Aesthetics is a … motive for simplicity. Aesthetes often prefer simple solutions to complex solutions. They simply find simple solutions more attractive. When the word simple refers to aesthetics, it means minimalism.

Minimalism means you only use what is needed. It does not mean you use as little as possible.

Unfortunately, some designers misinterpret minimalism as a purely visual-design strategy. They cut or hide important elements in pursuit of a minimalist design for its own sake—not for the benefits that strategy might have for users. They're missing the core philosophy and the historical context of minimalism, and they risk increasing complexity rather than reducing it.

The hamburger menu is a good example. A website designed for a large screen should not hide the main navigation behind an icon.

Minimalism was famously one of Dieter Rams’ principles.

Good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

You needn’t be minimalist for its own sake, though. There are other advantages. If you use less stuff good visual design becomes easier.

It seems like one of the reasons why it’s useful to have fewer things in the first place [is that] as you get that…exponential growth [of elements], it just gets harder and harder to do a good job. There’s definitely instances of maximalism in design where people put a lot of stuff on the screen … that look great, but that’s a lot harder to do.

Minimalism has practical benefits.

If you do make your website more beautiful, ensure your designs are minimalist—visually and technically. Keep them elegantly simple and easy to update. And don't forget that … good functional design has a beauty of its own.

You can make minimalism part of your approach to work.

If I had to describe my philosophy toward technology, I'd say I aim for the crux of whatever works the best with the least amount. You add things until it starts sucking, take things away until it stops getting better.

There is an essential tension between simplicity, which is the thoughtful reduction of unnecessary elements, and completeness, which is to have enough function to be useful. Products must remain functionally complete through their fundamental tasks. The product must do precisely enough, and its creators must know where and when to stop.

Designers often get excited during the design process. They add too much. The problems start if they don’t take the time to remove things.

There's an excellent quote from Albert Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Notice that he doesn't say: “Everything should be made as complex as necessary, but no more complex.” He recognizes that the creative process almost always overshoots. We arrive at a place of complexity and then work back to simplify. This is how ideas form - the tree grows, and then it is pruned. And then it bears fruit.

It’s safe to say this is a common theme among designers who value simplicity.

Set aside time for pruning. When you think you're done, take a hard look at all the elements of your design or your model or your slide deck or your blog post and begin to chop away. Let the different features compete for your attention, and only the strong survive. What remains is the beautiful essence.

Delete unimportant things. Even if you love them. If it isn't spectacular, it gets cut. Kill your darlings. Be a cold-blooded killer. Ruthless. Delete. Refine. Improve.

Simplicity hinges as much on cutting nonessential features as on adding helpful ones

Designers who adopt a minimalist design strategy must consider each element in their interfaces and eliminate any that are not required to support the core functionality or message of the website. An 'element' in this context could be any individual unit of the interface: including but not limited to: menu items, links, images, graphics, lines, captions, textures (like gradients), colors, fonts, icons.

Everything that you add to a product should be justified in terms of its appearance, location, and behavior. All elements should have roles associated with them: in other words, they should serve some functional purpose for the product. Periodically audit every detail of the layout for what it does to help … If you can’t justify an element’s existence, remove it.

Most graphics don't struggle with understatement. In fact, most contain a stunning amount of excess ink (or pixels). Rather than dressing our data up we should be stripping it down.

The process of reaching an ideal state of simplicity can be truly complex, so allow me to simplify it for you. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction. When in doubt, just remove. But be careful of what you remove.

But consider this perspective as well.

Stating that minimalists reduce an object suggests that the designer’s starting point is an other design, which he reduces to a minimalist version. The opposite should be true: the designer’s starting point is an original idea, the essence, and as little design as possible is added.

Minimalism is often associated with art. It’s easy to hear the word and think of visual design. But it’s helpful for interaction design as well.

[Heuristic 8:] Aesthetic and minimalist design. Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility.

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