Going with a minimalist design for your new website is a great way to simplify your design project and focus on your message or content. However, you still need to have the design savvy to build a great minimalist site or your site could end up looking very plain and boring.
Here are some minimalist concepts that can help you design your website like a pro:
1. Use Lots of Negative Space.
The big idea behind minimalist designs is to take away all the clutter like the widgets, banners, sidebar navigation menus and flashy graphics to help the user focus on the message and content. Using lots of negative space is what helps you do that. Obviously, you’ll have a lot of negative space outside the borders of your main content table. But you also want to use negative space between your words, paragraphs and images. Doing this allows each block of content and each image to be really seen and appreciated by the user.
2. Use Large and Vivid Images.
Hero images are one of the most used elements in minimalist sites. They make a big statement and support your opening headline. They draw the eyes, add context and help set the tone for the rest of your site. Your photo image should be large and detailed but will need to be optimized for load times. While you may want to use the highest resolution image possible, you have to avoid doing so because it will have a negative impact on mobile device users. Even if you have a fast web hosting service, you have to account for load speeds on the user end.
3. Use Bold and Unique Typography.
Typography has been making big waves over the last few years. Using the right typography can really help you create a unique presentation, support your brand image and increase readability. The fact of the matter is that all users will end up reading your content. Great typography will do a better job in engaging users than average typography. It will immerse them into your content or message and make them want to discover everything else that your visual presentation has to offer.
4. Aim to Create Contrast.
Make your site too simple can make your site feel and look plain and boring. If you want to make your design stand out, you need to create contrast. Start by creating contrast with your colors. Don’t overuse colors that complement each other as it can meld into common color schemes. Then, use graphical cues, interesting icons and patterns that add something special to your presentation. Play around with your layouts and try blending your content in with your images in unique ways to draw the eyes.
5. Design a Simple Navigation Menu.
While all minimalist designed websites have something unique going on about them, the one common thread that you’ll identify is the simple navigation. They don’t use multiple navigation menus, tons of category pages or nested menus. The navigation on these sites is very straightforward and intuitive. It’s either one horizontal menu on the top of the fold or a hamburger drop down menu that helps you go from page to page. Don’t overthink the navigation. Keep in simple. Using the right type will also carry the design of the menu.
6. Use Design Styles that Complement Minimalism.
Animation, sketch and flat designs are all design styles that complement minimalist designs. Animation and sketch designs do a great job in adding personality, emotions and engagement to a simple site. Despite what you think, it can suit many different industries. It’s been used in finance, tech, health and consumer products just to name a few. Flat designs are also in trend as well. Companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft have been using flat design in their web designs and app interfaces because of the sheer simplicity and user-friendly presentation. They’ve done the research to prove the effectiveness of the style.
7. Create a Visual Hierarchy.
A big part of minimalist design is about capturing attention. You want to grab the attention of the user and guide him where you want him to go. To capture and keep that attention, you need to establish a visual hierarchy. This is simply a way of organizing your images and content to influence the flow of the user’s navigation path. Using sizes and colors do a great job in doing this. A larger image will capture more attention than a smaller image. A red color will stand out on a site that’s primarily black and white. You can also use the layout and spacing to emphasis the parts of your page you want to be seen the most. All of these executions can be tied together by visual cues for logical and seamless transitions.
By using these minimalist design ideas, you’ll increase your chances of creating a well-designed website. You won’t be scrambled trying to come up with the right setup and won’t waste time going back and forth between different layouts. You’ll go from finishing your web hosting configurations to launching a new site within a couple of days, not weeks.