There’s a lot to think about when you’re creating a new website for your business. Search engine optimization, choosing the right ways to capture leads and implement a CMS, how much information to display and where - choosing the right design aesthetic is one way to help bring all those pieces together. In recent years, one design trend has emerged as one of the most popular: minimalism. Though minimalism is popular, it may not be right for everyone. Here are some pros and cons to consider, as well as some questions to consider to figure out if a minimalistic design is right for you.

What is Minimalism in Web Design?

For at least the last 10 years, minimalism has been listed as one of the top web design trends. For anyone who experienced the websites of the early 90s and 2000s, this makes sense - flash animations, pages cluttered with information and slow-loading images, multiple colors and fonts once reigned supreme, but since that time a new design sensibility has developed. Other than looking more modern and intentionally designed, minimalism allows for “fewer elements and content on a website...If a website is designed in the right way, it will show the user exactly what she is looking for.”

Some of the hallmarks of minimalist design include:

  • Negative space
  • Limited color schemes
  • Dramatic typography
  • Contrast
  • Simplified navigation

“Minimalism will continue to dominate the digital landscape in 2019. Animations and fade-in effects that make scrolling more engaging will give web pages freedom to space out their content and thus result in more whitespace, contrast and clear typography without too many distracting elements.” - Lennart de Ridder, 99Designs

google homepageThe ultimate in minimalism

Pros of Minimalist Web Design

One of the most significant benefits of minimalistic design on your website is your ability to guide visitors exactly where you want them to go. An over-cluttered website page can be confusing, and instead of funneling visitors to valuable information and resources (or to conversion points), they’re left to try to navigate too much content and stimulus themselves. Strategically placing images and written content, while still leaving plenty of negative space throughout the page makes it clear what’s most important on the page. Add in carefully selected colors, and you’re well on your way to connecting with your audience and converting some leads.

Besides user experience, there are some logistical benefits to a more pared down design. These types of sites tend to be more SEO friendly (easier for search engines to crawl), and have faster loading times (which can be a critical way to keep visitors from immediately bouncing from your site). Sites like Google, Apple, and AirBnb all use minimalistic design to great effect, guiding users where they need to go, while still having enough of a design element that they’re memorable.

apple homepage

Product and action focused

Cons of Minimalist Web Design

Like all design decisions, by choosing a minimalistic route you may lose out on some of the options that a more content or design-heavy website might present. By only displaying information in a highly curated way, some visitors may struggle to find what they need. Additionally, some designs can feel sparse and empty instead of uncluttered and clean. Without a clear plan for how to continue to develop and expand, some minimalistic designs can be limiting as a business grows, creating a situation down the line where a company must either try to work within the constraints of the design, or invest in creating a new website that better suits their growing needs.

airbnb homepage Image focused, no extra information

Is it Right for Your Business?

Ultimately, knowing your specific business and the norms of your industry is the place to start when deciding if minimalism will work for your website. Highly visual, creative industry? Minimalism will likely be an easy fit. More content heavy or traditional? It may be more of a challenge (although not impossible!) to convey everything you need on a website with a minimalistic design. Our team of designers, content specialists, and web developers have experience in creating unique designs for a wide variety of businesses. If you’re ready for a new website design or redesign, we’ll get to know you, your business, and design a site that will help to meet your goals. Let’s start the conversation.

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Alex Bair

Written by Alex Bair More by this author Arrow