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When Less is More: 5 Minimalist Design Tips

March 11, 2015

Familiar Face

Look back at the iconic designs of the 20th century and you’ll notice that the majority of products, brands, and advertisements have something in common: they’re all very simple.

 From Nike’s iconic logo to Apple’s clean and simple products, many of the world’s best designs aren’t cluttered with visual activity, but light and simple with only the essential design elements included.

In the world of design, less is often more. From advertisements to logos, including the bare minimum in your design often makes it more eye-catching and effective than including more than what you really need. 

In this guide, we’ll share five minimalist design tips that you can apply to design simpler and more effective business cards, direct mail postcards, brochures, logos and much more.


Pair a clever message with simple delivery

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When your message is smart, engaging and effective, who says your design needs to be anything more than the bare minimum? If you have an interesting slogan or great marketing message, make that the focus of your design.

Many of the world’s best logos are little more than plain text on a white background, with the message as the focal point instead of style. Pair a clever, effective message with basic design and delivery and you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.


Focus on function, not just on aesthetics

Some of the world’s best products have minimalistic, simple designs. Calendars are designed to show nothing more than days, weeks, or months, making them ideal for productivity. Wristwatches are all about three hands, not flashy extra features.

Interestingly, almost all of the world’s iconic products – from the Sony Walkman to the Dyson vacuum cleaner – put function ahead of aesthetics, creating a unique and iconic look that people remember in the process.


Design first, then remove non-essentials

Are your designs naturally a little more cluttered and busy than they really need to be? Don’t worry – lots of designs are far from perfect at first draft, but it’s simple to make them better.

Start by designing without limitations, then remove any non-essential elements. For example, text that doesn’t serve a purpose or a transparent background. Once your design is complete, make it minimalistic, simple, and easier to take in.


Use white space to make your message stand out

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Sometimes, it’s better to not use space than to use it. White space – the empty space on your page between words, images and other design elements – makes it easier to read the important content that’s on your page.

From leaving a large white margin around your name on a business card to putting your logo on an all-white background to make it stand out, use white space to your advantage to make your message stand out from the rest of your design.


Tell people who you are and what you do

Minimalism doesn’t just have aesthetic benefits – it also has serious benefits for the effectiveness of your marketing. If your business uses minimalist design, try using a minimalist approach to copy as well.

Break your message down using this simple formula: Who are you, and what do you do? A simple message paired with a minimalist design tells people exactly what you are about without the visual or written “fluff” that’s typical of lots of marketing.