Looking at the headline, you might do a double-take and exclaim, “Say what?!?” “Are you kidding?” Why wouldn’t that make me the best web designer?
And because we here at 1WD want the members of our community to be on top of their games, we created a list of the different languages, libraries, frameworks, databases, and CSS that could help you become a better web designer.
Table of Contents:
- Languages You Should Learn To Be The Best Web Designer
- 7 Ways to Create Your Own Unique Style in Design
- How To Get Well Prepared For The Website Creation
- The Battle Between Psychedelic & Minimalist Design: Which Side Are You On?
- Everything (Almost) You Need to Know about Material Design
- How Minimalist Design Almost Killed Skeuomorphism
Languages You Should Learn To Be The Best Web Designer
Like our languages, there are also several computer languages you can use to issue a command to your computer. Each of these languages is not better than the other, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Python is an object-type multi-purpose programming language that works on the Django framework. It is popularly used in mathematical calculations because it makes solving mathematical problems as easy as writing down your own thought in pen and paper. In addition, Python is also easy to learn, can be written once, and run on any computer without having to change the program.
Running on the Ruby on Rails framework, Ruby is similar to Python. Besides Rails, Ruby is used for almost everything from web applications to desktop GUI applications, and even web servers, intelligent libraries, threaded databases servers, low-level system utilities, picture recognition engines, and throughout computing.
PHP is the language used by WordPress. But basically, though, it is used to add more functionality to your website which can’t be done by using HTML alone. PHP can do a lot of things from performing calculations, interacting with MySQL databases, creating simple and dynamic graphics, such as the dynamic Twitter signatures.
Go or Golang is a new language from Google and is becoming popular in the programming circles. According to Google’s own FAQ, it allows you to compile a large Go program in a single computer in just a few seconds, has a model for software construction making it easy to conduct dependency analysis, and avoids much of the overhead of C-style include files and libraries. Despite its popularity, we don’t recommend to migrate your program to it just yet because it is on its early stages and development.
ObjC is the main language behind Apple’s OS X and iOS as well as their APIs, Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. This simple language which includes Smalltalk-style messaging to the C language is an extension of the standard ANSI C. ObjC is an object-oriented language which features great object orientation, elegance, and low-level ability.
Swift is the new programming language Apple uses for its OS X and iOS apps. The new language is easy to learn and understand even by those who are just starting to learn code. What makes Swift popular is how it provides fast real-time feedback and its ability to be seamlessly incorporated to the ObjC code.
Elixir is another newcomer which utilizes Erlang’s great features. Those who have used it has compared it to Ruby in terms of its syntax. Elixir is a highly scalable language which uses its lightweight processes to run in all your cores. Its best features when it comes to performance, however, is its occurency.
Frameworks make it easier to build and work with programming languages. What it basically does is it takes all the repetitive and difficult tasks of setting up a web application and it performs the dirty task for you or make the task easier for you.
It is a full-stack framework which uses, obviously, Ruby and covers both the back and front end of design. Twitter and Basecamp are two of the most popular sites which have Ruby on Rails at its core. One of its greatest advantage is it allows you to really focus on building complex websites by eliminating lame tasks, such as handling database communications, processing Ajax updates, or providing a template system for handling layouts and page sections.
Django is another full-stack framework but uses Python. Its clean and pragmatic design encourages rapid development. Some of the main reasons why some developers prefer Django over other frameworks are its excellent open-source documentation (even when it first came out), an amazing and supportive community, it’s been crowd-tested, and numerous of packages available – the latest count was more than 3,000 packages and still growing.
1WD is a big fan of WordPress, a preference shared by many experts in the industry. In fact, 20% of website including BBC America, The New Yorker, and the official Star Wars blog run on the WordPress framework.
Built by Microsoft, one of the beauties of ASP. NET is its ability to reduce the amount of code to build large applications as well as its security created by Windows authentication and per-application configuration. Add to that its early binding, native optimization, and caching services which add to more efficient performance. The framework works perfectly whether you are building a small or large website.
There are a lot of CMS framework on the web and Drupal is one of the most popular using PHP. Often compared with the similar CMS, SiteCore, Drupal has an edge being an open-source CMS with a dynamic community which continuously develops it. Because of this, Drupal has tons of free designs and plug-ins for rapid site assembly.
Laravel is a PHP framework that is gaining popularity this 2015 because it has made PHP fun to use once again with its noteworthy features, like the composer packages which modularize the framework making the process of dependency management much easier.
Play is a highly scalable web app framework using Scala and Java. Built on Akka, Play boasts of a web-friendly and lightweight architecture which aims to optimize your productivity using hot code reloading, convention over configuration, display of errors in the browser.
Libraries group code snippets to give you a vast amount of functionality without letting you write all the code by yourself. Libraries also ensure that all codes work efficiently across all web browsers and devices.
Databases, obviously, are like filing cabinets where you store all your data. They basically come in two types – SQL and noSQL. Where SQL makes sure that all data is correct and validated, noSQL gives you a lot of flexibility to maintain and build applications.
Mongodb is an open-source noSQL database and the only database at the moment that supports Meteor. Some of its features include high scalability and tools which allow you to deploy, monitor, back up, and scale the database easily.
Redis is also a noSQL database but unlike Mongodb, it is a key-value store with built-in persistence and more datatypes. Redid gained popularity because of its lightning speed for retrieving data. However, it doesn’t allow for much depth when it comes to data storage.
PostgreSQL is an open-source SQL database. Compared to MySQL, Postgre isn’t object-relational and has more powerful querying facilities. Other advantages of Postgre include subselects, user-defined datatypes and functions in various languages, and data handling. On the other hand, some of its SELECT queries might be a bit slower compared to its MySQL counterparts.
This is an SQL server manager built by Microsoft. Some of its pros include tools, such as BI tools and SQL Server Management Studio, which save you a lot of time in development and troubleshooting. And since it is one of Microsoft’s flagship products, it is well-documented and rapidly evolving in various technologies.
CSS is one of the foundations you need to learn as a web developer. And as every one of you well know, CSS is responsible for enabling you to change the fonts, colors, animations, and transitions of the website you’re building. In short, CSS is responsible in making the web look aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
CSS can be quite a headache but with a CSS pre-compiler like Less, it makes working with CSS codes a lot easier. Less can work inside Node, the Rhino, or in the browser. There are also third-party tools available which allows you to manage and compile your files much easier.
Based on what it said on its website, Sass is the most mature, stable, and professional CSS extension language. Sass is the inspiration why Less was created and compared to Less, it has some smart extras. However, you need some extra time to learn them. Sass uses Ruby and needs to be setup on Mac, Windows, and Linux. However, it has a version which runs on the Node.js.
Compared to the Sass and Less, Stylus isn’t as popular, but it has some noteworthy features which deserve it to be on this list. For one, Stylus allows you to define your own functions for smart CSS parameters expansion and management. It also has different types of loops, conditionals, and import option which allows you to reuse CSS libraries.
