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Understanding Minimalist Website Design

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An example of minimalist website design

When setting out to create a new website, you have to consider the design style that makes the most sense. Is it for a small business, a band, a non-profit, a special event or something else? Who do you expect to visit your website, and what appeals to them? What types of content will you have, and what message do you want to convey? These are all important questions that will help inform the design style that you choose for your site.

This is the first post of a new series where we’ll take a closer look at different website design styles. So without further adieu, let’s dive into understanding this particular style so you can learn how to design a minimalist website.

Defining Minimalist Design

Minimal art in general is about reducing an expression to its minimum form, placing the focus only on the most important aspects that you’re looking to communicate. The same principle applies to web design. The purpose of a minimalist design is to strip the clutter away from an idea, while presenting the core content and ideas with simple elegance.

Snapshot of a minimalist website design

Elements of Minimalist Website Design

There are a broad number of design elements and practices that you can use to design a website. But the most core elements in minimalist design can be summarized through considering typography, negative space, and color.

Typography

Light but stylish, sans-serif fonts are the most widely used fonts in minimalist website design. A whole design movement was actually born around the idea and use of clean fonts: the Swiss Style (also known as the International Typographic Style). Paul Rand, the graphic designer made famous by his logos for companies like IBM, UPS, ABC or NeXT, was one of the pioneers of this movement.

Typography used to keep a consistent minimalist design

So in simple, unadorned type, the available factors become more relevant, like size, color, kerning, or formatting styles. It’s important to use them wisely and consistently.  It’s also a good idea to keep the number of different fonts used to a minimum, or else the variance will create a visual distraction. In Breezi there are over 500 fonts to choose from, so there are many options to consider.

Negative Space

White space, also known as “negative space”, is actually one of the most fundamental elements in minimalist website design. It relates to the blank space between elements that lets your content breathe. And these elements can be letters, words, lines of text, images, videos, etc.

Example of using negative space to highlight content

The proper use of negative space puts the right emphases on your content within the layout, without cluttering the page or causing the visitor to lose focus.

Colors

As for colors, white and grayscale tones are usually most associated with minimalist website design. So you’ll commonly find minimalist designs with predominantly solid white backgrounds with black or gray text. But you are not bound to this color pallet in order to still achieve a minimalist look and feel. There are lots of color choices out there, and often the use of one or two accent colors (i.e. for specific highlighted elements like links, calls to action, buttons, etc.) can subtly bring an otherwise monochromatic website design to life.

The one thing to keep an eye for, though, just like in typography, is in limiting the number of different colors in use. Colors should be selected for a specific reason, not just because they look nice to you.

This limitation in the use of anything that doesn’t serve a particular purpose – like gradients, shadows, effects and cluttering details – will create a level of restraint. But the isolation, just like negative space, will highlight the content you want the focus on first and foremost.

Example of an accent color to highlight an area

See Minimalist Website Design In Action

We’ll show you an example of how to design a minimalist website, from start to finish, to inspire your creativity around this popular design style!


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