The Minimalist Trend

A bit of history

Minimalism began as an art movement after World War II and rose to prominence as a design aesthetic in the 1960s and 1970s as a response to an increasingly noisy, technologically-advancing culture. Suddenly, simplicity and clean lines began to appear more and more in visual art, architecture, and graphic design. In the 1970s, Dieter Rams introduced his principles of good design and has been praised ever since as one of the most influential figures in the pared back, user-friendly product design trend that’s so commonly referred to as minimalist design. One of his principles is:

Good design is as little design as possible

Less, but better — because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

To this day, the idea of “less is more” is becoming a lifestyle philosophy. With the worldwide usage of the internet, blogging became mainstream and advocates of simple living, and good design began using the medium as a way to share their ideas. The pandemic economy has also played its part in the concept of minimalism becoming so popular. Because of growing uncertainty over the future, reduction in income, and tighter budgets, many have been faced with no choice but to classify what is essential, and what we can all live without. Suddenly, minimalism became an identity many could apply to their lifestyles.

Benefits of minimalist design style

Minimalism has been in graphic design and a part of social trends for several years in a row, and this is not surprising. Despite its simplicity, the style has a spectacular appearance and helps in creating an intriguing and functional design due to the following characteristics:

  • conveyance of necessary information to the audience by using a small number of elements;
  • emphasis on the important ( the product itself or the idea that needs to be conveyed);
  • attractive and clean design;
  • always up-to-date style.

The basic principle of minimalistic style is ‘the simpler — the better’. But simple does not mean boring, and simplification is not as easy as it might seem at first glance.

Despite the lack of decorations and piling up of details, designers must have certain knowledge and skills to reflect the main idea the design is trying to convey by using a limited number of elements.

Minimalist design solutions are timeless and easily refreshed when needed, representing a solid foundation for long-term brand identity consistency and recognition on the market.

Minimalistic design: general tips

When it comes to graphic design, simplicity plays a crucial role in this design style. In order to achieve the desired effect and not produce a design too simplistic and boring, you need to drive your imagination and choose all the elements correctly.

Color. It creates a mood and evokes certain associations. Often, this style uses only one or a maximum of two colors. The most popular colors are white, black, and gray. While minimalism does involve a lot of whitespace, color also plays a very important role. Many designers choose an additional bright color to play on contrast and make the design more interesting, however always remaining within the two colors limit at a time within a single composition.

Typography. Minimalism involves the use of 1–3 fonts. Their choice depends on the idea that needs to be conveyed to the audience, and business topics. Whatever font you choose, remember that it should be simple and readable.

Space. Minimalism requires space, requiring that all elements should be placed in such a way that they are not crowded. Communication with consumers should be concise, using as much text as necessary for the correct perception of information. Keep your fonts legible and your paragraphs short, and make sure all the elements you use have enough free space around them.

Distinguished brands embracing minimalist design

Many companies have embraced minimalistic trends in their branding, web design, and marketing materials. Some did it exceptionally well and some… not so much.

A few notable redesigns were inspired and led by the industry itself. For example, big fashion brands like Chanel and Dior were always known for a restrained and respectful style. In this aspect, they simply took minimalistic aesthetics to the next level, creating concise yet powerful marketing materials.

Dior

Other companies embraced minimalistic trends in accordance with our new reality and new marketing strategy, getting rid of outdated designs, and following new ideas and a younger target audience.

Mastercard

Google

McDonalds

Airbnb

Volkswagen

Many rebrandings were done with great success and met positive feedback from the audience. However, not everyone was so lucky. In 2009 Tropicana — a very famous brand that sells fruit juices worldwide — made a rebranding campaign that cost them $30M post design.

The rebranding failed to strengthen customers’ deep emotional connection with the original packaging. Most of them didn’t even recognize their favorite brand on the supermarket shelves and passed it by without notice.

Final Thoughts. Minimalism: a trend or an ideology?

Dan Erickson, a writer, musician, and blogger, suggests that minimalism is like religion, where the internet functions as the church and the bloggers as its preachers. In his article, he explains why after years of adhering to a minimalistic lifestyle he decided to quit, saying that:

It’s an interesting concept and I guess as it happens with religion, each and every person decides for themselves how much certain rules are going to influence the lifestyle and in our case, work and art. However, I do believe that minimalism is something in between: for some people it is just a modern trend that when it goes aways will leave something new to discover and practice, for others it is a lifestyle that will influence the work they do regardless of the task they have. However trendy something might be if you don’t feel it, don’t do it. There are certain limitations and skills required for each style and if minimalism isn’t something you enjoy, there’s no need to fall into it simply because it’s very popular at the moment.

If you’re looking for a graphic designer to provide you with engaging minimalist designs or a variety of other designs, visit us at Sketchy Digital!

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