With all these technologies available and more being developed, which one is better? The honest truth is, not one is better than the other one, but it is just a matter of preference which one will you use. Though you don’t need to learn all of them, you are at a bigger advantage if you know not just one, but a number of these technologies.
To be the best you can be it’s good to also have your own style. Let’s look into that.
7 Ways to Create Your Own Unique Style in Design
Let’s be honest: the big secret to becoming a well-known and super successful designer is to have your own unique style. Sure you’ll bag some clients by perusing tutorial sites, but when you really develop your own style, that’s when you’ll own the world! For some, this is fairly easy, but for some this is a tough task. Well 1WD has compiled a list for you so you can get started on creating your own unique style.
1. Take Your Own Pictures
Chances are, if you’re using a stock site (especially a free one), you aren’t the only one who has used that particular stock picture. While designers may have their own style, there’s something a bit unsettling about finding two different designs using the same stock photos. If you have the capability, go out there and take your own pictures. Digital cameras nowadays are becoming more and more affordable with better technology. This really allows you a chance to be unique by not just using original pictures, but your shooting technique may be something worth watching out for. A bonus for taking these pictures is the ability to offer something new to the design world. This can help contribute to your popularity by submitting your photos to stock photo websites and popular design blogs.
2. Use Your Scanner
I’ve seen many designers (including myself), who use this technique: when you are almost finished with a design and it still needs that ‘umph’, whip out some printer paper and draw some stuff on it, whether it be characters or scribble lines. Fire up your scanner and scan in it into your project. You can doctor up your image a bit by using your filters or by live tracing it in Illustrator. Either way, you get something that is entirely from you and represents your artistic side. Don’t just stop at drawing things either, scan in different textures or items. If it can fit, try scanning it! You never know what kind of effect or look running it through the scanner gives. Using this technique can give a design a very individualistic feel, whether you can draw or not!
3. Edit Your Fonts
Don’t get me wrong. There are a ton of great fonts out there, some of which are free. Font designers are also pretty consistent in releasing fonts, so there’s a lot to choose from. However, the truth is, when the design world finds a good font, we kind of latch onto it and it spreads like wildfire. Everyone uses it. In an attempt to change the monotony of typography, why not edit your fonts so the look may change a bit. Whether you decide to just change your tracking or leading or adding or subtracting something, make it your own. And what happens when you can’t find that PERFECT font? Make your own! You don’t have to create a whole type set, but oftentimes, when I feel stuck looking for that perfect typeface, I’ll just grab my pen tool and make my own font.
4. Use Other Design Programs
It’s pretty popular to use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator in the design world, and while are industry standard, you may not be able to do everything in them or at least get the look you are going for. Do some research and look for programs that are specific to the types of techniques you’d like to incorporate in your designs. Try pairing your designs with different programs such as Cinema4D or any other design programs. You have the potential to make really complex yet stunning designs people can’t try to copy by using just Photoshop. The outcome could be greatness!
5. Make Your Own Patterns
There are plenty of tutorials on how to create your own patterns, so why not make your own? If I am looking for some uniqueness, I will quickly and easily make my own patterns. Making your own patterns works the same way as snapping your own photos does. There are tons of patterns online and pattern designers (like myself) release designs almost constantly. Once one gets really popular, though, it becomes the new standard quickly. Creating your own can not only give you a sense of uniqueness, but if the pattern is really good and useful, why not release it and give variations of it to the world? Whether you decide to share or not, if you just use some creativity, you can come up with some crazy beautiful patterns no one has ever seen (or thought of) before.
6. Break the Rules a Little Bit
In the design world, there can be a lot of different rules about where to put what and how to make whatever. There are different styles that you can design within that may or may not have more rules than another. Break the rules a bit and create something you wouldn’t normally see. Blend different styles and forms and come up with designs that need their own category. Breaking the rules is really about being a trendsetter and creating a bit that people wouldn’t normally consider. Don’t go too nuts or try to reinvent the wheel, but use subtle differences that could mean the difference between one style and another. Taking the time to cultivate this technique could really end up being a part of your signature style.
7. Use Filters Subtly
This one is particularly for the newbies; when you get into your design program (we’ll use Photoshop as the example), it’s easy to want to use the filters and use them heavily. The result can sometimes end up being a very cheesy look, but I say use your filters subtly and see what you can come up with. Sometimes when using your distort filters and artistic filters lightly, you can end up with some really nice sophisticated looks. Some of those ‘cheesy’ filters when used lightly can create a pretty neat look!
This is just a short list, but the idea here is to just be as creative as possible! And as technology increases, try to incorporate as much as possible into your designs. If you are really working on trying to create your new style, try going into your design program and not use a thing that doesn’t belong to you. Create your own patterns and your own brushes and fonts. Don’t rely heavily on design resource aggregate sites to take your work to the next level. After all, that is someone else’s work which are just trying to pass off as yours. Do your own thing. No holds barred!
Do you have any tips and tricks that have taken your work from cookie cutter to standout?
To be good at something it also takes a lot of preparation. The next section is exactly about that. Ready? Alright..
How To Get Well Prepared For The Website Creation
Planning to build a new website and not sure where to start? No sweat, we have a cool guide from 12 points that will help you to define your website goals, target audience, choose the images and create the right look and feel for your site. All you’ll need is a sheet of paper, 10 minute access to the internet, a friend and a cup of coffee or tea. Let’s get into work.
1. Answer the question why you need a website.
Starting on website creation the very first questions you should ask yourself is “Why do I need a website?” The answer “because everyone has it” is wrong. Let’s imagine you have a small bakery in a small town and people come daily right to your door to taste your cakes and candies. Do you really need a website in this case? I guess you don’t. Now let’s imagine that you have enough time, equipment and resources to deliver the pastries to the nearby villages. Now this is the case when having a website can be a pretty good idea. Here come just a few most common reasons why you may need a website:
- Additional income
- Brand recognition and audience awareness
- You have something interesting in mind you’d like to share with the online community
2. Define your target audience.
Photo by Stefan Tell
Once you’re sure you do need a site let’s think about your future website audience. If you are making yummy pastries then your audience is the whole world, but if you are a pool cleaner for example, then you need a serious think. If you are targeting a nearby village make sure that there are pools in there and if you work as Santa make sure people who live close to you celebrate Christmas as well.
3. Check your competition and double check it once again.
This one is closely connected with point two. The bigger your field of experience and expertise is, the larger is your audience but at the same time the bigger your competition is. Say you are the only person in your city cleaning pools and everyone knows you. Now let’s imagine there’s exactly the same person in the other city and everyone knows him and invites for a cup of coffee? Right, why would they ever call you even if they find your website? Well, there’ one simple trick you can make to beat the competition- offer something special and unique. Offer lover pricing, some free services, ask your clients to put some reviews for you and put all that on a paper or make a document with notes on your computer.
