Why minimalist design is so stylish ! Understand minimalism


The secrets of minimalist design

Its all about minimalist design these days. From architecture, music and literature to web design the most prominent influence is bare minimalism. Almost every second creative person, even you may be influenced by minimalist design although you may not know it just yet.

Minimalism doesn’t mean less design; it means minimal design for greater impact. It is design minus the lavishness of eccentricity and intrinsic detail. In the age of the internet, minimalism has impacted simple website design. Minimalism is a progress of time from Michael Angelo to the minimalism of the 60’s in the likes of Donald Judd and Dan Flavin. There is no less creativity in minimalism. Minimalist design was an offshoot trend of the Bauhaus movement with artists preferring the less is better style in comparison to the art styles of the past that dwelled on patterns of too much decoration.


In web designing, minimalism reduces the clutter to a simple website design easily identifiable by viewers. The biggest problem of the earlier styles of high decoration and intensive patterns both in architecture, sculptor and art were the fact that the soul of the object was lost in a myriad of overwhelming artwork. It was then that minimalism stepped in, with the redefining question.

How much can art be stripped off its design yet still retain the essence and soul of the structure?

Every object, whether it is a building in architecture, a painting or furniture has a defining identity without which it lacks character. Minimalism seeks to strip all the filigree work to achieve the bare identity and character of an object for all to see

Minimalism isn’t just about keeping everything simple because if it were then there would be nothing to showcase, no design. So then what is Minimalism?

Minimalist design is simplification. It is a style of abstract art and sculpture predominant in the post world war 11 period of the 60”s which still influences art and design today. It simplifies form without changing the essence of an object. This is achieved with basic structure of shapes and singular palettes of monochromatic color.

Also termed colloquially as ABC art, minimalism depends on the basic anonymity of simple style and emphasizes on objectivity. Minimalism has also been term as reductivism, minimal art or rejective art. Minimalist design plays upon just the bare essentials to unleash true creativity. It is the predominant contemporary modern art and music influenced by simple rhythmic tones and patterns to achieve a distinct harmony.

Minimalist music is akin to trance where focusing on a new set of chords and tones creates a singular distinct harmony. Minimalism is the trance of art and design.

simple design vs minimalist design

Consider the above two images. They are a perfect comparison between simplicity and minimalism. In fact minimalism has been the predominant influence in all form of design, architecture and technology in the 20th century as you will see from these pictures. In fact contemporary artists have been so heavily influenced by minimalism that it evolved into a philosophy whereby minimalism sought to explain the Tao of the bare essentials. Thus minimalism became a way of life.

So how did minimalism happen? Was it invented? Where did it appear from?

The biggest false notion of minimalism is that it stemmed from the poverty of the period. During wars and prohibition, people looked to the bare essentials of life. But No!! This wasn’t the threshold that led to minimalist design.

On the contrary it was inspired by the notions of the rich and elite who wished for elegance and quality over quantity. In the period of the 60’s minimalism grew with the trends of hippy culture of less is beautiful, the growth of technology in architecture, films and even design which compacted ways and means to achieve creativity.

Minimalism didn’t come cheap. It was simple sophisticated and reflected the elegance of its minimalistic style.

The growth of minimalist design can be attributed to the 60s and 70’s. However the Japanese art forms of design and the Dutch De Stijl movement could well be said to have an influence over the birth of minimalism.

The De Stijl Dutch movement of minimalism

minimalist style

In Dutch De Stijl means ‘The Style”. It was also referred to as neoplasticism born as an art style in the Netherlands in 1917. However it lasted a few years only till 1931 perhaps due to the fact that the art world wasn’t quite ready for such a movement. This main factor coupled with the death of its founding father Theo Van Doesburg  marked the end if the De stijl movement. However this paved the way for the birth of minimalism and minimalist design


The De Stejil style as seen from the image consisted of minimalistic simple compositions emphasized by directional use of vertical and horizontal patterns. Only primary colors were use to highlight the designs with articulate uses of black and white.

Ludwig Miens van der Rohe the German hero of minimalism

Ludwig Miles van der Rohe was considered the father of modernistic architecture. Much of the skyline in major cities worldwide has been influenced by his philosophy of design.

Ludwig Van Der Rohe advocated the uses of:

  • Plate glass and steel in construction
  • Minimum usage of structured framework
  • Extensive use of open space
  • Quoted the motto “less is more”


Neo Minimalism

neo minimalism

No discussion of minimalist design can be complete without the mention of neo minimalistic designs of artists such as Dave Burdeny. Relying on simplistic geometrical design, it portrays more than De Stijl, but abides by the essence of minimalism by virtue of its simplicity in design and shapes and shades. The main focus of neo minimalism is the restriction of a variety of shades of one particular color rather than the quantity of shades. Contrast of color is      also widely used in neo minimalism.


Japanese traditions and ethnic design

minimalist house

As you can see from the image, Japanese traditions in architecture still keeps the ancient art forms of minimalistic design alive even today.

Let’s now take a look at the best examples of contemporary minimalist design

Quite a number of simple website design Fonts have been influenced by minimalist design. Fonts that reflect a minimalistic nature are devoid of ornamentation, they are crisp and to the point.


minimalist design

Helvetica was one font influenced by the minimalist design style of 1957. Helvetica was a revolution n technological calligraphy in contrast with the intensity of ornamentation of other fonts of the period.

Mr. Phone

minimalist design

As a design The ‘Mr. Phone’ font is limited by shape and vocabulary. Conceived I 1997 by the Glyphobet font foundry it isn’t extensively used but it certainly is a nice font to use even today.

Simple web design themes in templates and WordPress

minimalist design

Less: The use of simple web design is very pronounced in template designing where the internet is full of such designs. One theme noted for its minimalistic nature is “LESS”.

Less allows you to focus more on text highlighting the message of your theme rather than complicate the design with unnecessary images.

Photoshop designs from brush lovers

minimalist design

Brushlovers have produced a number of minimalistic designs using Photoshop. These are typical of the 80’s era graphics.


simple website design minimalist design

Craigslist reflects true minimalism in its simple website design. As a popular classified ad website, there is nothing of complicated visuals or themes and colors to distract the user form the true objective of the site. Craigslist reflects the contemporary objectives of minimalism in web design and that is functionality rather than fluff.

Google, true minimalism

minimalist design, simple website design

By far the best example of an authority on the net reflecting minimalist design is Google.  Its startup page is just a simple “Google’ with an icon symbolic of any trending event. Google’s start up features just the logo beneath with its search box and two search buttons


Contemporary modern Architecture

minimalist design

The Seagram’s building in Chicago is one of the best examples of contemporary minimalism architecture. The design was by none other than Ludwig Miles van der Rohe.

In conclusion, minimalism can have umpteen examples. Minimalist design is more of a creative mindset and will never have restrictions on the creative process. In web design minimalism with its simplicity and beauty of aesthetic design reflects the essence and objectives of a website rather than confuse a user by cramping it with maze of features. Check some of the best minimalist websites for your inspiration

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Andrew Kevin Alpin is senior content specialist from Kolkata. His forte includes Health, Fitness, and Science English literature, Poetry, Art, Travel and Design. With 7 years of content writing experience, Andrew’s real passion for writing started at an early age. Andrew has a degree in English. Andrew’s interests include reading, collecting occult and spiritual books and listening to music.

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