Minimalism, as a graphic design and website design trend, could be said to have begun as early as the web itself became popular with home users and consumers. After all, when the earliest technology to get online couldn't handle more than what a 32k or 56k modem could deliver in a timely manner, it only made sense to try and get as much information as you could in as little amount of space as possible. While earlier graphic design aesthetics were unrepentant in their use of what we now consider to be tacky background images and animated gifs, many still adhered to a minimalist presentation.
In today's website scene, Minimalism usually refers to these ideas:
- Clean presentation. Everyone wants to have a clean website that is free of visual clutter, but with minimalism, it's even more of a pressing matter. You want to have as few obstructions as possible so that you can clearly present a point, whether it's a call to action or just information on a company. The clearer everything is, the better it will be for focusing on those very key points of your site.
- Fast loading times. Cutting down on the clutter can also mean saving on bandwidth, which is what you get when you minimize the amount of fancy graphics that your site has. Cutting down on features like videos that play on loading, unnecessary coding tricks and tables, and more, can all help to keep your page loading fast on both desktop and mobile platforms. That's a big hit with everyone.
- Attractive graphical choices. Business cards used to rely on very simple aesthetics: Font, choice of card stock, and text placement. That was all that you could rely on if you wanted to stay in someone's memory when they needed to do business. With a minimalist website, you have many of the same considerations, and great choices still stick out in a person's mind. Google's own Material Design philosophy and Flat Design as well, have both led to the rise of pseudo-paper background and textures that work extremely well with minimalism. That, combined with an increased interest in typography, has led a business card-like air to the minimalist approach.
Minimalism is perfect for blogs, businesses, and everyone in between. You can use your minimalist design on a landing page, with a more complex design once you've drawn visitors in, or you can just keep it throughout your entire site to make a fast presentation that's easy to digest and even easier to share online. The point is focusing on a core aesthetic value or theme, and then having your message speak through that theme, with as little distraction as possible. With luck and practice, you can actually make some outstanding websites that adhere to minimalism, and even do so in far less time than it would take with a site that has a more grandiose appearance. Just don't forget your navigational links and other necessary features.