Photo by will nickelson
4. Check similar websites and put down what you like about them and what can be made better.
Now when you know your audience and your competition you can start thinking about the website itself. Do not hurry and don’t panic. Check the websites of your competitors and websites of the top companies in your area of business. Make notes about what you like and what you don’t, what’s convenient for you as a user and what is not, how are the products presented, is it easy to find the products/service you are looking for and if it is easy to order it online. Choose several websites you like most and ask your friends to test them for usability. Compare your notes and draw conclusions.
Once complete divide your notes and conclusions into the following categories:
– design likes and dislikes: color scheme, website layout and general design direction;
– functionality: what is convenient and what is not, navigation, how quickly you can get to the product page, what’s the registration/checkout process etc;
– calls to action: what buttons, phrases or banners made you interested in the product; what made you feel the product/service is what you need and where would it be appropriate to add the buy/order/call or learn more buttons on your website.
5. Act like a customer.
While you can still act like a website visitor and not like a website owner think of the keywords you would use to find a website like yours. Ask your friends to help you and put the keywords down. It’s better to think about it now while you still have enough time before website design and development starts as these keywords will further drive traffic to the website. Do not forget about geo-targeting, people in CA won’t order cakes from NY.
Photo by Lunabee ^_^
6. Prepare some good photos that can attract visitors and catch their attention.
Let’s make sure your future website looks professional and attractive. Most of the website design companies will ask if you have the photos to use and will be pleasantly surprised if you do. Professional photos of your delicious cakes or neat stylish hand-made jewelry can make and indelible impression on your website visitors and push them to place the order right away. Do not use stock photos if you make the products yourself, seeing thousands of them everyday online people will know this is not yours and will subliminally feel cheated and disappointed and thus not likely to place the order. If you are creating a corporate website for say an IT company using stock photography is a usual practice and you can rely on a design company to choose the appropriate images for you. Still, if you can make photos of your stuff this will give a more personal feeling, thus more trust and comfort. We all like to see people we work with, right?
7. Think of the logo and whether you need one.
Coming to the point of brand recognition you need to think of the company logo and name (if you don’t have one yet). As a rule, if you don’t need a company logo for your offline business you won’t need it online (and if you have one you are more likely to use it online as well). Think of some nice company name and make sure it’s not taken yet. When talking to designer don’t forget to mention that you don’t have a logo but would like to have the company name written in some nice font matching the website style, look and feel. This will also help you to keep the design costs down which is very important when you are just starting your online business.
Logo by vissago
8. Think what you’d like to tell to your website visitors and put that down.
Now let’s remember how you’ve been visiting the websites of your competitors. What information was useful and what was not, what you have found interesting and what was boring, what calls to action made you actually act? Think what you’d like to tell to your customers, what it is so unique in you that they can find irresistible and place the order right away, give you a call or add the website to the favorites to check back later? Do not forget about the list of the keywords you have put down. Use them in your text as this will greatly help to rank good in the search engines when your website is up and running. At this stage you can either make one big text or start dividing it into sections.
Photo by Daniel Y. Go
9. Think of the main menu names.
We have come to the stage when you can plan the website structure and layout. You already have the info you have put together in point 8 and now we can use it to form the menu names. Divide your draft into the sections like about us, our products and services, why choose us, how to find and contact us etc. Ask your friends if they since something else might also be of an interest to the website visitors and add it as well. Do not tend to create many separate pages for a simple website, in most cases all the important information should be located in no more than one click from the home page. If your website is complicated, have lots of info or you plan building some kind of a portal, break the related sections into the groups, define main pages and sub pages, use the experience of your competitors and your notes from point 4 ( where you made the notes about websites friendliness and usability).
10 Think of the website colors.
The website color scheme is one of most important elements to consider. Colors act differently, gray and blue are calm and confident, red is aggressive while yellow sand and brown are cozy. What impression will your website make? Is this color appropriate for your business at all? Read some small studies and find the perfect matching colors. You can also look for colors solution on a website like colorlovers where designers have gathered thousands of color schemes pleasant to the eye and which are free to use. If you have several ideas in mind and not sure which one to choose you can consult with your designer when discussing the project details or simply ask him to try several approaches for additional fee or just make some basic sketches before working on all the details.
Photo by jakerome
11. Define website style.
If you are not sure what website style is, let me give you some examples: corporate, business, urban, grunge, wallpaper, clean web 2.0, minimal, retro, fashion, cartoon etc. You can actually create your own style or make a mix. Nowadays more and more designers tend to create minimal designs with the use of big fonts and obvious calls to action. They make an accent on uniqueness of one or few elements like an intro, photo on the splash page, creative navigation or cool slideshow portfolio.
12. Make sure you can deliver what you are promising and deliver it in time.
Now when you have prepared all the info a designer usually needs to create a perfect and very special website for your company, make sure you can deliver all that you are promising. You may skip this point as it’s not directly related to getting ready for website design but it is vital part of the online business. Surfers will find hundreds of websites offering same products and services one by one and even with the perfect, cool and super-friendly design you can’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t keep to your promises. Deliver it time, give the promised discounts and finally, provide a perfect service.
Photo by Basil Gloo
13. Choose a design company.
Well, here we are. You have a big batch of notes, texts and photos and now you need to find a designer. My advice is to look for young companies as they take less, have friendly customer support and create cool things. Check their portfolios, ask questions, see if you can get some kind of a discount :) And don’t panic, with the tremendous info you have prepared a candy is guaranteed!
Photo by nhussein
Enjoyed the article? Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us.
Now let’s get to more practical side of this subject. Something that will give your work even more value. Let’s talk more about design directions.
The Battle Between Psychedelic & Minimalist Design: Which Side Are You On?
A minimalist would say Less is more, but on the other side of the spectrum, an advertiser would argue: The bigger, the bolder, the better! Who would you believe, and which is really better–all, or nothing?
Psychedelic and Minimalist art are very different aesthetically, but equally brilliant. Both can be effective in certain instances, and both can flop. Psychedelic art is about boldness and richness. Minimalist art…just the opposite –stripping a design to its bare essentials.
The Psychedelic art movement, as the name suggests, is visual design inspired by psychedelic experiences while the artists were on hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, psilocybin and mescaline. Psychedelic art was at its height in the 1960s, along with the psychedelic culture and music. It is characterized by bright, bold colors, art nouveau styles, incomprehensible typography, kaleidoscopic patterns and dream-like subject matters.
