Simplicity in Web and Graphic Design
Perhaps you’ve noticed more and more websites seem to be chucking their old, more complex or fanciful designs in favor of ones that are simpler, modern and clean. This isn’t just a new style (in fact, it’s not new at all), it’s a way for businesses and blogs to appeal to more users. Minimalist websites are easy to navigate and understand. With ads, sounds and pictures popping up and constantly begging for attention, it can be particularly pleasant to discover a site that allows one to breathe—and that’s just one part of the allure. If you’re still not convinced minimalism is where graphic design is headed, here are some excellent examples of flat design making waves today.
Simple and flat should never mean boring. Proof of this claim is found at Wistia, where colorblocking keeps things bright and playful. Wistia’s scrolling website features brief snippets of text over eye-catching blocks of solid color. Pictures are also utilized. But for a video hosting site, there are no animations, videos or GIFs in sight, not on the first page at least. Which is actually a relief. Everything is easy to find, thanks to a crystal clear navigation bar that only offers the plain facts of the business.
If you love to keep up on current events or follow your favorite subjects, you’re probably in the market for what Collector is selling. They make a newsfeed reading app for Windows phones. But what’s really impressive is their gorgeously streamlined website that’s as whimsical as it is navigable. It’s another scrolling style page—that’s become very popular lately, as people are more inclined to scroll than click on links to new pages—and it features just the essentials next to simple graphics. The graphics are only partially flat; they have some shading. But the effect is decidedly modern and minimal.
Etch is a more mature example of simplistic web design. It’s not all about cutesy graphics and two-tone color palettes. Etch shows that modern minimalism can still be dynamic in many ways. The team of designers introduces each member in a vintage-filter picture alongside other tiles of inspiring images in the same tonal range. It feels personal and professional, and there are very few words to mess with the soothing and confident impression. Again, they use scrolling, and again, it makes users want to follow along until the very end.
Unsurprisingly, FlatIcons makes, well, flat icons for web developers who are jumping on board this whole flat design phenomenon. Their simple graphics are best showcased on their simple website. Browsers can choose between stroke icons and solid icons, or they can purchase the whole lot. Though more colorful graphics are also useful, these extremely basic images cleanly and clearly help express what the designer is trying to say. They showcase just how well these icons work on the navigation bar, where users know where they’re going even without words.
Friends of the Web
The last example is another team of web developers that introduce themselves individually on their home page. The difference here is that they use solid color squares to represent them, with just a name underneath. It makes you wonder if the team members at Friends of the Web each got to choose their own color, and why they chose it. This is the simplest website here. Aside from the tiles, there are a few blocks of text, some information about projects and an opportunity to join the newsletter. Crisp, professional yet still personal, it epitomizes the goal of flat web design.
It’s pretty clear that graphic designers across the web are enthusiastically exploring the nuances and simple beauty of modern minimalism. Whether it’s in flat icons, logos or tiled images, minimalist designs are created to make web experiences smoother, more enjoyable and easier than ever to understand.