Principles of Clean Web Design

Minimalism has always been one of the things I admired most whether it’s about interior design, people, fashion or web design. When you are looking for information let’s say on the Internet, you might get really annoyed because of the flow of commercials or different colorful and intricate designer stuff that get in your way while browsing a website in order to find what’s most important – content. “Less is more” – that’s what should be on a web designer’s mind when inventing something new to post on the Internet.

As in any other professional domains, in web design – practice makes perfect, unless you are a genius of course. This is why, if one is not sure about the looks of his future website, then a thorough research is needed in order to make it happen. I cannot give any design ideas because mine will probably not fit with everything designers have in mind, but what I can do is help them out with just some tips on a clean, minimalistic web design, where content is what stands out, because in the end that’s the most important output a website can have. Oh and by the way, did you know that minimalist design took off decades ago in Switzerland, being applied to media through graphic design, music, literature, painting and finally – web design? And now back to the tips:

Try to obey the principle – less is more

This principle is essential in minimalism and without it – this type of design wouldn’t be considered viable. Avoid a bloated design, with lots of elements that are actually not really needed there. Although you would like your design to look at its best and different from all the others out there – it doesn’t mean you should embellish it with unnecessary elements. This also applies for the content you have on your website. Avoid using too much information presented in different ways. Say once what you have to say – but say it good.

Try to obey the principle – less is more

Focus on your content

Besides choosing the content on your website wisely, you would also have to take into consideration how is this content presented. Choosing the right font that will visually look nice but at the same time will not clutter your design is very important. Luckily the Internet offers a whole bunch of interesting and fun fonts for you to use. You just have to search patiently for one that is suitable for your website and its design.

Content

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The holy white space

This is probably an exaggerated definition for a principle but indeed it is really important. More white space is less clutter and this is what really matters in a minimalist, clean web design. Don’t be afraid to leave it there, instead focus on some interesting elements that could fill it up where necessary. White space makes the user digest the content easier and I am sure that this is what any designer looking for.

The holy white space

Use graphics with a strong impact

The effective use of graphics in a clean web design is another essential step to take. If you are very artistic and you are eager to use different graphics and pictures in your web design, then do it wisely. Gather all of your ideas into one or two graphics and then make use of it while designing the website. The images used will have to have a strong visual impact, whether it’s about the color or the message they send. And when I am saying strong impact I mean a tasteful range of colors and ideas gathered into graphics that do not affect your content whatsoever. In the end it’s up to you whether you want to use graphics in your minimalist design. Single colors would also have a strong impact if used wisely in my opinion.

Use graphics with a strong impact

Unique wireframes work best

In order to create visual interest you will need to work on a correct wireframe. It might take more time to create a wireframe for a minimalistic design because you will have to pay attention when creating the hierarchy. Before making the wireframe for your design, you have to decide what content is essential and cannot be excluded first, hence prioritizing is a must. You will also have to think about alignment and then creating a certain balance in your design.

Unique wireframes work best

Don’t forget about usability

In the end this is the most important thing – how the end user feels when browsing your website. Yes it should be simple, neat and stylish but at the same time you shouldn’t forget about navigation. Try not to reinvent the wheel when it comes to navigation. People are used to navigating by using the top or left-hand bar and when they meet something new, they sometimes get confused. This is not a rule set in stone of course. Once you are sure that your navigation is simple then go ahead and introduce it on your website. Just remember that there are different types of users and some of them might not be that friendly towards this type of changes.

Don’t forget about usability

About colors and contrast

Some designers stick to simple black or white as a choice for their minimalistic design. I would say any rainbow color could be used as long as it doesn’t affect your content. Color can do both – help your content stand out or make it impossible to read and focus on, so this is an important choice. Think twice before deciding on colors.

Play with contrasts when implementing your design. This can help you visually point out some content or information you need and it will be easier to spot. You will have to add contrast if you decide to use more white space for a minimalistic yet stylish design.

About colors and contrast

In the end it is up to you and your imagination how you build the design of your website. But I would strongly recommend for you to follow certain rules that have already been proved to be successful if you want a good design, especially if you are still not sure about what how you want your website to end up.

These were some essential tips on a clean web design, however I know I must have missed some, hence I will come back with more tips in other future posts.

Good luck to all the creative designers out there!

A girl that lives through the lens of her camera - as this is the best way to see things as you want them to see. Born and raised in Moldova, now living in sunny Cyprus.

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2 Comments
  1. Sameer Manas Nov 13, 5:18 pm

    Thank you for this amazing article. I got my interst in DesignModo after my win in the MaxCDN giveway.

    After reading through all the pages everyone will get lots of ideas about Web Design and importance of Uniqueness in it.

    Great job guys !!

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  2. Phillip- Web Designer Mar 25, 7:10 pm

    I can see your justification regading unique wireframes although I think this is a grey area. I feel that on most occasions, it works to stay with a standard traditional wireframe. I think this is also related to usability. As we all know affordance is an improtant concept in usability and interface design. By using common wireframe layouts, we can promote better usability as from experience of using other sites with a similar layout, customers will find it easier to use your website.

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