in a “naked”, clean and intuitive way. The property of being minimal refers to the structure of the layout; but it is the main task of every simple design to keep its functionality and communicate the information it is supposed to present.

The content is the focal point of the Web page, whether that content is a showcase of photography, Web designs, or writing. The design provides little to no distraction.

Autumn Whitehurst Illustration
In this Web design, the use of a plain white background and de-emphasized text makes your eyes gravitate towards the artwork.

Autumn Whitehurst Illustration screen shot.87

Frieze Magazine88
When viewing this design, note where your eyes look first. Probably, you would have looked at either the large image or the “frieze” logo first.

Frieze Magazine screen shot.89

2. Whitespace is the king…

To make it easy for readers to scan and read the content, minimal designs usually need a lot of whitespace to breathe. In some cases whitespace dominates in the design, taking 60-70% of the whole layout space. In such designs whitespace, while remaining passive, strongly bundles user’s attention on very few site elements and thus effectively influences users’ perception of the overall design.

Rule of thumbs: the fewer elements you have and the more whitespace you have, the more attention will each element in your design get.

Cameron.io90 uses whitespace as the primary element. Notice how little space is used by content and how strongly your attention is focused on the navigation menu and the blog posts. Please also notice that very calm, neutral and subtle colors are used. screen shot.91

3. Typography is the queen

Typography is used to convey messages to the user. Larger, bold text draws the user’s attention to the intended area. Careful use of color, size and style of text is used in the design phase to underscore important elements and make others less prominent.

i love typography92
Notice how the large bold, centered logo on the page manages to grab your attention.

Rikcat Industries screen shot.93

This design directs the user’s focus straight to the “featured” content (in this case, the most recent article of the author). Notice how your focus bypasses the logo, even though it appears before the “featured” content; completely the opposite of i love typography’s design, which directs you to the logo/website name.

Astheria screen shot95

Corporate Risk Watch96

CRW screen shot97

4. Color palette consists of solid colors

The in-your-face, flashy, loud color schemes associated with Web 2.0 and vintage/retro design trends are avoided. Usually, designers pick one vibrant color and use it effectively to communicate the most important information presented on the site. Such elements are usually clickable; the number of these elements rarely exceeds 5-7.


Behance Screen shot.99


Alltop screen shot.101

5. Plain, solid white/gray or solid dark backgrounds are common

Solid backgrounds are effective especially when the content is vibrant and colorful (such as in design showcases). Plain colors doesn’t fight for users attention; instead, they support the readers and make it easy to actually scan the page when looking for the content. “Minimal” designg almost never have vibrant background images — patterns, textures and vivid colors are used very rarely.

kind company102
The thumbnail project images really stand out from the solid white background.

kind company screen shot.103

The Consult™104
The same concept applies to dark backgrounds.

The Consult™ - screen shot.105

6. A minimal number of colors

Many minimalist Web designs use only one to three colors, and page elements outside the content are often monochromatic. This again reduces distraction from the Web page content.

Rikcat Industries106
This design showcases a monochromatic color palette in the foreground.

Rikcat Industries screen shot.107

Cameron Moll108
In this design, page elements such as the logo, navigation bar and sidebar use different hues of gray.

Cameron Moll screen shot.109

7. Text-based logos instead of illustrative, iconic logos

Again, to uphold the concept of minimalism whereby you strip down the design to the bare, unadorned minimum, the logos of minimalist websites are plain and simple.

The Idiot Behind the Iron Mask110

The Idiot Behind the Iron Mask - screen shot.111

8. Clean right angles and lines in use

Very often clean right angles and lines are used instead of rounded and uneven edges. Rounded graphic elements, the main clichée of Web 2.0, and the uneven edges seen in grunge style are avoided in minimalist Web designs.

Monty Lounge112

Monty screen shot113


Buffalo screen shot.115

Antonio Carusone116

Antonio Carusone screen shot117


SIGMA6 screen shot.119

9. Minimal ? white, gray and black colors

White/black (or dark gray) is the typical color scheme of minimalist Web designs, but others use different colors to achieve the same goals.

Soulellis Studio120

Soulellis Studio screen shot.121


Emigre screen shot.123

10. Use of vibrant, colorful images

The use of colorful, bold images can enrich the visual impact of the design by providing a stark contrast to the muted, solid colors of the minimalist design elements.


Coptix screen shot125

11. Use of grid-based designs

Many minimalist designs use a grid-based layout126 to reflect the structured, right-angled, rigid nature of minimalism.

Jamie Gregory127

Jg screen shot.128



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Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions, a web publication for web developers and designers, and the Deputy Editor of Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers and digital artists. He has over seven years of experience as professional web developer and web designer and has written a book on JavaScript.

