Trends come and go from season to season. One thing that never goes out of style is classic, minimalistic design. You can also use a simple, beautiful website to showcase the latest trends here and there without changing the underlying look of your pages.
There are approximately 1.8 billion websites in the world. To grab the attention of users, you must compete against all the other brilliantly designed sites, social media, texts, phone calls, in-person conversations and a million other little things. A stellar site is your chance to stand out.
If you love the minimalist look, there are numerous things to keep in mind that create an amazing user experience (UX). Here are our favorite simple beautiful website must-haves.
1. Select a Limited Color Palette
Nielsen Norman Group looked at 112 minimalist websites and found 95% of the sites featured monochromatic or limited colors. Simple websites stick to one color in various shades. They might also go with neutrals, such as black and white, and then add a single pop of color to draw attention.
You will rarely see bold colors with this style. Earthy tones, muted colors and neutral shades rule the day.
MAKR is a design studio creating goods from natural materials such as leather. The simple grid layout of their design utilizes colors you’d find in nature with a black and white palette. Note how the images within each box tend to use earth tones.
2. Find Flat Patterns
Most minimalist websites turn to flat patterns and textures. You won’t see three-dimensional features or anything to distract from the main purpose of the site.
A few years ago, flat icons were all the rage and inspired by minimalist design. However, today you might see similar illustrations and photos to keep websites basic but gorgeous.
3. Limit Features
A beautiful and simple website doesn’t have loads of features or ways for the user to engage with the site. Instead, the focus is on one or two amazing offers. The minimalist designer fully understands the purpose of the page and seeks to push the user through the sales funnel in a singular direction.
Consider only what you must have to create an effective site, such as navigation and a call to action (CTA) button. Cut the clutter to keep your design uncomplicated.
Tinker Watches sticks to a monochromatic color scheme. Their navigation offers only the bare minimum, and they have a single CTA button above the fold. Even the images on the landing page are honed in on the watches and nothing else.
The website designer cut any additional clutter. When someone lands on their site, they know what the brand sells and can focus on a limited selection to get right to what they want. There are no distractions.
4. Use Big, Beautiful Images
One thing that makes sites gorgeous is the photographs used. When you limit the number of items on a website, people will naturally gravitate to the visuals.
There is an old saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words. It’s true you can say a lot more with an image than words alone. People also retain information better when you add relevant photos to your message.
However, smartphone screens and computer monitors have much higher resolution than ever before. If you want to grab attention, you must use crisp, sharp images that tell a story. At the same time, avoid busy photos with a lot of unnecessary noise.
5. Embrace White Space
Minimalistic design embraces negative space. Don’t feel you have to fill every section on the page to make the most of the space.
White space gives the human eye a break from all the noise. It can be used to draw attention to a boxed section or invite the user to scroll down the page to the next action.
Consider adding as much white space as possible to help you cut anything you don’t need.
Kettle features a ton of negative space. When you first land on their page, you see the logo in the upper left corner, a hamburger menu in the upper right and an animated graphic that segues into an image.
The purpose of the site is clear and to the point. They are an agency working on various projects and highlight some of those without going into so much detail the user grows confused. There isn’t anything to distract the site visitor from the purpose of the page.
6. Add Amazing Typography
Once you embrace negative space and limit the number of elements on a page, you have room to get a bit more creative with the fonts you use. One thing most simple, beautiful websites have in common is the use of amazing typography.
Perhaps you create a hand drawn font specifically for the brand. There are also a ton of useful fonts available you can tap into. Many companies now use animated typography to draw attention to vital headlines and information.
7. Choose a Grid Layout
Most simple, beautiful designs utilize a grid layout. This keeps everything neat and within its own space. It also allows you to add additional white areas between boxes.
While a grid layout works well for minimalistic design, you can also choose geometric shapes and still keep things basic. For example, you might have triangular boxes that sit next to one another.
Think of your layout like a puzzle. You want pieces without anything and pieces with one element each.
Is Your Website Beautiful?
How can you know if your simple, beautiful website design works for your users? Start by running some split tests. Try different layouts and elements and see which your audience responds best to.
You should also survey your regular customers. Is your site lacking anything? Do heat maps show people aren’t using a particular section on your landing page?
In an ideal world, you will constantly change and revamp your site little by little until you hit the perfect mix for the time being. A beautiful site is one that works for your users and meets the objectives you have for your brand.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dog, Bear.