• Christian Michaels

Minimalism versus Maximalism in Web Design



Just as Abba’s high knee length boots and Mick Jagger and the likes’ drainpipe trousers have made their comeback in recent years, so do trends in web design. While fashion evolves and returns old must-haves with a modern twist, web design does too only producing websites which are smarter, cooler, and better optimised for a positive user experience and a happy search engine. In previous blogs we have focused on the general trends of web design; what to expect from 2018, what you must absolutely avoid. Today, we are going to take the two extremes of web design, Minimalism and Maximalism. As ever, with the help of our in house web designer here at Christian Michaels, we are going to explore these two trends, their pros and cons, and why one may be more suited to your website than the other.

The Minimalist Approach in Web Design


Don’t be put off by the term ‘minimalist’; it can still have maximum effect when executed well. Unsurprisingly, minimalist web design doesn’t have that much going on. It is clean and uncomplicated, uses a limited colour palate, large background images or no images at all, the typography is the prominent feature, and there is no fear of using ‘white space’. If the Tate Modern had a room for web design art, some of these very contemporary and minimalist creations would certainly feature. Of course unlike all of the artwork at the Tate Modern, it is essential that your website is accessible, engaging, and projects your brand - we can’t all see the beauty in a mop and bucket against a white wall. With that in mind here are some of the pros and cons of minimalist web design.

The Pros:

- Focus on the essential aspects of your website - Easy navigation - users are not distracted or overwhelmed by excessive images, call to actions or multiple blocks of text - Optimal loading speeds – your users have things to do and people to see, they don’t necessarily have time to wait for your videos, mass of images, and “fun” animation - Keep the search engines satisfied – minimalist web design can be great for SEO since they are easier for the search engine bots to crawl

The Cons:

- Rather than clean, cool, and contemporary, too much of the minimalist blank space can be uninspiring, sterile, and cold - Without words and images to project your brand and personality, it can be difficult to build a relationship or trust with your users and may result in a disappointing conversion rate – so choose wisely! - Some businesses need to show off their creativity, their history, and their story and that can require the textures, layering, and variety that minimalist web design does not offer – it is important to understand what is best for you.

The Maximalist Approach in Web Design


The phrase less is more doesn’t really apply here. Basically the polar opposite of minimalist web design, maximalist web design is hyper-creative, story-telling, fun, and full of personality – when done well. Maximalist web design will usually feature contrasting colours, a greater use of animation, lots of layers, and a mash up of typography styles, sizes, and density.

In last week’s blog we looked at the importance of visual hierarchy in web design, and maximalist web design certainly requires it since there is usually much more going on. These websites tend to appeal to a younger audience or those with a love of the creative and experimental. A skilled web designer will ensure that creativity doesn’t cross into headache territory – not too much anyway.

The Pros

- Fun, friendly, and full of character, maximalist web design with its mix of images, animation and energetic written content can build a fanatic following and amp up those conversion rates - The flexibility of maximalist web design with its lack of “rules” makes sharing your business story and building a brand easier than within the limits of minimalist web design

The Cons

- Changing tastes in web design, such as typography and colour schemes may mean your maximalist website needs to change with them whilst minimalist web design is pretty constant - Like it or not, you can have too much of a good thing; in essence, maximalist web design is art and best left to the web designers to get it right because there’s a fine line between the great and the grossly mismanaged - Compromising on easy navigation is a risk; your users know what they want and if they can’t find it easily, you may lose them

There you have it; minimalist versus maximalist web design. If you feel your website needs a twist of a new trend, get in touch with the team at Christian Michaels today for a free consultation.

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