  1. 1

    you made my day :)
    i’m a minimalism addict ;)

    btw. FIRST! :)

  2. 2

    Wow. It’s amazing. Tks for sharing this.

  3. 3

    Minimalist design, great typography and smart grid design go hand in hand. Great examples here, cheers!

  4. 4

    I love seeing excellent examples of minimalism in design (and thanks for linking to one of my articles). It seems like it would be an easier style of design, but it’s probably more difficult to do well with minimalism than other styles of design.

  5. 5

    In my previous incarnation my web site was of very simple layout and entirely css based…. you make me think to back to this roots!

    Nice article!

  6. 6

    Thank you so much for featuring my portfolio!

  7. 7

    Great collection!!!

  8. 8

    Fabulous collection. This style speaks to me, and all these sites stand out in an over cluttered and under-grid(ed) web design culture. Simplify, simplify, simplify! Thoreau had it right, and so do these sites. Thanks for sharing!

  9. 9

    Minimalism doesn’t guarantee great design, but minimal designs have a much better chance of being great (i.e., visually pleasing and effective). Minimalist design is oriented to the user/reader, and is the exact opposite of the “Look-what-I-learned-in-Photoshop-class-today” mentality you see so often today. THANK YOU for this wonderfully refreshing look at minimal design.

  10. 10
  11. 11

    The animation on the ab+c site (featured in the article) is top-shelf.

  12. 12

    You guys should feature my site in the next round (I wish I was found in this round), because I think I embody most of those qualities. I absolutely LOVE minimalism and I think it is paramount for blogs, because those should be ALL ABOUT the content, the words, which is usually a reason to turn to the minimalist style as you all have outlined in this article. Some sites, as mentioned above, should not focus on minimalism because it does not work with their sites well. Portfolio sites or promotional sites usually require heavy graphics and showcasing details of their work, minimalism does the opposite. Either way, minimalism is amazing and should be utilized more in the web, especially in the blogging world!

  13. 13

    Hey guys I’m the UX Manager at Coptix. Thanks for the nod, it’s quite an honor.

  14. 14

    Great for inspiration! Thanks Smashing!

  15. 15

    Do you want minimalist and clean designs check this website

  16. 16

    It would have been great if you posted the screenshots of these websites instead of partial graphics! Anyway, nice post, and a great collection. I wonder how you guys find such impressive and interesting sites throughout the year!

  17. 17

    What a nice collection and some nice tips to build a nice minimalistic design. I’m not the greatest designer, I’m more of a developer, so these topics help me build my skills in website interface design.
    Keep these coming, they are great.

  18. 18

    Thanks for the great selection. I’m featuring some of the work in my web design class in Bangladesh.

  19. 19

    Nice collection of some amazing sites here. I really like the write-up at the end that pulls out some common features.

    I think my site uses many of these principles too:

    What do you think?

  20. 20

    thank u

  21. 21

    You gotta mention Khoi Vinh’s site, Subtraction when you’re talking about minimialist!

  22. 22

    Great post! I am a minimalist so I thank you for this showcase

  23. 23

    Nice roundup.

  24. 24

    Minimalism is difficult to pull off. It’s great to see this roundup of sites by designers that know what they’re doing with minimal elements.

  25. 25

    I love minimalistic design. After the glowy “web 2.0″-style and the already not so new trend: “grunge”, I would say: minimalistic design is the new shit. Keep it simple and focus on the content.

  26. 26

    who cares if your first or not?its not a contest..

    great post SM,I love topics about typography..

  27. 27

    Nice selection! Maybe you’ll like to check this one also : aSeed

  28. 28

    You people save my life on a regular basis :-)

  29. 29

    I could see “Mutum Sigillum” website in this list.
    Great post, great typography and color tones…

  30. 30

    I too love minimalist design on the web.
    And this is an outstanding collection, well done.

    Just to add my two cents, came across a nice photo site that embraces minimalist principles allowing the user to focus on the pictures and not the website.

  31. 31

    Sorry… but this is not the real world.
    These design are beautiful, but are design relative mode, design or art environment.. or this kind of design is acceptable. Now let’s back to the real world where clients from small companies or industries pay to us. I doubt who have an internet agency can do this with all your clients. Don’t get wrong.. i love clean design… but in the real world.. things are different.

  32. 32

    I love the minimalism. Great collection.

  33. 33

    Hey, really nice designs!
    My website would also have fit in this showcase :)
    Great collection!

  34. 34

    Thank you for featuring my web site. <3

  35. 35

    Great post! Along the same lines is

  36. 36

    lovely <—minimalist

  37. 37

    I also like Link []

  38. 38

    Michael [Boicozine]

    November 18, 2008 3:32 am

    Awesome Post. Thank you.

