Menu Search
Jump to the content X

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 Link

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 Link

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… Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link


Footnotes Link

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 26
  27. 27
  28. 28
  29. 29
  30. 30
  31. 31
  32. 32
  33. 33
  34. 34
  35. 35
  36. 36
  37. 37
  38. 38
  39. 39
  40. 40
  41. 41
  42. 42
  43. 43
  44. 44
  45. 45
  46. 46
  47. 47
  48. 48
  49. 49
  50. 50
  51. 51
  52. 52
  53. 53
  54. 54
  55. 55
  56. 56
  57. 57
  58. 58
  59. 59
  60. 60
  61. 61
  62. 62
  63. 63
  64. 64
  65. 65
  66. 66
  67. 67
  68. 68
  69. 69
  70. 70
  71. 71
  72. 72
  73. 73
  74. 74
  75. 75
  76. 76
  77. 77
  78. 78
  79. 79
  80. 80
  81. 81
  82. 82
  83. 83
  84. 84
  85. 85
  86. 86
  87. 87
  88. 88
  89. 89
  90. 90
  91. 91
  92. 92
  93. 93
  94. 94
  95. 95
  96. 96
  97. 97
  98. 98
  99. 99
  100. 100
  101. 101
  102. 102
  103. 103
  104. 104
  105. 105
  106. 106
  107. 107
  108. 108
  109. 109
  110. 110
  111. 111
  112. 112
  113. 113
  114. 114
  115. 115
  116. 116
  117. 117
  118. 118
  119. 119
  120. 120
  121. 121
  122. 122
  123. 123
  124. 124
  125. 125
  126. 126
  127. 127
  128. 128
  129. 129
  130. 130
  131. 131
  132. 132
  133. 133
  134. 134
  135. 135

↑ Back to top Tweet itShare on Facebook

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.


↑ Back to top