Psychedelic art went hand in hand with music in the sixties. Most album covers are dream-like inspired. Above is the album cover of “Flowers’ by the Rolling Stones.Psychedelic art started with the perceived notion that an altered state of consciousness created by drugs can be a source of creative inspiration. The philosophy is similar to surrealism, except that surrealism obtained inspiration from dreams, rather than from hallucinations. The art movement quickly spread worldwide. Soon psychedelic art spread to music, fashion, and then the whole 1960’s hippy culture. By the end of the sixties, the advertisers had caught on to the movement and used it to promote their products.
Although psychedelic art was believed to exist only in the sixties, it has experienced a bit of a revival recently in both art and advertising. Psychedelic imagery is great for catching attention through bold colors and typography. If overdone, it can look gaudy and horrible, if done right, it can look tasteful and attractive. Colorful, psychedelic art hints at life, fun, youth and enjoyment.
Minimalism is a trend in art and design where the canvas is stripped down to its utmost core, taking away all the unnecessary elements. Minimalist art’s main philosophy is: ‘Less is More’.
The minimalist style was highly influenced by traditional Japanese design and architecture. It started with the De Stijl movement, a Dutch artistic movement that started in 1917. The artists of the movement used only basic elements like lines and planes, and primary colors like blue, yellow, red and black.
One of the first Minimalist advertisements is the ‘Think Small’ Volkswagen Beetle ad by Julian Koenig. It is considered by Ad Age as the best advertising campaign of the 20th century. The campaign was so successful that not only did it boost sales, but also created the branding for Beetle.
The most famous company today to adopt minimalism is Apple. Steve Jobs is a well-known minimalist. While their competitors try to cramp more and more features into their gadgets, Steve Jobs try to take away unnecessary features. Instead of deciding what to do, Jobs is more keen in deciding what not to do.
Every gadget of Apple screams ‘minimalist’: Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, iPod, iPad, iPhone and the Apple TV. Its purpose is to simplify life, not to impress by packing it with (unnecessary) features.
Minimalism looks clean, simple and fuss-free. Some people praise the trend, yet others call it ‘artistic laziness’. Are we artists really becoming lazy in creating high quality work?
Now, minimalism is not only limited to art. It transcends all facets of life: art, fashion, music, interior design, architecture and even technology. We want to live more with less–not by reducing our wants and needs, but by simplifying and streamlining them.
Psychedelic vs Minimalist in Web Design
Here is a collection of beautiful designs using both the Psychedelic and Minimalist design aesthetic in web design. This will hopefully provide fresh ideas on how to approach your future projects or work.
Psychedelic Web Design
1. Ed Peixoto
Here is a wonderful Psychedelic web site design by the talented Ed Peixoto. It incorporates the usual Psychedelic elements of bold colors and repeating patterns. The site is an embodiment of Ed Peixoto’s design philosophy: I create Flavors. The site is impressive and tastefully done.
Nisgia is a web site created to impress. It is a colorful, interactive Flash-supported site with great ambient music. Nisgia is the online portfolio of John Panagiotou, a graphic designer currently based in Greece.
Studio 7 Designs is colorful and dreamlike, but earthy at the same time. It makes uses elements found in nature, such as the Earth, trees and the Aurora Borealis. The polar bear is even used in the logo. Studio 7 Designs maintained its message in its web design: environment friendly, eco focused and nature based design.
Carbonmade’s web site is not totally psychedelic, but it still incorporates colorful, whimsical and dream like elements. It is child-like, like a doodle from a young kid’s notebook. I personally love their web design, it reminds me of lollipops and cotton candy.
Minimalist Web Design
I like the design and concept of the site–it’s straight to the point. It is minimalist down to its very core: use of white space, limited colors, Helvetica typeface and no images. The site goes all out to show that it wasn’t created to impress. But rather, to provide good fucking design advice.
2. Steven Held
Steven Held’s site is so easy on the eyes. Everything you need to know, the why, the how and the what is there. It makes use of the CMYK color palette, Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, a color scheme familiar to all graphic designers. It’s obvious that the web design concept was carefully thought out.
Olivier Heitz is the portfolio of an interaction designer and art director. Oliver Heitz shows that you don’t need a lot of elements to catch attention. His home page design seems barely finished. It’s the epitome of the minimalist less is more ideology.
Sandra Dussault is another portfolio I enjoyed. The design is simple, but the concept is epic. She based her online portfolio on a sketch pad, where you can see her works as pages ripped from her sketch book. You can even draw your own ideas on her home page! As seen below, The home page has a blank square. I drew a singing girl inside it using a mouse, and it provided me 5 minutes of fun.
Application to Your Art and Design
A little bit of both. Apple’s iPod advertisement series make use of loud colors common in the psychedelic movement, but with only the most vital elements being minimalist.
Less is more. A single, strong picture could say a thousand words.
Why does minimalist design work well? Today’s advertisements, posters, billboards, magazines and web sites are full of color and elements. In this world full of clutter and noise, it can get confusing for consumers. It’s nice to have time for your eyes to rest, time for a breather. Minimalist ads offer you that ‘breath of fresh air,’ providing white space where the viewers eyes can relax. Minimalist ads are quite often very witty, with only one strong subject telling the whole story.
Why is Psychedelic design so effective? Psychedelic art is a great attention grabber. Billboards, web sites, print ads and TV ads with bright colors will instantly turn heads. By using colorful, psychedelic design, the product or brand is seen as fun, vibrant and active.
Psychedelic art used to be a way of life in the sixties. It was the youth’s counterculture. Now, it is not as strong as before, but advertisers have taken a lot of elements from it to sell or promote products.
Now, minimalism is the lifestyle. Whether or not it will last, we do not know yet. Probably not–the world is so fickle nowadays. But for now, minimalism is enjoying a strong and active influence in art, design and life in general.
Psychedelic design is good for:
- Great for target audience with low attention spans, e.g., children and teenagers.
- Billboards and street advertising. Pedestrians and drivers do not have time to look at street advertising for more than a few seconds. You need a bold, wild idea to turn heads in an instant. Using Psychedelic designs are perfect for catching attention in a split second
- Convenience and shopping products. These are products that we use everyday–such as soda, candy or energy drinks. They are also called impulse purchases, or items that you buy without thought or plan. The bolder the color, the more they will ‘pop’ against their competition.
- Products that want to appear young, lively and full of life.
Minimalist design will best apply to:
- Target audience is educated and well informed.
- Advertising medium where viewers have plenty of time to digest the design. This includes magazines, books and web sites.
- Specialty products like cars, designer hand bags, laptops or jewelry. Minimalist design will give more focus to your products and the features.
- Informational web sites. Bright colors and overloaded elements will distract viewers and turn off readers from perusing furthermore.
- Products that want to appear chic, professional and sophisticated.
In regards to the question as to which is better, the answer lies in the client’s intended message and target market. As my examples above show just because you prefer Psychedelic doesn’t mean that people will think you’re youthful or unintelligent, or that if you prefer Minimalism you’re old and very intelligent. There are instances that minimalist design will work better than psychedelic, and vice versa. It requires information, thorough research and common sense to know when and where Psychedelic and Minimalist design will work best.
