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  • Writer's pictureDenny Kurien

Should You Utilize Minimalist or Maximalist Graphic Design?


graphic design

Should You Utilize Minimalist or Maximalist Graphic Design?

The present design landscape promotes a rigid commitment to extreme simplicity, which may restrict our creative progression. History suggests that one often emerges as a response to the prevalence of the other. Excessive disorder prompts a longing for order, while excessive order can induce a sense of restriction. To understand why designers have come to favour minimalism as the superior design approach, it's crucial to commence our exploration from the outset. In this blog, Ravyn Design, a proficient and seasoned graphic design agency located in Toronto, explores the impact of minimalism and how venturing into alternative design styles can set your business apart.

 

Where Did Minimalist Graphic Design Start?

 

In the early stages of web design, chaos reigned supreme. The concept of "design" for websites was still in its infancy, and site owners hadn't grasped the importance of an appealing layout. The allure of a website was an enigma, often viewed as little more than a digital storefront for selling goods.


As time passed, "design" was introduced, but user experience took a back seat. Websites in the '90s and early 2000s, especially those built with Flash, became the playgrounds of their creators. Flashy animations, bold colours, and an abundance of fonts, all coexisted with confusing information structures and hidden navigation elements.


Some may have mistaken this for maximalist design, with its clash of colours, patterns, and audacious layouts. However, if a design is impractical to navigate, it transcends maximalism or minimalism and simply becomes ineffective. If a maximalist design doesn't prioritize user experience, it's merely subpar design.


The Growing Trend of Order and Minimalism


Flat, uncomplicated, and sleek are the guiding principles of our profession today, but these rules tend to smother the creative essence that renders designers indispensable in digital product development. This observation isn't ground-breaking; designers have been conversing about it for quite some time.


It's noteworthy that many within the industry equate minimalism with exceptional user experience, assuming that maximalism inevitably hinders that objective. Minimalism is frequently seen as a shortcut to achieving a superb user experience; its fundamental principles of negative space and simplicity often lead users to accomplish their goals more effortlessly, almost as a natural consequence. Even a small, unadorned gray button is difficult to overlook amidst a sea of white.


Given the prevailing trend of minimalism in the design field, clients often gravitate towards it for their branding, aligning with contemporary graphic design trends. Nevertheless, it's essential to recognize that while your brand identity need not fully embrace maximalism's principles, exploring distinctive and unconventional aesthetics with a graphic design agency can significantly differentiate a business.


While effective minimalist design demands thoughtful deliberation, once mastered, it becomes easily reproducible. Emulating minimalism with minimal skill is a straightforward task.


What is UX?


Design, encompassing UI and layout, is a component within the broader spectrum of User Experience (UX). According to industry professionals, UX comprises all facets of end-users’ interaction with a company, its services, and its products. These include visual design, information architecture, content strategy, interaction design, usability, and user research.


Maximalism need not compromise UX. UX serves as an encompassing discipline, with design (be it minimal or maximal) being a constituent part. UI and layout contribute significantly to the overall experience but are integral components in a larger framework. Design's primary role is to enhance the user experience and facilitate the achievement of business objectives. It is feasible to incorporate maximalism without detrimentally impacting the overall user experience.


Contemporary maximalist design examples consistently align with prevailing UX best practices. They feature user-friendly navigation, clear signposting, easy goal attainment, familiar content placement, and coherent content presentation.


Defining Maximalist Design


Maximalist design is characterized by the following traits:


·       Striking colour combinations

·       Contrasting patterns and motifs

·       Repetitive elements

·       Limited white space

·       Layered imagery

·       Dense text and multiple font variations

·       Creation of a fantastical ambiance


In contrast to minimalism, maximalism demands a designer's expertise in colour theory, layout, user experience (UX), and content organization to be effectively executed. It's straightforward to place a block of black text alongside a slightly off-centred floating image. However, the complexity increases substantially when managing five fonts, six colours, and treated images. How can these diverse elements coexist in a design that is both visually pleasing and functionally usable?


This struggle is well-known to new designers. Navigating colour palette dilemmas or grappling with textures and patterns, which are rare in commercial design. However, experienced creatives, such as those at Ravyn Design, are more than willing to challenge themselves to experiment with designs that steer clear of uniformity in contemporary design. While designs have become more aesthetically pleasing over the past five years, they have also grown less intriguing.


How Design is Changing


The strong devotion to minimalism has conditioned businesses to shun adventurousness. We've suppressed the use of multiple fonts and intricate backgrounds, leaving us to struggle for even the slightest hint of uniqueness. Clients, once bold with flashy banners and dynamic headings, have grown wary of deviating from the norm and making mistakes.


As designers, delving into maximalism pushes us to test the boundaries of our skills, contributing to the advancement of our discipline. For users, it translates to more excitement and willingness to engage.


Maximalism serves as an antidote to the uniformity prevalent in modern design. Embracing maximalism becomes imperative for design to break free from its reliance on minimalism.


Set Your Business Apart with Our Graphic Design Agency in Toronto


When you work with Ravyn Design, you work with industry professionals who know the ins and outs and the latest trends in the world of graphic design. Not only do we create an identity that truly embodies your brand, but we also utilize our knowledge of the industry to establish a unique brand identity. Schedule a 15-minute consultation with our graphic design agency today!

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