Web design – minimalism vs maximalism

Web design is all about trying to achieve the best user experience using the most relevant features and functionality. Design approaches boil down into two opposing extremes – minimalist and maximalist. Minimal design has grown pervasive; it has almost become the baseline for web design. However, this has naturally sparked an opposition advocating for ‘more is more’, which seems like a blast from the past inspired by retro web designs. Let us take a look at the pros and cons for each end of the scale, and when to choose one over the over.

Minimalistic design

Minimalism involves stripping away all the unnecessary elements and only focusing on the important features. This approach goes by the saying ‘less is more’.

The principles of minimalistic web design include:

• Flat patterns and textures
• Limited colour palette
• Large predominate images
• Hidden navigation objects
• Linearly organised visuals
• Prominent typography

Pros and cons

The user can focus on the essential aspects of the website since there are barely any distractions. Due to the limited features, the site is easy to navigate, optimise loading speed and friendly to SEO web crawlers. On the downside, the black spaces can be uninspiring and cold, making it difficult to project your brand and build relationships with visitors. A minimalistic web page often feels distant and sterile.

Maximalist design

This type of web design is particularly favoured by Asian websites developers, especially Japanese. However, lately, the trend has caught on with the rest of the world. The phrase ‘less is more’ is the enemy here – ‘more is more’ is the favoured term.

Some key features you’ll find on a maximalist web page are:

• Densely crowded text
• Several small pictures
• Animations
• Contrasting colours
• Multiple layout schemes
• Typography mashup
• Several layers
• Live elements

Pros and cons

This design is filled with fun and engaging content elements that can build up a massive following and drive up conversion rates. Brands can share stories and build collaborative relationships with visitors. However, maximalist design can sometimes be a bit off-putting to new users and frustrating to navigate. It may seriously affect user experience and SEO ranking, which is quite a big risk.

Which is better?

Each design is useful in its own right. It all comes down to the appeal you want to portray, the business model, and the target traffic. For example, if you trade in grand pianos, a minimalistic approach is better, but if you sell discounted merchandise, a maximalist design is right for you. Many online businesses opt to find a middle ground by merging principles from both designs to draw the best of both worlds.

If you are still on the fence about which design is suitable for your business, get in touch with us, and we will answer any questions regarding web design and web development. We are a bespoke web design company in the UK creating custom websites and software for businesses.