How does a minimalist approach affect graphic design?

Our online digital marketing experts here at PENNInk Productions have written previously about the benefits that a minimalist website design can have for many brands, including improved compatibility across many different devices, and greater ease of maintenance.

What about minimalism in graphic design? What characteristics or elements does a minimalist graphic design approach have?

Here we have set out just a few of the things you can expect from minimalist graphic design.

Purposeful

A lot of people presume that a minimalist aesthetic – whether in graphic design or elsewhere – is a simple one. And it certainly can be simple… however, it is also not an ethos that aims for simplicity for simplicity’s sake.

Instead, it is a highly utilitarian approach that is about intent. Each of the various elements of minimalist graphic design – whether used across a brand’s website, social media pages, or even printed materials such as posters and flyers – has a purpose in its appeal to the viewer.

If a graphic designer is aiming at a minimalist design and there are certain elements of the design that are not strictly necessary, those elements may be removed.

Emphasis on space and balance

The extensive use of open white space is one of the things that many of us most associate with minimalist design.

Going back to our earlier point about purpose, such white space isn’t left in the design for its own sake. Instead, the emphasis is on minimising the ‘noise’ that might otherwise distract the viewer in more crowded designs, and on achieving balance and harmony in the overall design.

The general rule is that for every ‘heavy’ element in a given piece of minimalist design, there should be something to balance it out to ensure the viewer is not left overwhelmed or disorientated.

A banner image on a website, for instance, might use bold text or striking photography, but then balance this out with plentiful white space around the borders of the image, or between lines of text.

Limited colour palette

There is a bit of a stereotypical perception of minimalism as being about muted or even monochromatic designs – think just black and white, or even shades of grey and beige.

But that’s not quite true, as minimalist graphic design can definitely embrace bright and bold colours. Again, though, it’s all about purpose. A minimalist design will use such colours in a limited way to serve the broader design, rather than for their own sake.

The most capable minimalist graphic designers will therefore be knowledgeable about colour psychology – in other words, the associations that certain colours have with certain emotions. Of course, if you are working with such a graphic designer to help achieve the right look for your brand, you should probably also swot up a little on colour psychology.

Hopefully the above will have given you a sense of what minimalism involves in graphic design, which should leave you feeling better informed in your work with a graphic designer for your business. Don’t forget, too, that a single design doesn’t necessarily have to be solely minimalist, as a decision might be made to include maximal elements, such as busier colour and photography.

Would you like to discuss this aspect of your business branding and aesthetic approach or any of our other areas of expertise? If so, it’s a quick and simple process to call our online digital marketing experts at PENNInk Productions today, on 020 8144 7931.

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