Next up: Material design guide. Ready? Let’s go!
Everything (Almost) You Need to Know about Material Design
While it is true that Material Design is a reference for a new design language initiated by Google, it is more than just an idea.
Without question, it has caused designers to overhaul their concepts for web and app design procedures. In fact, many websites have already applied material design documentation scheme by Google.
Material Design Defined
Material design is a visual language formulated by the design team of Google. It draws a bead on helping designers come up with apps and websites that are not only practical and usable but are accessible, too. A living document that is available to the public is what inspired this idea. The documentation is regularly updated so that the changes in its scope and technology can be reflected.
“Material design loves and lives the details. Not everybody will like it, but it stands out in its own way and should be respected. Yet whenever we talk about aesthetics and interaction, we ought to have a conversation about performance, too. Even performant animations can prove an enormous bottleneck when every DOM element is supposed to move, animate and transition from one state to another.Performance matters more than ever before and we have to find the delicate balance between smooth interactions and getting content to the user fast. More weight doesn’t mean more wait so we could treat animations as progressive enhancement, acknowledging that the experience isn’t going to match the material design culture for everybody.That’s when responsive animations — the concept we haven’t been thinking about a lot yet — might become important as well (not to be mixed up with animations in responsive design, which can be delightful as well).”
Material Design Goals and Principles
Truth be told, material design revolves around a set of goals and principles that are easier to formulate than to implement. However, this should not be a problem because the essence is more on thinking the design and improving it.
Material Design Goals:
- Come up with a visual language that blends classic principles of an impressive design with the improvement and chance of technology and science.
- Create one underlying system that enables a unified experience on different platforms and sizes, regardless of the device. Mobile guidelines are basic, but touch, voice, mouse, and keyboard are all ﬁrst-class involvement procedures.
Material Design Principles:
1. Material is the metaphor
It is important for the visual cues to be anchored on reality. A material metaphor is the coalescing theory of a rationalized space and a system of motion. The material is anchored on tactile reality and influenced by the study of paper and ink. Despite this, it is technologically advanced and entertains magic or imagination.
The use of common tactile features helps users to fathom affordances fast. Nonetheless, the suppleness of the material gives rise to new affordances that displace those in the physical world, without defying the rules of physics. The essentials of light, surface and movement are vital to the transmission on how objects move, interact, and exist in space and in relation to one another. Truthful lighting shows layers, splits space, and suggests moving parts.
2. Bold, graphic, intentional
Visuals should be guided by the basic design theory, such as the use of color, images, scale, type, grids, and space. They give rise to hierarchy, meaning, and focus.
Measured color choices, edge-to-edge imagery, large-scale typography, and intentional white space make a bold and graphic interface that submerge the user in the experience. A highlight on user actions enables core functionality immediately clears and gives way-points for the user.
3. Motion gives meaning
While there is no denying that moving objects or actions are great, it has to be ensured that they don’t interrupt the user experience in any way. Additionally, there has to be coherence between these animations or moving images and the very essence of the website.
Motion respects and strengthens the user as the major mover. Prime user actions are modulation points that start motion, which results to the overall transformation of the overall design. All actions happen in a single setting. Objects are offered to the user without destroying the continuity of experience despite the transformation and the reorganization. Motion is evocative and fitting, functioning to focus attention and ensure continuity. Feedback is restrained but distinct. Despite being efficient, its transitions are coherent.
“Another amazing thing about Material Design is its dedication and inspiration taken from the real world. Legitimate materials influenced how Material Design was created and developed. (Hence the name.) This is huge because technology can start its track of no longer feeling like technology. Because our hardware is becoming more advanced, the digital world can now slowly start to blur the lines between the real and digital world.”
Material Design vs Flat Design
There are a lot of guiding factors for material design. However, they can be simplified into a wide array of specific ideas and approach. Google has formulated a set of rules on how to make animations, patterns, styles, layouts, usability, and components. You have to take note, though, that the material should be connected with reality, meaning that the objects can be found in a 3D space…well, almost!
As far as the aesthetics are concerned, it borders between the skeuomorphism and the scale of flat design. In contrast to flat design, though, material design widely makes use of the so-called paper shadow. This shadow is meant to act like a sheet of paper lying on a bright surface. It imitates a 3-D presence for a digital object. Perhaps, the most well-known example is the Gmail icon that makes use of lighting effects to make you think of a tangible envelope.
Material Design Color and Typography
The color concepts of material design are pretty much inspired by the flat design trend, which means its color palettes are not only bold but bright, too. Color is inspired by bold color statements contrasted with muffled backgrounds, taking hints from modern architecture, pavement marking tape, road signs, and sports courts. It emphasizes bold shadows and highlights as it merges vibrant and unusual colors. What makes the color concepts of material design interesting is the use of sharp contrast.
The guidelines for typography are just as basic as well since it takes on the same flat theme and simple sans serif. It has a default font for all sorts of applications, Roboto, which comes with a download link and a ladder for the usage of fonts.
Material Design Layout and Design
The basic layout and design structure of material design projects are inspired by print design concepts. Creating and using a baseline grid and mathematical structures for the appropriate placement of elements are strongly encouraged. The layout further simplifies into areas that recommend how and where to put elements for the ultimate user interaction.
Additionally, every idea has a downloadable template for the creation of Android. However, there is a risk for a designer to end up with a design that might be too cookie-cutter, or worse, an app that is undeniably Android. Without question, this can be in the bad graces of people who adore iOS.
Material Design Common Elements
All the elements in material design are detailed definition. Definitely, it is hard to imagine something that is not there.
Here are some of the 19 most common components of material design:
- Bottom sheets – are sheets of material that slide from bottom up to reveal additional content.
- Buttons – either contain an image or text or both in accordance with the color of your app.
- Cards – serve as an introduction to more information
- Chips – contain complex entities, such as a short title string or photo
- Dialogs – its content ranges from text or UI control
- Dividers – this component separates content within page layouts and lists
- Grids – separate similar data, such as images and optimize it for visual comprehension
- Lists – present similar data, like texts and images, and optimize them for reading comprehension
- List controls – these are icons found to the left or right side of the list
- Menus – emerge from buttons and used to choose a discrete action or option
- Pickers – work well for display in a confirmation dialog
- Progress and activity -represent each action with a single activity indicator
- Sliders – let you choose a value from a series of values
- Snack bars and toasts – these are primarily used for system messaging.
- Subheaders – special tiles that describe distinct sections or indicate seams in the material
- Switches – are also called selection buttons and divided into three kinds – checkboxes, radio buttons, etc.
- Tabs – helps you explore between apps and sites much easier
- Text fields – determine the type of character that will be included in the field
- Tooltips – are the labels that appear on hover
If the look of the featured components falls in your good graces, you can even download an Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch file that offers all of the elements and Android system icons. The sticker sheets come complete and include styles that conform to the recommended grid.