  39. 39

    This showcase is absolutely wonderful !
    Thanx a lot.

  40. 40

    Great post and great examples of some well structured, well designed and clean sites… excellent

  41. 41

    great article and examples

  42. 42

    great article and examples ;-)

  43. 43

    A great collection, thanks guys.

  44. 44

    Thanks for the great article. There are some fantastic examples included, which will definitely come in handy for inspiration.

  45. 45

    Wow, great article. I love simple designs.

    May you like our church homepage

  46. 46

    Go check my own website, it’s quite clean and minimalistic also!

  47. 47

    Simplicity is not the goal.
    It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expetations.

    Paul Rand.

  48. 48


    I have to semi-agree, while all these designs are great for their purpose, they only really fit with portfolios.

    I love minimal designs, but 90% of the time I don’t get to do them – simply because the client is spending a lot of money with me, and they don’t really feel they are getting what they paid for if the design is minimal.

    Often my best designs are minimal, and I spend the most time on them. It’s a shame to watch them dissappear.

    But great list of inspiration anyway, the more sites like these are about, the more the my statement becomes a thing of the past. One day the average client will be able to look past all the fluff and be happy with a clean and simple design.

  49. 49

    It’s easy being minimal, the hard part is making it look good and striking! :) I found 50% of designs showcased not quite interesting, and the other half just awesome and so interesting I would like to see designers move that way more. There is more to minimalism than just making a white background and some big typography heading in a sans-serif font.

    And I have to agree with the guy above…it’s hard to sell minimal… :) Most clients don’t see the work behind it. They just want shiny buttons haha :)

    Very good article!

  50. 50

    Wow! Thanks!

  51. 51

    I agree with Zhille, I also found many non-interesting and if I came across these sites I would still hit the back button. There is no reason why a site cannot be striking yet minimalist.

    I have observed over the last two years designs taking backward steps to simpler times but the backward steps are using lessons learnt over the years so are cleaner, smarter and much more useable.

    Far too many designers clutter pages way beyond the point of being able to use them so I hope this rubs off on a few :-)

  52. 52

    Great list, how am I going to get any work done today?!

  53. 53

    Thanks for the nod.


  54. 54

    Appreciate the plug!

  55. 55

    Great List thanks! Awesome to see Hillman Curtis on there

  56. 56

    Great article! If you do a second round consider my site, i think it embodies many of the principals outlined above:


  57. 57

    Use SVG instead of raster and you can minimize your filesize too :-)

  58. 58 blows. It looks like something you learn in HTML 101.

    Seriously, if I’m looking for someone to do web design, I’m not choosing someone whose site is 3 colors. Bad ones at that.

  59. 59

    thanks for the link, love the quality content you always provide

  60. 60

    Thanks for the showcase, it was very complete ! I dugg it.

  61. 61

    This is a great collection of nicely designed sites, but I would hardly call a lot of these designs minimalist. Quite a few use more than the barest essentials to get their point across. I think the word minimalism gets thrown around a lot to mean any website that isn’t grungy or something, but use of the term is pretty subjective.

  62. 62

    Great List!! love the diesel one! i’m a huge fan of large image sites! (hence the current style of my own…)

  63. 63

    I agree with you Chris!

  64. 64

    a nice collection and good reminder to keep things simple and get back to the core of good design. some of my favorites…

  65. 65

    Thanks for the link!

  66. 66

    Thanks for the link guys.


  67. 67

    I love the clean/minimalistic design! Especially!

  68. 68

    Great work. Some are truly inspiring.

  69. 69

    Top notch!

  70. 70

    I won’t be saying anything different than those above. Excellent list! Thank you for taking the time to compile.

    And thanks, Brooke, for adding our firm, Pinch. A Design Office. We subscribe to the same principles as most of these sites and will continue to root them on. Simple is better.


  71. 71

    That was a superb piece of work. I will find some way of fitting it into my teaching. I also know your website and highly rate it. Cheers


  72. 72

    Anyone see a similarity between This and Khoi Vinh’s site?

    Kind of shameless, me thinks.

  73. 73

    To use the newly coined dictionary word “meh”.. none of those sites is all that inspired and there are too many to focus on.. terrible post.

  74. 74

    Great list, as usual !
    Maybe you’ll the website of my web agency : Tilt Studio

  75. 75

    great list!

  76. 76

    Always a lot of inspiration in here…Thank you.

  77. 77


  78. 78

    Josh of Cubicle Ninjas

    November 18, 2008 8:00 pm

    Beautiful examples. It is strangely hard to nail simple!

  79. 79

    I love this post! I especially love minimalist designs whether it is web or print! THANKS

  80. 80

    Alejandro Urrutia Daglio

    November 19, 2008 12:33 am

    Excellent collection of sites.
    kudos for designers!

