The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.Hans Hoffman
Minimalism is currently a growing trend in design, becoming popular with brands both old and new, and for good reason! Simply put, it allows designers to focus solely on the important bits by cutting out unnecessary elements. It’s basically the design equivalent of decluttering a busy room.
In Marketing, design has various forms and functions. Collateral has to look impressive and eye-catching, but it also needs to serve a purpose and communicate a message. Minimalism is a superb way of achieving both simultaneously.
Take the examples below, both products are the same but each utilises a different design style:
Clarity in Design
The above examples demonstrate how a minimalist approach can affect how we perceive a product. The Ordinary, whilst containing no graphical elements whatsoever manages to look more sophisticated than the Benefit branded example. Benefit have adopted a more colourful and illustrative style for their packaging, but it’s unclear (to anyone unfamiliar with the brand) what the illustration alludes to, is the city tied to Benefit’s heritage? The design choice isn’t immediately clear. On the other hand, The Ordinary packaging is defined completely by the brand. This is evident not just in this product, but the company’s entire range. A strong use of typography and careful compositional choices help the brand to stand out without ever resorting to an overabundance of colour and imagery. Minimalism often exploits a number of other different design principles:
- Geometry – Minimalism often fixates around the use of shapes. Circles, squares and uninterrupted lines are all prominent within this style of design.
- White space – The use of white space is one of the most obvious aspects in minimalism. Concepts should be clean and clutter free, focusing only on the key aspects of the design.
- Typography – By omitting most (if not all) graphics from the design, minimalism focuses on the use of typography to convey a message or communicate an idea.
Keep it Clean!
Packaging aside, minimalism can also be used to great effect at trade shows or exhibitions. Stands and banners can often be very tricky to design, and more often than not, it comes down to balance. The tips below can help you to gain a better understanding on how to design your artwork:
- Consider your image (if it’s even needed!) – This one is vital. If you’re planning on using an image as part of the design, consider the size as it may look great on-screen, but the story can be very different when blown-up to full size. Image formats like JPEG and PNG are raster-based meaning they will pixelate when enlarged, resulting in a visible loss of quality. Given that your stand is supposed to be eye-catching this definitely wouldn’t make the best first impression. If you’re considering a more graphical route, opt instead for vector-based formats like EPS or AI. These formats can be enlarged to ANY size with no loss of quality. Always keep your visual elements nice and sharp!
- Use text sparingly! – This is another common mistake. Exhibition stands are supposed to be eye-catching, giving you a glimpse of the brand and conveying just the right amount of content to intrigue. It takes seconds to walk past a stand, too much text and the viewer/reader will lose interest very quickly. If you’re keen to include content, ensure it’s concise and straight to the point (bullet points are a great way of communicating your message)
- Composition is key! – When designing banners and stands, always consider your composition (which element sits where and the reasoning behind this) For example, you wouldn’t opt to position a key service or brand logo near the bottom of the artwork as this needs to be seen instantly. Aim to position your most important elements at eye level or slightly above.
Above all else, minimalism is a concept built around clarity. Here, design shouldn’t be cluttered with distractions or unnecessary elements but should instead have a clear focus. You may want to elevate your brand or communicate a key message, adopting a minimalist approach will help you to design not only with style but with purpose.