“Material design will bring visual and experiential uniformity to Google products across devices, thus strengthening the brand and ultimately the company as a whole while encouraging the continuity principle.Material design will bring Google something it’s lacked for so long—uniformity across products. There are clear contrasts in both user interfaces and user experiences across products like Android, Chrome, and Gmail.”
Material Design Usability, Interaction, and Accessibility
There is no denying that the most successful products are readily available to a wide array of consumers. This can only be possible is a product becomes accessible to all people, regardless of their ability, for as long they can understand it and help them accomplish their goals. In the case of material design documentation, it opens the eyes of the web designers to patterns that can improve interaction, usability, and accessibility.
While it is true that several of the aesthetic properties of material design appear very basic and make the experienced designers raise their eyebrows, it can’t be denied that many of its interaction and usability ideas are never to be ignored. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, the section of its interaction patterns is of great help to designers. It specifies a set of concepts in order to make some elements universal from one design to another. These are some of the simple tools that web users don’t only presume to work but work specifically, too. This is a clear advantage, without question.
One material design documentation that has been outlined and provided with helpful options is accessibility. It provides a great deal of consideration to users that might interact with the design in a way that does not affect the color or sound, among some other things, can appeal to many web users.
Usage of Cards
With material design, content is always offered in cards that use hierarchy, background images and content to offer context and an entry point to a stronger information and outlooks. Without question, cards work well as they are meant to put just the enough amount of information in a compressed overview, which are improved and supported by visual elements. There are many variations of cards, and they depend on the content you want to fill in. However, more often than not, you will need to display an action or give an information in a content block.
10 Material Design Resources
The idea of material design is great, and its guidelines are neat and new. Even if the guidelines seem to be of no use to most experienced designers, as it is most likely that they don’t need this level of guidance, it can’t be denied that it is still awesome. Having said this, it is not really surprising why material design is making its presence felt more and more. You can download several things from Google, but there are many resources that can help you discover more ideas for material design:
Below is the list of some useful material design concept resources:
- Material design for Bootstrap
- Google layout templates for mobile, tablet and desktop frameworks
- Angular.js Material Project
- Polymer Designer
- Material Design Gallery
- Material Interaction
- Materialize Front-End Framework
- Material color palette
- Material design Sketch template
- Material design on Android checklist
Examples of Websites and Mobile Apps that Have Applied Material Design
The concepts outlined in material design have already been embraced by many websites and mobile apps.
Here are five examples that display the principles of material design, demonstrating how designers can employ and tinker with the idea:
Runtastic Running and Fitness. With Runstastic, you can elevate your fitness to a higher level. There is no denying that it is the best free fitness and running app tracker that you can have in your Android device. This app boasts of its GPS to map and take track of your fitness and sports activities. It can, likewise, monitor the duration, elevation change, distance, amount of calories burned, and many more.
What else embodies Material Design but Google itself. Google settings shows the simplicity, neatness, and user-friendliness of the design as well as how to utilize it effectively.
WhatsApp. This messaging app allows you to exchange messages without paying a single centavo for SMS. It is available for Blackberry, Android, iPhone, and Windows phones.
Evil Rabbit is the brand of an Argentinian designer whose work has been featured in Behance and other design websites. One of the things that makes him stand out is how he uses Material Design effectively.
Despite the simplicity of this weather app, it can’t be discounted that it is a great help to its users. It shows the weather forecast in a timeline that helps you glance and understand the information.
Third Party Apps for Material Design
There is no arguing that material design makes Android further elegant as it makes use of flat and consistent shapes that give a sense of depth with shadows, larger white space that improves readability and touch targets, and create transition animations. These are the principles that Google has provided to Android designs, and there are third-party apps that are in congruence with these:
Feedly is one of the most interesting RSS readers. Without question, it is the best successor to the Google Reader, eventually earning the right to be the default for various reading services.
While it is true that Google has its own calculator, Numix can take pride in the fact that it has more powerful capacities. Additionally, it can be customized in more ways than one. It allows you to slide down the screen and see previous tabulations. If you swipe the keys, you can have more advanced functions. Numix also comes with a well-designed widget that you can use on the home screen. This means that you can start your computation right away.
Numix Calculator Pro Price: $1.50
There is no denying that SwiftKey is one of the best Android keyboards. With its recent switch to a freemium model, it now offers a theme store that boasts a ton of keyboard choices. Furthermore, Swiftkey now offers two Material Design keyboards that look similar to the new choices that Google keyboard offers.
SwiftKey Price: $1/theme
While waiting for Twitter to update its app with Material Design, Talon for Twitter has already applied the principles of Material Design, using layers, shadows, and the floating button. Its slide-out menu is of great help for you to get to know your “@ mentions” and lists. Without question, it’s far more sophisticated than what Twitter is on an Android device at the moment.
Talon for Twitter Price: $4
Resources for Beginners to Improve their Material Design Skills
As of this writing, it is obvious that material design is no longer new. Nonetheless, it can’t be denied that it is still as popular as how it was when it was first launched. While it is true that material design has a lot of resources, it doesn’t mean that working on a project that employs it will be a walk in the park. In fact, you may even wonder where and how to begin, especially if you are a newbie.
The following are some of the important resources that you can check out and help you develop or brush up on your material design skills.
While learning the basics of material design is the most logical move that you need to do, sad to say, it is not the easiest. The material design specification from Google is a helpful introduction to the primary goals and principles of material design itself. It details the simple ideas, such as material, material properties, animation, layout, components, elevation, patterns, style, and many more.
Sure, specifications are helpful. Nonetheless, nothing can be more helpful than learning from an extensive tutorial that teaches how to implement specifications. And, speaking of tutorials, it can’t be denied that the Android Getting Started with Material Design tutorial is one resource that you need to check out for in-depth yet comprehensible tutorial. In fact, even web designers who think that they already know material design too well will be surprised that there are still things that they can learn from this tutorial.
This is another highly recommended in-depth tutorial. This focuses on the many aspects of material design, like animations, elevations and shadows, SGV drawables, palette and color extraction, and many more. This tutorial focuses more on the clarification of the specification rather than a tutorial that produces a deliverable and does not contain a code.
This is definitely a must-see for designers who are fond of video tutorials. There are more than 58 video tutorials that you can choose from. Since these video tutorials are in HD, your eyes won’t really be blurred with hazy images. Furthermore, they only last for an average of 10 minutes.
What if They Adapted the Material Design?
“After Google announced Material Design for its Android Lollipop update last year, the world has gone material design mad. Material design not only looks amazing but is also a wonderful design philosophy which is helping developers and designers around the world to imagine designs like never before.”
