Showcase Of Clean And Minimalist Designs

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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

HUGE6

HUGE screen shot.7

Markenpersonal.de8

Screenshot9

Rodrigo Galindez10

Screenshot11

BrynnShepherd.com12

BrynnShepherd.com screen shot.13

SpiekermannPartners14

SpiekermannPartners screen shot15

MaximNew16

MaximNew screen shot.17

Muller18

Muller screen shot.19

FLOWmarket20

FLOWmarket screen shot.21

Rbg6.se22

Screenshot23

80/2024

80/20 screen shot.25

Minus.dk26

GG screen shot.27

Cubic28

Cubic screen shot.29

Vitor Lourenco30

Vitor Lourenco screen shot31

Deep.co.uk32

Screenshot33

fellswoop34

Screenshot35

3rings36

3rings screen shot.37

AIGA New York38

AIGA New York screen shot.39

Kalle Gustafsson40

Kalle Gustafsson41

Clagnut42

Clagnut screen shot.43

BetterInteractive.com44

Screenshot45

Concentric-Studio.com46

Screenshot47

Clandrei.de48

FLOWmarket screen shot.49

Ab-c.com.au50

Screenshot51

Forgetfoo52

Screenshot53

MAYØ54

MAYØ screen shot55

Berit Sømme56

Berit Sømme screen shot57

Poccuo58

Poccuo screen shot.59

SMeltery60

SMeltery screen shot.61

kraaft62

kraaft screen shot.63

Hermes.com64

Hermes.com screen shot.65

Sitening66

Sitening screen shot.67

bora aksu68

bora aksu screen shot.69

hillmancurtis70

hillmancurtis screen shot.71

BuuHouse Interactive72

BuuHouse Interactive screen shot.73

Theme74

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

Screenshot83

Lovecreative.com84

Screenshot85

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
86
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.

Cameron.io 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

Astheria94
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.

Behance98

Behance Screen shot.99

Alltop100

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

Builtbybuffalo.com114

Buffalo screen shot.115

Antonio Carusone116

Antonio Carusone screen shot117

SIGMA6118

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

Emigre122

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.

