Minimalism in Design: A Complete Guide


Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away
Antoine de Saint-Exupery French writer (1900–1944)

Minimalism is a word I’m sure you’ve heard before. It often gets thrown around on design blogs though sometimes carelessly as though the term just means to put less on the page.

Stating from a designer’s point of view, minimalism is the simplicity of style in artwork, design, interior design, or literature, achieved by using the fewest and barest essentials or elements to maximum effect.

In fairness, minimalism can be a hard concept to wrap your mind around and it probably means different things to different people.
First off, minimalism is not just a trend, it is in itself a way of designing.

To do more with less

When we talk about minimalism, we talk about the clarity of the content. To fit all of the content in such little space is not just a piece of cake. It requires practice and patience. There’s no saying that you’ll get it right the first time or even the 100th time.

Minimalism aims for simplicity and objectivity. It wants to reduce works to the fundamental, the essential, the necessary, and to strip away the ornamental layers that might be placed on top.Minimalist designs tend toward more white-space, better typography, grid layouts, and less color.

When designers talk about minimalism, there’s often a “you’ll know it, when you see it” attitude. There is no perfect formula to make something minimal or not. There are, though, some common attributes that most designers can agree on:

  • Work that is stripped down to fundamental elements
  • Simplified content
  • Plenty of open space
  • Simple or limited color palette
  • Use of only one or two typefaces with clean strokes
  • Details that carry weight for the entire project
  • Simple functionality and user interaction

To be able to create minimalistic designs, one should have a good and thorough understanding of the grids, the typography used, the space left empty and the space taken for content, the basic color palette and the basic design elements.

Minimalist designing is harder to pull off because you can’t hide behind ornamentation and decoration. It is about communicating as much as possible with as few elements as possible.

Now, while creating these minimalistic designs, one shouldn’t deviate from the main objective.

Skip all your design tricks

Come back to the basics. Get rid of everything and think about design elements in the most basic terms – color, type, space, grid and essential elements.

Simplify your content

Your design should be able to perfectly describe the content without the help of and other factors. The more you can simplify the content, the easier it’ll be to create the design.

Keep plenty of white-space

One of the most fundamental requirements is to maximize he use of white-space. The more there is white, the cleaner it looks. Most of the design should be open.Think about space in relation to every other element as well. The space around each element should be used to bring emphasis to it. The space around elements should also have purpose and consistency.

Focus on details

Every detail should have a purpose. In a minimalist outline, objects and elements won’t fall into the background or hide in the design. Every detail matters, so take particular care. Also, be aware of grids and alignments. A small change can make a huge difference in the way you would perceive the content of the design.

Use color with a purpose

Color with Purpose
Do not use different colors because it looks flashy. If flashy’s what you want, you’re in the wrong design method. Find meaning in the color. Select a color palette that uses basic hues in with saturation and brightness that is similar across the palette. Stick to a more restricted palette than you might otherwise with only one or two color options. Limit tints as well.

Think of your typeface

The type of font that you use is very crucial. It is a lot like color in minimal design projects. It needs to be simple and direct.The font type is often used as the primary graphic element and an exaggeration of size can bring focus to fonts that might get overlooked. As long as the typeface is readable it can work effectively.

Words on canvas

The words on the canvas are just as important as the font itself. If the design is simple, then the words should be equally simple. Don’t overwhelm the design with text. Stick to a logo or branding, simple elements to point in the right direction and a precise headline, followed by a small text block.

To conclude, you could say that when it comes to minimal designing, only the elements that contribute to the readability and understanding of the content, are to be emphasized on. Everything else is either ornamentation or decoration. Sometimes, both.

We hope that we’ve been able to help you grasp an understanding of minimalist designing as it is supposed to be. You are always welcome to try new combinations and create an even more exciting designing method! Just make sure to keep your basics together!

If you have any other points that you’d like mentioned, or any confusion, please do leave us a comment!

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About The Author
Subhajeet Kundu

Subhajeet is an avid gamer and a technology enthusiast. He likes to listen to a large variety of music and is also a sitcom and TV series collector.
When not online, he likes to spend quality time with his friends and family.