Since the launch of material design, many popular apps have already adapted this new design philosophy. Furthermore, new apps for Android are coming out in the fashion of material design. However, it can’t be denied that many popular apps are still to embrace this design. Do you ever wonder how they would look like had they implemented material design? Take a look at the concepts of various designers.
The most popular social networking site would be more fun and appealing if it goes for the material design.
Calendar for Desktop
Without question, this calendar app looks elegant whether it’s on a desktop, laptop, or even mobile devices.
This music player looks simply trendy in this material design.
Doesn’t this new design of Windows Explorer look much better than its old one?
In the event that Instagram decides to go for material design, it would be more interesting to share photos!
“Well, the visual components that comprise and characterize Material Design might fade into the annals of design trends. The bold coloring and distinctive FAB will certainly age. The difference is the underlying design philosophies and theories will live on. The thinking behind the delightful animations and material elements will evolve and shape the next generation of user interface design. Like Newton’s first understanding of gravity was challenged and overtaken by relativity, Material Design’s principles will be examined and improved upon. But the credit will still go to Material Design as being the first attempt to provide a design framework for Human/Device interaction.”
Designs, especially those related to technology and trends, are rapidly changing as you can just imagine. Toy with different ideas, but don’t be attached to them. Just like every single design trend, framework or idea, you need to assess if the concept you are entertaining is applicable to the project that you are working on. Hence, if you think that material design is good for your project, go for it and explore the possibilities.
Now a few words about minimalism.
How Minimalist Design Almost Killed Skeuomorphism
Some web design experts opine that the growing popularity of the flat design, otherwise known as the modern minimalist movement brought about by the iOS7 and material design, is causing the slow death of the work of designers in the digital world.
If you draw a comparison between web design and architecture, you will see that the modern minimalist design and the tabula rasa pioneered by the European modern architects at the onset of the 20th century are similar in more ways than one. Before that time, the architects used superfluous and intricate ornamentation associated with the beaux arts, art deco styles, and nouveau arts which were popular for quite some time.
The architects during the early 20th century believed that such ornamentation were no longer relevant and appropriate to the modern times so they embraced new building techniques of concrete, steel, glass, and mass production.
The same thing can be said about web design. Prior to the emergence of flat design, most web designers often incorporated skeuomorphic design with ornamental and overrated features that added aesthetic values to the product they were designing.
While it is true that such ornamental additions made their works more visually appealing, many failed in delivering what web users really want: usability of a product.
When you think of it, the flat or minimalist design is not really new. It is more of a resurrection or re-emergence of modernism utilized in different mediums. In terms of the popularity of minimalist design in UI, it can be said that the shift stemmed from the public expectations years ago.
While it is true that it is important to capture users’ attention with an awesome and detailed design, that shouldn’t be the focus. For many users, the detail should not just be admired, but they also need to be functional.
As expected, not all web designers are ecstatic about the flat and minimalist design. Many are unhappy that the highly detailed and skeuomorphic trend of the past has fallen from its glory. There are even those who looked down on the flat design, stating they cannot fathom how it has gained popularity.
However, skeuomorphic design is not totally out of the picture. In fact, it still has its share of popularity alongside the flat and minimalist flat design. Perhaps, the most notable change is that skeuomorphic design is used more appropriately these days.
If you look at the skeuomorphic and flat design, it is unfair to put more value on one over the other. To a certain extent, it wouldn’t be fair to compare the two in terms of which style shows more character, skill, and meaning. While it’s true that coming up with an app icon these days, for instance, would only use a fraction of the time used to make one in the past, the arduous mental process of creating it remains the same.
Surely, there are some non-formally trained designers who take shortcut these days, thanks to the various free UI kits, self-building websites, and flat design color palettes. However, if you compare their works to the ones done by professionally trained designers, they will surely pale in comparison.
It is true, however, that the emergence of flat design has taken a toll on the perception of craftsmanship significance by some designers. On the other hand, it has also led to the explosion of other aspects of the design process like UX and animation.
So, is this a bad thing? Well, not totally. Nonetheless, it’s a bad thing for designers who lost their jobs because the arrival of flat design has, indeed, simplified the processes involved in web design.
White Space and Minimalism
With more and more companies and web designers embracing the minimal or flat design, it can be said that it is here to stay. Therefore, it is not really surprising why the number of designers also using white for their negative space is on the constant rise.
If you compare the white space to a movie, it can be likened to the supporting actors. It may not be the focus, but it certainly helps in bringing out the best in the main character, making him shine further.
If you are the kind of designer who doesn’t think that there is no need for you to have any blank space in your design, then, you should think again. It’s high time you embraced the mindset that using too many objects in your design can leave it a disaster as each competes for attention with one another.
While it is true that white space influences the aesthetics of a design, it is more than that. In fact, it serves 3 other functions that can surely make your design more effective:
1. Improves Comprehension
It has been proven that white space improves comprehension by as much as 20 %. If your interface is loaded with too much information, how can you expect your user to comprehend everything in it? Therefore, you need to reduce the clutter so that it be easier for your website visitors to comprehend the information that you have placed.
It has been proven that, if you use white space between paragraphs and in the left and right margin, the ability of the user is increased by 20%. This enables you to provide a comprehensible amount of content as the extraneous details are stripped away.
2. Helps in Creating Mental Maps
Apart from improving comprehension, white space also aids your users’ creation of mental maps. Minimal white space is employed between the top navigation and content stream, since both of them have similar functions in leading the user deeper into content.
The right-side navigation is more focused on creating and saving content, so more white space borders it from the content stream. In this case, white space helps users assign various functionalities to different parts of the interface. If users click through to an article, white space helps them focus the content.
3. Attracts Attention
As mentioned above, the absence of other elements will only make existing elements more noticeable. If you add lots of white space to separate the categories from the search function, for instance, the category icons become much more pronounced.
If you combine it with an animation-like color fill that’s triggered upon hovering, the category section becomes further noticeable and can successfully call users to action. Nonetheless, you should know when to reduce or alter the spacing between content because users have selective attention.
Four Major Elements of White Space
White space has four elements, namely:
- Visual white space – the space surrounding the graphics, icons, and images
- Layout white space – this includes the margins, paddings, and gutters.
- Text white space – the spacing between lines and letters
- Content white space – the space that separates columns of text.
Medium is one example of an impressively nice balance of all four elements of white space. Users want to access the content that interests them as quickly as possible. Medium’s homepage makes this possible by placing the content in the center and the front, emphasized by lots of white space on both sides.
The visuals and the between lines of copy also abound with white space. The minor issue here is that the padding around the images is not uniform as the space found at the left of each image is not consistent with their space below.
White Space and Human Attention and Memory
The power of white space, to a certain extent, is influenced by human attention and memory. If you compare the interfaces of Yahoo and Google, you will notice that Yahoo offers its users many possible actions all at once. On the other hand, Google just knows that the main reason why people use search engines is because they just want to find things that they need or want. It goes without saying that Google’s design is more realistic as it encourages a more interactive interaction.
