What is Minimalism and Minimalist Design?
Quite simply, minimalists live in white cubes and own nothing. We want for nothing, we lust for nothing, and we live in a void free of hangups, intention, our anything dear. Minimalists feel a tremendous amount of pain with the thought of acquiring a new object.
If you believed that, you're ridiculous. However, all of those things are reasons I've heard from my peers to defend why they "could never be a minimalist."
Being a minimalist doesn't have anything to do with depriving yourself, making do, or going without. It means living with what you need. If your passion is philately (stamp collecting), then you need stamp mounts, magnifiers and other philatelic supplies. You don't have to go without those things because you're a minimalist.
In today's society, the value we assign to things and the quantity of things we have is a little bit misaligned.
In the city where I live, there is a self-storage building on every third corner. Some people have a legitimate need to store excess goods, but the majority of people are using these facilities because they have so many possessions that they can't fit them within their primary living quarters. Proof of this can be found in the phenomenon that is reality TV Storage Wars, Auction Hunters, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, etc. The list goes on and on.
Minimalism means being purpose driven and allows you to be more mindful of the decisions you make surrounding the things you own.
As it Relates to Design
These are the principals I like to bring to UI, UX and aesthetic. Minimalism is all about questioning which elements add value. By clearing away the clutter, it's easier to make room for the things that are truly important. For instance, I like to do mock-ups in black and white before considering colour.
There are 17 laws of user experience (UX). Rule four—Jakob's Law—states that "users spend most of their time on other sites." This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.
Crazy, weird navigations and wacky, distracting animations are fine to a certain point before they become annoying and drive people away.
The Competitive Advantage
Working in this manner has done 3 things:
It's helped me to grow as a person, realizing that I can live with less and not rely on a desk job to keep up with the Kardashians;
it's helped me reclaim time by eliminating tasks that add little value; and
create more in a shorter amount of time by designing purposefully rather than extravagantly.
For me, creating more means more money in the bank and a growing portfolio that casts a wider net with every completed project. Win-win.
I design clean minimal websites because, in my mind, minimalism intersects with sophistication in a really beautiful way.
If a client requests a profusion of opulent decoration and unnecessary extras, I have no problem suggesting that I may not be the right designer for the job.
Minimalism is right for me because I've found a way to make it right for me, and it can be for anyone. I wrote this article, mostly for me, to explain what it is to those who ask and why I try as much as possible to integrate the principals of minimalism into my life and my business.
If you find yourself interested in a broader understanding of minimalism check out this blog from The Minimalists.