A Brief Look at the History and Present of Minimalist Web and Graphic Design

Everywhere you turn, there is something or other designed with minimalism at its core. It is one of the most influential styles today – from design to architecture, to music and literature. But one sector which has been the most influenced one by minimalism is graphic design. Today, the minimalist culture is an excellent option for pretty busy and unnecessarily overloaded designs, logos and ads markets.

Minimalist design

A minimalist design can be considered to be a visual scheme with simplicity at its core. Designers include only the essential elements for function. The art form almost always emphasises on dismantling the excess and placing the remaining elements to provide maximum empty spaces. Crucial elements such as typography and colour are also used with simplicity. Amount of colours is kept as low as possible, and typefaces such as Helvetica are used. Get in touch with SEO Gold Coast for quality graphics, web and SEO services.

With the market giants focusing more on user interface and experiences, the designers and web developers are thriving to ensure that their design/site is easily perceivable. The solution lies in the design of minimalist graphic. And thus, with the exponential growth of the internet, the growth of minimalist culture rises.


The origin of minimalism can be traced back to following three periods: De Stijl Movement (‘De Stijl’- Dutch for ‘the style’)-Also known as neoplasticism, it was an artistic movement in the Netherlands which began in 1917 and faded around 1931. It was led by Theo Van Doesburg who advocated simplified visual compositions (graphic design) to the vertical and horizontal directions and use of only primary colours (including black and white).

Architect Van Der Rohe– With the principle that “Less Is More”, he pioneered the use of simple looking materials with an easy framework and incorporating empty voids.

Japanese Design Culture– With its simplicity and clean forms, Japanese culture of design is considered to be another predecessor of minimalism.

While all the three eras coined the same culture, it was De Stijl Movement along with Bauhaus movement of modernism and minimalist design followed by the introduction of the typeface Helvetica, which pioneered a solid base for a minimalist form of graphic design. Bauhaus school in Germany pioneered development in designs that were less lavish, simple and more appealing. Helvetica (meaning ‘Swiss’ in English) was designed by Swiss typeface designer Max Mie Dinger in 1957 with input from Eduard Hoffman while working in Haas Type Foundry. It was developed with an emphasis on simplicity to match the minimalist trend at that time. It became a hallmark of International Typographic Style and is extensively used by a big share of the corporate world even today.

Basic Techniques in minimalist graphic design

While institutes are foregoing formal classes in minimalist design, here are the most basic factors of the field.

Color choices– In such designs, amount of colours should be minimum. Usually, single accent colours are used mostly as it keeps the design simple. However, the colours with greater contrast are used. Thus more designers choose bold and bright colours.

Minimalist layout- The main crux of a layout lies in the fact that contents must be laid out in such a way that the viewer can find what they need without much thought. Google layout is an excellent example of such layout.

White space– Empty spaces give more importance/ strength to small quantities of information which are surrounded, and that’s why it serves to form a design in a balanced and impactful way.

Fonts-Typeface is an essential aspect of graphic design. Simpler and clearer fonts tempt the viewer psychologically to examine the message displayed to them. That is the reason that Helvetica was a success. But over- minimalism (like that of Brad Ulrich’s experiment) may be a disaster. A designer must balance between minimalism and clarity.


Benefits of minimalism are not only confined to user satisfaction but also to better operations and efficient information sharing. Psychologically, it provides the user better temptation to go through the design and information which is displayed. Surveys have proved that minimalist design depicts trust, organised nature and clarity. These factors have led to a better, more significant, more competitive and more creative environment for graphic design in such fashion. But on the other hand, it also provides an impression that the job of creating minimalist designs requires less effort, while the truth is opposite. There has to be decision-making about what to include and what to leave, a new way of looking at things and find ways to simplify; it is just like solving a Fourier Integral.

It is one of the design trends that never get old. Its simplicity makes it easy to incorporate into some other styles and trends. It is classic and classy. The minimalist graphic design will continue to take over the website, app and what-not. It will evolve and change, but the roots will remain, i.e., less is more.