Taking Advantage of Minimalism in Web Design
The lightweight layouts and low maintenance of minimalism make it flexible for a responsive design that it is naturally elegant. Hence, it is not surprising why many brands have embraced it.
However, appreciating minimalism and recreating it are not synonymous with each other. Some people think that copying a minimalist style because of its sparse elements is easy. The truth is designing a minimalist site requires a lot of thinking and effort because designers only have a few elements to work with.
So, how do you use minimalism and take full advantage of it?
You need to understand that, popular as it may be these days, minimalist design is not for everybody. You first need to honestly assess if this style is the right thing for your website. While the technique works great for straightforward businesses, like agency sites and creative portfolios, it becomes trickier for more complex sites.
Here are some of the common concerns about the minimalist design:
Too Much Content
This problem is best exemplified by Amazon and eBay. A minimalist interface is not suited for these sites as they need a more detailed one that can support each of their categories. Nonetheless, both Amazon and eBay have adapted some of the principles of minimalism, like hiding the content if a user does not need it. Hence, if your site offers a lot of content, going for a minimalist design may not just be the right thing to do.
On the whole, paid ads and minimalism don’t go hand in hand. Since minimalism is precise and finicky, the entire design of your website may be ruined by petty things, such as the ads color, especially if you have no control of the things that come from the ads server. How about if the ad is pre-set? There is that danger of the ad not being compatible with your design.
If your website caters to children or young adults, never ever make a mistake of going for a minimalist design. Bear in mind that children and young adults have a short attention span and a minimalist design will easily bore them. Remember, those who belong to this bracket prefer something more visual to stimulate their senses,
Before going for minimalism design, you need to understand that it works by applying a particular set of criteria that sets it apart from other styles. Hence, you need to contemplate carefully before deciding to go for it.
Valuable Guidelines for Minimalism
- Landing Page Only. Since minimalism restricts the use of many elements, content-rich websites are at risk if they adapt this design. The best thing that these sites can do, if they really want to use the minimalist approach, is to apply the minimalist landing page that will eventually lead customers to more detailed pages of the site.
- Crisp Copy. Few words, few mistakes. Remember what your writing teacher constantly reminds you about omitting those superfluous words in your elementary writing class? Well, you should apply that reminder even more if you decide to go for a minimalist design.
- Heavy at the Top. To sync with the users’ browsing habit, you need to place your high-level content at the top section of the screen. Make sure to provide lots of white space. As the scroll deepens, gradually increase the density of the content.
- Keep It Interesting. Holding the interest of your visitors or users is the biggest challenge of going for minimalism. While it is true that simplicity is beauty, not everybody subscribes to this belief. At times, the simplicity of your site because of its minimalist design can bore your visitors or users. One way to address this concern is to change your layout. You can go for alternating layouts that run along the Z-shaped reading pattern.
- One Concept Per Page. In order to adhere to the concept of simplicity, make sure that each page of your site should only have one concept, zeroing in on a single visual.
- Don’t Go Beyond Five. The content section for a minimalist concept should not go beyond 5. If you have more than 5 sections, make sure to remove the less important ones.
- Start simple. This is a very good way for you to identify what’s important and what’s not. Start with a black and white wireframe, then inject other things like color at the latter part
Knowing what to keep and what to throw can be quite a challenge if you are new to applying minimalism. To make things easier for you, here’s the list of the things that you should consider as essentials and throwaways:
- Navigation options
- Body content
- Contact information.
- Social media links/icons
If you can’t let go of those listed on the throwaways, then, maybe you should not go for the minimalist design. On the other hand, if you have no issues with letting go of any of the mentioned, you can expect yourself to get better at knowing what really matters and what doesn’t as you continue to embrace minimalism. That will not only benefit you as a minimalist designer but your life, in general, too.
Integrating Minimalism in Other Styles
One of the many good things about minimalism is that it can look good when combined with other styles that result in a stronger and better style or technique. This is especially true these days, when mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are prevalent.
If a minimalist style is used in conjunction with other styles, it can help a design become more fully-responsive, reducing a site’s maintenance without sacrificing its quality.
Here are some of the other styles that are commonly paired with minimalism:
- Flat Design.Since both flat design and minimalism have a shared emphasis on simplicity, there is no denying that they are a perfect combination. Both minimalism and flat design have let go of intrinsic designs in order to focus more on the content.Furthermore, the basic style of flat design is already minimalistic, hence, it is often equated to a minimalistic design, just like what is mentioned in the earlier part of this article.
- Hero Headers and Images. Despite the popularity of flat design, there are some sites that have shifted away from the trend and embraced another, which zeroes in on an image-focused style.Since these large photos and images are already enough to gather attention to them, a page or the site itself no longer needs to be further intricate. Hence, pairing it with a minimalist style is the most sensible thing to do so that competition for the users’ attention can be avoided.
- Simple Navigation. This simply means that you can simplify the navigation by using a single button, such as the hamburger icon, which, in turn, only reveals the complete navigation menu if it is hovered over or clicked by a user.Nonetheless, bear in mind that this strategy is not for everybody. If things are oversimplified, they might defeat the purpose of navigation, especially if users fail to recognize the buttons.
- Dramatic Typography. More often than not, words are part of the essentials of a minimalist screen. Hence, typography is taken to a new level of importance in a minimalist design. In fact, typography plays an important role in a minimalist site to define its personality.
What a Minimalist Design Can Do to Your Business
If you have a business-related website, should you totally go for a minimalist design or combine it with other styles? There is no reason for you not to do so. In fact, more and more business-related websites have benefitted from a minimalist design because of the following reasons:
1. No room to play loose. With a minimalist design, you don’t have room to play loose. Every element on the page is considered and is there for a good purpose. You can’t afford to be undecided on what to include on it. You have to be short and concise in order to deliver your message well.
2. Faster page loading. One thing about a minimalist website is that you have lesser resources. This means that you don’t really need a big storage space for your server. This averts the overloading of your server with big file videos, flash, or other less relevant content.
It also means that your business website will not be slowed down with hundreds of plugins, resulting in you’re the faster loading of your page. The faster your page loads, the faster your users get what they want and be called to action.
3. Less clutter equals better conversion. Since your page has less clutter, it is a lot easier for your page’s USP (Unique Sales Proposition) to be noticed. The more noticeable it becomes, the higher your conversion rate you have.
While it is true that minimalism has cost some designers their job, it does not really signal the fall of designers. Instead, designers should look at it as their new way, possibility, or technology in this new era of design.
Reduced loading time. Easier responsive design.
These are just some of the advantages of a minimalist design. If your site is qualified to all of the things discussed above, don’t you think it’s high time that you reimagined it? You will find out that letting go of the things that have little importance to your website is actually not that difficult to do.