While perusing design.alltop.com and choosing today’s link on minimalist design, I ran across a series of posts from Graphic Design Blog on minimalism in design. The first article, titled “Minimalist Designs – Is it a trend or are we just being lazy?” explores the minimalist movement that has characterized the graphic design world in recent decades. When is minimalism too minimal? Is minimalism just laziness (less stuff, less work?)?
Minimalism is a trend in graphic designing that involves stripping down the design to its most basic features. Although minimalism is percieved as an effortless task…only graphic designers know it isn’t that easy. Minimalism involves extreme conceptualism and abstraction. –Graphic Design Blog
So, minimalism works, but not when it sacrifices clarity and a core message. The author asserts that minimalism without purpose can be disastrous, then takes us through several examples of minimalism gone wrong. So, what causes a minimalism fail?
1. Doing it just because, or the bandwagon effect.
2. Believing that it’s easier to navigate minimalist designs.
But keeping it too minimal fails to convey your business purpose and creates a false impression on your customers. The purpose of a website is to facilitate customers and inform of your services. What’s the purpose of a websites if it does not clearly explain what services your business has to offer? –Graphic Design Blog
Want an awesome example of minimalist design that is also immersive and dynamic? Check out the Nizo for iPhone app website.
3. Believing details equal clutter. But, how do you decide what’s detail and what’s clutter?
Here the author uses the example of flavored salts to indicate that, “while it is true that too much clutter in a design can create a messy design… going too minimal fails to reach targeted audience.” I actually really love these flavored salts and their design, which is based on the periodic table. Sure, I suppose it’s for a very specific audience of nerds, but it’s still awesome. Instead, I’ll use the rebranding fail by Tropicana.
4. Too much explanation creates confusion.
Here, the author emphasizes that content-rich and clutter are not the same thing. There is a difference between “informative design” that “is also necessary in explaining the clients about your business” and unnecessary design elements.
5. Simple is creative, right?
I think one of the best examples of simplicity and creativity that works is the FedEx logo. I recently read the story of how this logo came about. It took Lindon Leader 200 designs to land on this amazing use of negative space.
I think about how this ties in to the design of effective visual aids. My students often feel anxiety when I ask them to create simple, clean slides. They apologize for creating something that is so simple and straightforward. I reassure them that I can tell the difference between lazy design and clean design…