Minimalist design gets a lot of hype; a quick Google search will yield dozens of lists boasting outstanding examples of minimalist design. But what criteria do those lists use? Is minimalist design subjective? Is it simply a design without a lot of elements? Is it easy to create a minimalist design?
The fact is, there’s more to good minimalist design than meets the eye; great minimalist design can take more time, effort and skill than more traditional designs. The best minimalist designers painstakingly ply their craft to ensure their designs have purpose, and most minimalist designs incorporate the following 10 rules of minimalist designs.
White space is paramount
White space is key to a great minimalist design because the absence of clutter helps viewers focus on the content.
Every graphic, image, and content element should have a clearly defined purpose. It’s important to understand the goal of your design before you create it, so you can ensure that only those elements that serve your end-goal survive.
Cut until it breaks
Never settle on your first draft; instead, cut elements one-by-one until your design no longer meets its goal. Remember that minimalist designs uses the fewest elements possible to achieve its goal.
The usability factor
Your minimalist design should feature a layout that makes it easy for users to find the information they want at a glance.
Designing to a grid isn’t absolutely necessary, but it makes for a clean, natural layout that’s easy to follow; and it also makes crafting a minimalist design all the easier.
Color for impact
Accordingly, minimalist design incorporates minimal use of color. Colors should be used to draw attention to specific words or design elements, either to help convey a mood or motivate a response.
Content is king
One of my friends is an incredible drummer, but when he plays with his band he does little more than keep time. When I asked him why, he said the role of the drummer is to make the rest of the band sound better, not to show off. Minimalist design works the same way; its role is to make the content more appealing, rather than steal the show.
Less is more
The less text and fewer design elements you need, the more impact your minimalist design will have. A more focused design motivates greater response.
Typography tells a story
Big, bold typography is a hallmark of minimalist design. Font choice, positioning, color, textures, and other features work together to stir emotions, brand a company and motivate response. Your typography tells the story of your design, both textually and visually.
These rules are not absolute, but rather guidelines to get you started. Don’t be afraid to take risks with your design. Doing so will undoubtedly reveal cool new ways to craft a compelling design that achieves its goal.