What’s Next: Minimalism vs. Maximalism in Web Design
For years, minimalism in web design has reigned supreme. Whether it’s for reasons of usability, user experience or aesthetics – a simplistic approach to web design is both recognizable and appealing to modern tastes. Recently, however, taking note from other high design industries, a ‘more is more’ philosophy has taken shape. Both taking cues from fashion, interior design and film, minimalism and maximalism are complex initiatives that must be applied appropriately for the brand being represented.
Maximalism Goes Digital
A bridge to experiential design, maximalism allows for a variety of color, font, pattern and vast visual elements. While this may sound like too many elements all in one, a maximalist approach can be highly effective in authentically representing a brand. When done well, the resulting interface can result in an impactful and often impressive experience. A maximalist approach is about decadence, fantasy and the creation of another world. Taking the user out of their day to day existence, and into a tapestry of rich design and unfolding story.
Trending toward efficiency, designers and content strategists have made it their business to follow the rules of simplicity by paring down both visual and contextual elements to reveal an experience that is visually easy to understand and straightforward. Characterized by a limited color palette, an abundance of ‘white space’ and clean typography – minimalist interfaces allow users to easily focus on specific parts of a design and hone in on products or service advantages rather than being distracted by imagery and interactivity. A minimalist approach is seen as fresh, modern, sleek and often high-end.
The Right Pattern
With modernism and simplicity being so prevalent in web design, a maximalist design can be certain to capture attention. Simplicity, though stripped down to the basics, can also be one of the hardest approaches to get right, particularly due to the fact that editing content and visuals down the bare essentials is no easy feat. Maximalist designs give the user access to any and all information available about the company or product, holding nothing back. Their downfall, though, can be that the material becomes overwhelming. When well designed they can work incredibly well for conversion purposes.
While there are no hard and fast rules to either simple or complex web design methodology, the design must be applied appropriately to the brand to leverage its strength and resonate with the right audience.1