Posts

Minimalism has been all the rage in web design lately. Flat design is currently one of the most popular design trends around, and it relies strongly on minimalist design principles. If done correctly, minimalism can achieve an experience that will stick in the minds of visitors for some time while doing away with all the sound and fury normally associated with the web.

Obviously, minimalist design techniques require sites that can be parsed down to just a few pages of information, but that has the added benefits of making your site automatically more friendly for mobile loading speeds and making your site easier to read. It can also cut your maintenance time down to a fraction of what is necessary for other larger sites. But, if you have a site that aims to comprehensively cover a topic or multiple topics, minimalism might not be right for your site.

One of the best aspects of great minimalist websites, and one of the biggest reasons flat design is taking off, is that every good minimalist site is built on a unique wireframe and a quality gridding system. When done right, that means your site will be easily made responsive, making the move to a mobile friendly site even easier than ever before.

Flat design is already beginning to branch out and apply more depth to sites that retain their minimalist principles, so it makes sense to get to know the ideas behind the broader style of design being co-opted for the new mobile-friendly internet. Mohammed Shakeri took the task of exploring how minimalism functions, some of its history (including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famous “less is more”), and he even helps explain how to begin the transition to a minimalist website.

If you’ve been considering hopping on the latest trend to streamline sites, but haven’t been able to figure out what all the fuss is about, it’s never to late to find out. Or, as Frank Rossitano sings, “It’s never too late for now.”

We’ve reached the half-way point in the year, and more than a couple web design websites have started sharing their lists of trends for the year. But, most of these lists seem oddly familiar. Anyone keeping up with the blogs and news has already seen more articles on the popularity of minimalism, flat design, responsive design, and typography.

None of those articles are wrong, but surprisingly not much has changed in web design trends over the past six months. The trends gaining traction at the beginning of the year have just ingrained themselves even further into web design, but there are a couple things that have managed to start gaining traction that are worth noting.

Creative Overflow recently shared one of these lists of “new” trends in web design, but surprisingly not a single entry on the list is the least bit new. Minimalism goes hand in hand with responsive design which is quickly becoming a standard. Minimalistic sites also rely strongly on typography because they forsake all the other common embellishments. Elsewhere, the rise of high definition screens on everything from our phones to our computers has led many designers to begin using lush background photography rather than simple colors, because there is now a high enough resolution to differentiate the text from more complex images.

At this point, there is little doubt you’ve heard about all of these issues, but there are a couple more trends slowly spreading that have been less discussed, though they’re far from new.
Detailed illustrations have been a popular part of the internet for quite a while now, but on sites that want to appear light-hearted or nostalgic these illustrations have almost become prerequisite. The illustrations tend to give a sort of hand-crafted charm to sites as well as shying away from the edgy or dramatic moods prevalent on more “serious” minded sites.

An even more popular trend that has been steadily growing for the past couple years is the use of circles. We tend not to think about it, but the internet has been largely rectangular for much of its history, but with the advent of smartphones and touch screens, the use of circles has become shorthand for interactive features. If you want someone to touch something on the screen, make it a circle. Of course, it has outgrown the touch-focused usage, and circles are now just a hugely popular motif in design. Once touch interfaces turned to circles instead of squares, it opened up the floodgates for designers of all kinds to step outside the box based designs.