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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Design Concepts 305 - Lessons In Minimalism

Minimalism: "design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect." This is the definition that dictionary.com gives us.  Some might say that to be minimalist is to be plain, but I say it's a path directly to usability.  And who says minimalism has to be boring anyway?

What I have here for you is a study in minimalist blogs.  By studying some of the more awesome minimalist designs out there on the web today, we can perhaps begin to understand what this style is about and how we can use it to our advantage in our own blogs.

1)  First take a look at Castles In The Air.  This blog looks crisp and clean, and by using fewer elements such as widgets, this blog author has emphasized her posts and bio.  The title and bio picture are crisp and colorful, giving life to the blog, and photos used in the posts bring color and life to it as well.  While there are less elements, the post area is still defined from the sidebar area with shadows, and the blog still looks like a fun read.

2) Next check out Quality Peoples.  For such a simplistic blog layout, it sure does have a lot of spirit, defined by the photos and videos within that make up the content of this blog.  The photos, while colorful, all have the same 'washed out' feel to them, bringing unity to the blog along with the washed out background image.  The floating sidebar is also a nice touch, and the second I saw this blog, I knew it had to go on the list.

3) Becoming Minimalist is one of those ultra minimalist blogs where not even the sidebar is well defined, and yet the design still works wonderfully.  Pages are displayed in the sidebar rather than as tabs, and when you have virtually nothing else in the sidebar, the pages become easy to find and use.  With designs like this there is still plenty of room to display one or two ads in the sidebar without cluttering up the design.

4) Be More With Less has page tabs at the top of the page in a bold font which draws attention to them. The banner fits perfectly with the color scheme and topic of the blog, and there is still room in the sidebar for a search field, subscribe buttons, an advertisement for their book, categories, and popular posts.

5) Minimal Student uses color and a hand drawn theme to define their blog and make it stand out from the rest.  Their hand drawn feel gives this minimalist blog some personality and life.

6) I love the color use on Momentum Gathering.  Sometimes a minimalist blog can start to feel flat if there is nothing to define it's personality, but the folks over at Momentum Gathering have spiced it up with bright, fun colors.  Even the subscribe buttons are bright and fun!

In summary, the three things I'd like you to take away from this post are:
1) Minimalistic designs can allow you to draw attention to the more important aspects of your blog, such as the posts.

2) Minimalism doesn't have to be boring, and in fact can be savvy, colorful, and exciting.

3) Minimalistic designs can entice readers to come in and stay awhile because the blog feels crisp, clean, and useable.

Even if you don't have or don't want to have a minimalistic design, you can learn how to pair down your blog a little to have less of the non-essentials, allowing you to make your posts or important info more prominent.

To learn more about making your blog look great, check out some of our other articles!


Cool, thanks so much for the mention. I love those other blogs.

These are great examples! I have been working on trying to design a header for my blog so I don't have to use a solid color block anymore. I love the look, but sometimes it drives me nuts!

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