A Design Take on MINIMALISM
Authored by: Rachel McCormick, Account Executive
One morning over my holiday break, I perched up on my sofa with a steaming cup of coffee and did what any millennial would do, turned on Netflix. A new documentary caught my eye called MINIMALISM: A Documentary about the Important Things. In 2016, I saw a large push towards this trend, or what the documentary called a movement, with the popularity of tiny houses, nomadic travelers, and articles and TED talks of “successfully” wealthy people who found happiness only when they gave it all up. Though the documentary took many stabs towards the marketing and advertising world, I appreciate the concepts it explored, and saw lots of comparisons when thinking about design. My title is not designer, but working alongside talented creatives, I have picked up a few things over the years. The most important being that everything must serve a purpose.
The concept behind minimalism is about taking away things in your life, mostly material things, that don’t bring value. For example, the collection of CD’s that you have replaced with Spotify, or clothes that you haven’t worn in years. This idea of possessing things that ultimately contribute to your daily happiness can be explained as living deliberately. Design is the same way. The best designs that make the most impact are generally seamless. There is no more or less added to the page. This enables the design to communicate fluently and with ease to the viewer. It teeters closer towards the genuine than the manipulative, and expresses a clear meaning, or a deliberate meaning. It is easy for clients to request more information, larger logos, and stuff they believe is important for a consumer to know. But to make an impression, the best way is to stray clear of clutter and cut the fat in design, say what truly matters and no more.
The documentary focused on how minimalism is a revolution against Americans consumerist attitude. And design plays a huge role in making minimalism work. There was a portion in the movie that looked at tiny houses and multi-functional apartment spaces. It takes a lot of innovation and design to come up with these solutions of living. It is analyzing the scope of your life and determining where things fit. It is thoughtful design. I think any designer can appreciate this control over the environment, and again, keeping items that serve a purpose.
There is beauty in the simple, and I think more companies are realizing it. It is about communicating in as few words as possible, or even with a single image. Google is the ultimate role model. Their classic white screen with a single search bar is iconic, and they have brilliantly used their distinctive search bar in their advertising. Check out Google’s Year in Review and see this minimalist advertising approach in action.
With the New Year, I would recommend watching Minimalism. It is a breath of fresh air and a reflection of how living with less can make a big impact on your life. I am curious to see if this movement continues to evolve branding, advertising and design in 2017, where we focus on what truly matters to a brand, an image, a person, and finally free ourselves of fluff.