So, you just completed your first project while applying your recently acquired knowledge in HTML, CSS and WordPress and would like to create a simple yet attractive website but you’re worried that this might be a challenge beyond your skills.
The aim of this article is to review 10 great minimalist websites that’ll hopefully inspire your next project and dispel any fears and give you the confidence to create an effective but simple design.
The purpose of a minimalist design is to create clean and user friendly interfaces by removing unnecessary elements or content that don’t contribute to the user’s needs.
Some of the key characteristics that these sites share is a design with flat textures and a limited color palette or even monochromatic ones.
Let’s go over the next 10 examples in search for inspiration
If there was an ideal checkbox list of all the characteristics and elements that a typical minimalist website should have (or rather shouldn’t), Grette’s page seems to tick almost every checkbox.
Grette is a law firm based in Oslo, their website has a slick design with a limited color palette and all the unnecessary elements have been stripped away, making it easy to browse the site.
If you read “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug you might remember his advice on making any button or clickable element obvious to the user.
Therefore, it’s quite remarkable how easy it is to identify which are clickable elements even when these have been deprived of borders and colors that would make them conspicuous.
It is also worth mentioning the maximized negative space (also known as white space), a common characteristic among minimalist websites that helps to draw attention to the important content.
Wild is a design and technology agency based in NYC and Vienna. As soon as the browser loads their site, you will immediately notice a monochromatic design (except for the portfolio) and the absence of a navigation menu that isn’t missed, it’s a single page website.
The amount of clickable elements has been reduced to the extreme, nevertheless navigating through the site is very simple. Just like in most of the other examples of this list, there’s flat patterns and textures.
Volta is a shoe’s brand that was founded in 2008 in Milan. Their site makes a very limited use of colors to focus the visitor’s attention on their products. Flat patterns and textures are the norm in this website.
A very succinct navigation (there’s only two sections: “shop” and “about”) is a main feature of this site and for a website that features e-commerce, the navigation for their products is unusually strimlined.
There’s an off the grid design in some of its sections, a characteristic shared by many minimalist websites.
There’s plenty of minimalist websites that belong to designers, artists and agencies but here is a great example of simplicity applied to a restaurant’s website.
MAAEMO is a norwegian 3 michelin starred restaurant and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that their website honours the creativity that’s required to achieve the most sought after award in cuisine.
It features a hidden navigation menu that allows the user to have an unrestricted view of the beautifully laid out content. It is worth noting the off the grid pattern of the pictures.
Kwell is a furniture e-commerce site from Canada and it’s another great example of a use of bold typography to create visual interest.
There’s a hidden global navigation that helps to keep its design clean and simple, flat patterns and textures, and a limited use of colors in each page.
The pictures in its shop section are arranged in a grid pattern but with plenty of breathing space between them. Furthermore the products names, prices and basic characteristics are revealed only after you hover with the mouse on top of their pictures.
6.The Cool Club
Scales of gray and limited colors are ubiquitous in minimalist design, however The Cool Club has a website that honours their name with a colorful but simple page. It also breaks the norm with the inclusion of an animation.
Another rarity for a minimalist design is the use of shadows, which in this particular case are kept reasonably subtle.
Thrive solo is a business management tool for freelancers, it includes time management for different projects and even invoicing.
Their website is a fine example of monochromatic palette although not within the grey scale. It is surprisingly easy to read through their pages despite the peculiar choice of colors.
Once again, there’s flat patterns and textures and a very limited amount of elements in the navigation that contribute to a very pleasant user experience.
The use of call to action buttons is limited but effective, they are placed exactly where they should be and there’s the mandatory repetition of this fundamental element.
The CTAs are simple but a keen eye will notice the attention to detail that was put into them.
Switch between the home page and the “price and plans” page. There’s a subtle difference between the CTAs of both pages: Just one word that was by no means chosen randomly, because it really isn’t the same to write “start your trial” and “start your free” trial, especially when the button is an element in the pricing page.
It is worth noting that aside from a discrete logo that there’s no footer section in this website.
McKennaJones is a insights, inspiration and ideas consultancy based in the UK.
This is another great example of a simple and effective design. Very few features except for those needed. Even the navigation bar has been trimmed to the very essential sections.
It is quite a remarkable achievement how the limited amount of content in the home page was dealt with. The design manages to be visually engaging even with a limited amount of photographs and text.
This is possible partly to a great use of typography. Bold large typography is being used to draw attention in the absence of photographs. The off grid layout also contributes to a good use of its limited content.
50/50 Climate Project is a non-profit organization that helps institutional investors bring climate competence to corporate boards with the purpose to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.
Their website features a hidden navigation with its essential elements displayed in big, bold typography. This technique helps to communicate meaning and to deal with the negative space when the content is rather limited.
Once again, there’s a limited color palette and flat textures.
Limited amount of pictures would be an understatement since the number of photographs amount to a grand total of one per page.
10.Club of Waves
Last on the list is Club of the waves, a showcase of artists and photographers. The website makes good use of big typography and has an interesting layout of its elements. There’s no navigation bar in this site nevertheless, browsing through it is simple enough.
So, to recap: a great web design does not only have to look great, it also has to satisfy the user’s needs, meaning visitors have to easily find what they’re looking for.
It has to satisfy the website’s owner objectives. For these purposes there’s certain elements and characteristics that have to be present and some others that have to be excluded.
Flat textures and patterns are present in almost every modern minimalist design while skeuomorphic elements are absent. Clickable elements such as CTAs should be obvious but at the same time, simple.
The use of colors is limited and negative spaces are maximized.
The use of big typography is also very important to draw attention to where it’s needed and to compensate the lack of content.
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