Coptix124

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

Resources

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Judd
  2. 2 http://www.haberarts.com/andre.htm
  3. 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Morris_(artist)
  4. 4 http://www.janreichle.com/
  5. 5 http://www.janreichle.com/
  6. 6 http://www.hugeinc.com/
  7. 7 http://www.hugeinc.com/
  8. 8 http://www.markenpersonal.de/index_pop.html
  9. 9 http://www.markenpersonal.de/index_pop.html
  10. 10 http://www.rodrigogalindez.com/
  11. 11 http://www.rodrigogalindez.com/
  12. 12 http://brynnshepherd.com/
  13. 13 http://brynnshepherd.com/
  14. 14 http://spiekermannpartners.com/
  15. 15 http://spiekermannpartners.com/
  16. 16 http://www.maximfma.com/
  17. 17 http://www.maximfma.com/
  18. 18 http://www.hellomuller.com/
  19. 19 http://www.hellomuller.com/
  20. 20 http://theflowmarket.com/
  21. 21 http://theflowmarket.com/
  22. 22 http://www.rbg6.se/
  23. 23 http://www.rbg6.se/
  24. 24 http://www.8020studio.com/
  25. 25 http://www.8020studio.com/
  26. 26 http://www.minus.dk/
  27. 27 http://www.minus.dk/
  28. 28 http://www.cubicstudio.co.uk/
  29. 29 http://www.cubicstudio.co.uk/
  30. 30 http://www.vlourenco.com/
  31. 31 http://www.vlourenco.com/
  32. 32 http://www.deep.co.uk/
  33. 33 http://www.deep.co.uk/
  34. 34 http://www.fellswoop.com/index.html
  35. 35 http://www.fellswoop.com/index.html
  36. 36 http://3rings.designerpages.com/
  37. 37 http://3rings.designerpages.com/
  38. 38 http://www.aigany.org/
  39. 39 http://www.aigany.org/
  40. 40 http://www.kallegustafsson.com/
  41. 41 http://www.kallegustafsson.com/
  42. 42 http://clagnut.com/
  43. 43 http://clagnut.com/
  44. 44 http://www.betterinteractive.com/
  45. 45 http://www.betterinteractive.com/
  46. 46 http://concentric-studio.com/work/
  47. 47 http://concentric-studio.com/work/
  48. 48 http://clandrei.de/
  49. 49 http://clandrei.de/
  50. 50 http://www.ab-c.com.au/
  51. 51 http://www.ab-c.com.au/
  52. 52 http://www.forgetfoo.com/
  53. 53 http://www.forgetfoo.com/
  54. 54 http://www.jasonmayo.co.uk/
  55. 55 http://www.jasonmayo.co.uk/
  56. 56 http://www.somme.no/
  57. 57 http://www.somme.no/
  58. 58 http://www.poccuo.com/
  59. 59 http://www.poccuo.com/
  60. 60 http://www.smeltery.net/
  61. 61 http://www.smeltery.net/
  62. 62 http://www.kraaft.com/
  63. 63 http://www.kraaft.com/
  64. 64 http://www.hermes.com/
  65. 65 http://www.hermes.com/
  66. 66 http://sitening.com/
  67. 67 http://sitening.com/
  68. 68 http://www.boraaksu.com/
  69. 69 http://www.boraaksu.com/
  70. 70 http://www.hillmancurtis.com/
  71. 71 http://www.hillmancurtis.com/
  72. 72 http://www.buuhouse.com/
  73. 73 http://www.buuhouse.com/
  74. 74 http://www.thememagazine.com/
  75. 75 http://www.thememagazine.com/
  76. 76 http://www.designme.sk/
  77. 77 http://www.designme.sk/
  78. 78 http://www.markwieman.com/
  79. 79 http://www.markwieman.com/
  80. 80 http://www.rogierbikker.com/
  81. 81 http://www.rogierbikker.com/
  82. 82 http://blog.razvanstavila.com/
  83. 83 http://blog.razvanstavila.com/
  84. 84 http://www.lovecreative.com/
  85. 85 http://www.lovecreative.com/
  86. 86 http://www.art-dept.com/illustration/whitehurst/
  87. 87 http://www.art-dept.com/illustration/whitehurst/
  88. 88 http://www.frieze.com/magazine/
  89. 89 http://www.frieze.com/magazine/
  90. 90 http://cameron.io/
  91. 91 http://cameron.io/
  92. 92 http://ilovetypography.com/contents
  93. 93 http://ilovetypography.com/contents
  94. 94 http://astheria.com/
  95. 95 http://astheria.com/
  96. 96 http://www.corporateriskwatch.com/
  97. 97 http://www.corporateriskwatch.com/
  98. 98 http://www.behance.com/
  99. 99 http://www.behance.com/
  100. 100 http://alltop.com/
  101. 101 http://alltop.com/
  102. 102 http://www.kindcompany.com/
  103. 103 http://www.kindcompany.com/
  104. 104 http://theconsult.com/prc.html
  105. 105 http://theconsult.com/prc.html
  106. 106 http://www.rikcatindustries.com/work/
  107. 107 http://www.rikcatindustries.com/work/
  108. 108 http://www.cameronmoll.com/about/
  109. 109 http://www.cameronmoll.com/about/
  110. 110 http://www.wanzafran.com/
  111. 111 http://www.wanzafran.com/
  112. 112 http://www.montylounge.com/
  113. 113 http://www.montylounge.com/
  114. 114 http://builtbybuffalo.com/
  115. 115 http://builtbybuffalo.com/
  116. 116 http://www.yearofthesheep.com/
  117. 117 http://www.yearofthesheep.com/
  118. 118 http://www.sigma6.ch/
  119. 119 http://www.sigma6.ch/
  120. 120 http://www.soulellis.com/
  121. 121 http://www.soulellis.com/
  122. 122 http://emigre.com/EOther.php
  123. 123 http://emigre.com/EOther.php
  124. 124 http://coptix.com/
  125. 125 http://coptix.com/
  126. 126 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/04/14/designing-with-grid-based-approach/
  127. 127 http://www.jamiegregory.co.uk/
  128. 128 http://www.jamiegregory.co.uk/
  129. 129 http://rainfall-daffinson.com/minimalism/
  130. 130 http://rainfall-daffinson.com/fashion-web-design/minimalist.html
  131. 131 http://www.emilychang.com/go/weblog/comments/design-20-minimalism-transparency-and-you/
  132. 132 http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/design/how-to-make-minimalistic-design/
  133. 133 http://webdesignledger.com/inspiration/is-minimalistic-design-more-effective
  134. 134 http://tomayko.com/writings/administrative-debris
  135. 135 http://www.minimalsites.com/

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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.

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  1. 1

    Hi. Good site.

    0
  2. 102

    http://www.minimalsites.com is recently redesigned. Check it out.

    0
  3. 203

    INTERFACEBÜRO ist pretty minimalist too i think …

    -1
  4. 304

    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

    0
  5. 405

    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?

    0
  6. 506

    Thank’s for the list.

    Mickael

    0
  7. 607

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

    0
  8. 708

    Nice article. I redesigned my blog (http://wl.blog.br) implementing some ideas of the minimalist web design. Minimalism gives beauty and rationality for the websites.

    0
  9. 809
  10. 910

    I’d like to propose this: http://www.minimalismi.com
    It’s a site ABOUT minimalism!

    0
  11. 1011

    If you are like SlimBeam, and into sites ABOUT minimalism, then also check out http://minimalissimo.com.

    The site itself is also very minimalist!

    0
  12. 1112

    great stuff! I can never get enough of these showcases of minimal webdesign. I also recently redesigned my office website http://www.das-labor.net and it feels much better without all the clutter.

    0
  13. 1213

    They are all gorgeous. I created a minimalist design for my arcade site http://www.juegos.gs , hope you like it.

    0
  14. 1314

    thanks a lot!!

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

    ;)

    chau

    0
  15. 1415

    Good compilation!

    Here’s another clean design:

    http://www.vidasencilla.es/

    I hope you’d like it.

    0
  16. 1516
  17. 1617

    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.

    0
  18. 1718

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

    0
  19. 1819

    great collection.

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

    0
  20. 1920

    great list, thanks!

    0

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