  81. 81

    Excellent collection!
    Also, check this:

  82. 82

    Wow. I’m over the moon. Thanks for including my little site amongst such great examples…I couldn’t be more pleased at featuring on Smashing Magazine.


  83. 83

    Yes, I definitely agree. The more you make your design simple..the better way to convey the message–this is practically important most especially in business.

  84. 84

    Great collection. Always tough to create a minimalist design which works.

    Although I don’t agree with all your selections, I still think there are some goodies in there.

    From the Couch

  85. 85

    Nice article and thanks for the link. All good considering when we first launched our site we came in for a load of criticism.

  86. 86

    Yeah, beautiful collection. Love minimalist designs…

  87. 87

    Some of these design are not minimalistic in a strict sense. But I find them really beautiful, for example, Clandrei, and even more than the more strict minimalistic design.
    LOL my website clearly doesn’t qualify for minimalistic :P

  88. 88


  89. 89

    I like minimalist designs but I have to say that you have some examples that are not that impressive… but there are some really nice ones.

  90. 90

    The images don’t seem to be working, or is that just me?

  91. 91

    for some reason the screenshot were not be displayed te me… (hope grammar is ok)

  92. 92

    MAJOR snorefest.. a couple good ones, but not many.. most lack originality and any true creativity.. nothing here really blew my mind.. there was no ‘man I wish I had done that’ moment, and that’s how I judge design. overall the list is too scattered and lacks homogeny thus it is boring.

  93. 93

    Great list check this one out too:

  94. 94

    Best article i ve ever read!

  95. 95

    Thanks for the round up. The tip about typographic logos inspired me to go the minimalist route for my blog’s logo. Great idea.

    Digital Alex

  96. 96

    Nice article. Thank you for sharing this!!

  97. 97

    Nice examples!

    For minimal treatment of longer texts, see Stories & Novels. Note the stylesheet for some time-saving CSS techniques for indenting, spacing and other typographic elements which can make long chunks of text—like essays, stories or even novels—more legible.

  98. 98

    Awesome ! Most difficult to design is something minimalistic ! COOL ! M LOVING THIS ! TKS for sharing…….

  99. 99

    Great examples! It should be mentioned though that with minimalism comes scrutiny. IOW,the fewer the elements that are presented the more important it is to consider heirarchy, proportion, negative space, color, typography, etc.

    It’s like using all CAPs…they’re only effective when used sparingly and with restraint.

  100. 100

    Thank you so much for including Sitening in the post. I am so honored to have one of my designs featured with so many great and inspiring sites!

    Shelly Dennison

  101. 101

    Hi. Good site.

  102. 102 is recently redesigned. Check it out.

  103. 103

    INTERFACEBÜRO ist pretty minimalist too i think …

  104. 104

    There is a typo here –> Minimal” designg almost never have vibrant background images — patterns, textures and vivid colors are used very rarely.
    design not designg. Please check

  105. 105

    This web portfolio is kind of nice. The music adds something to the overall atmosphere, is is a loop or is it by an artist?

  106. 106

    Thank’s for the list.


  107. 107

    Excellent analysis, white space, palette, etc..
    Thx for sharing all this great site designs!

  108. 108

    Nice article. I redesigned my blog ( implementing some ideas of the minimalist web design. Minimalism gives beauty and rationality for the websites.

  109. 109
  110. 110

    I’d like to propose this:
    It’s a site ABOUT minimalism!

  111. 111

    If you are like SlimBeam, and into sites ABOUT minimalism, then also check out

    The site itself is also very minimalist!

  112. 112

    great stuff! I can never get enough of these showcases of minimal webdesign. I also recently redesigned my office website and it feels much better without all the clutter.

  113. 113

    They are all gorgeous. I created a minimalist design for my arcade site , hope you like it.

  114. 114

    thanks a lot!!

    i grow up with this kind of education u give
    and my little minimal son is



  115. 115

    Good compilation!

    Here’s another clean design:

    I hope you’d like it.

  116. 116
  117. 117

    I’m looking for your magazine. I wanted to thumb through it. I like some of the pictures – but I’m web distrustful. I value my privicy more then your information. I cant find either the price or how many issues are sent each year. Mostly what I’m looking for right now are blue prints or enough pictures to get a good idea of what the houses landscape is. I’m designing my own home. I was hoping to see well done bathrooms and kitchens designed as minimalist projects. I don’t own or want a printer. What I want is a magazine that can be stored in my personal library not a web page.

  118. 118

    Love clean / minimal design and these will keep my eye twitching for a while. Thanks guys.

  119. 119

    great collection.

    > we love minimal design. less is more.
    check out: <

  120. 120

    great list, thanks!


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