I am a strong proponent of minimalism. Particularly when it comes to web design. If you asked me, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with compelling aesthetic arguments as to why I prefer minimalist design. I just do. I like the absence of clutter. Minimalism done right gives me just the information that I want and nothing more. And that’s very different from giving me just the information I asked for and nothing more. Computer systems are quite adept at that second request. But as with many things, when making requests of computer systems often I ask the wrong questions. The computer is glad to give me what I asked for but not necessarily what I wanted. I believe good design should employ the art of intuitive anticipation along with the removal of distractions: potential, actual or hypothetical.
So it was with these ideas in my head that I set about looking for a new theme for our blog. Yes, this very blog you are currently reading. (Thank you for that, by the way.) When I decided upon the Wu Wei theme by Jeff Ngan and began showing it to my friends, I got several comments about how I was in love with minimalism. And while I don’t believe I am a particularly vocal evangelist of minimalism, I do recognize my own predisposition toward its use. And in those moments that I work on my own ideas of design, it comes out. I like the Helvetica font. My computers all have plain black backgrounds, without images or ornamentation. I try to think about minimizing clutter, and a consistency of look and feel. As I said, I hadn’t vocalized this in any particularly concrete way. It was just a set of preferences I had arrived at over time. So when the responses came to me, reminding me externally of a conversation I had only sporadically had with myself internally, I rejoined.
Yes! More minimalism!
And then I was immediately struck by the humor of such a statement. Minimalism, this movement in visual design where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features. And I wanted more of it. Smokes suggested that it would make a great slogan for a t-shirt: make the word “more” really small, and the word “minimalism” really big. You can never get too much irony, right?
I sat on the idea for a few days, and then decided to give it a try. This morning I got out a piece of paper and a pencil, sketched a few ideas and then fired up Photoshop. Pretty soon, Smokes and I were exchanging ideas and I kept making new iterations on the design. Again, this was more of a learning exercise in trying to get my mind around Photoshop CS5 than an attempt at a career change. So without further ado, I present my iterations of “More Minimalism”.
Opinions welcome in the comments.