Tag Archives: minimalism

Process Post 7 (More about Design)

I had already devoted a great deal of my last process post to design. Still, I felt I didn’t capture the assignment to share some examples of websites that got my approval. In addition, I was supposed to talk about marketability next week! It seems I thoroughly confused myself! So I will take a step back and add a bit more about design and share some websites that I find pleasing, as well as show some that I do not care for. 

My love-hate relationship with minimalism

On the one hand, it is undeniable that minimalism deserves its place as a design aesthetic that continues to inspire all aspects of creative works. Websites, architecture, print and digital media, fashion, decor, music, fine arts, pretty much everything. And there are lots of good reasons to prefer a minimalist approach. For example, some people relish a ‘blank page’ approach to organizing their home, which can be important in a world overloaded with clutter, advertisements, people, cars, etc.

We can also make a moral argument that minimalist practices are good and ought to be pursued. Considering we live in a world of overconsumption, rife with gluttonous beliefs that express personal identity through material possession, it shouldn’t be difficult to thread the needle that minimalism offers a method of escape from our accelerated death drive of hoarding clutter.

So what’s the deal? What’s to hate? 

It’s because I think that most forms of minimalism are similar to the practice of ‘greenwashing.’ Greenwashing is usually a form of advertising or marketing spin to persuade the public that the organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly. But I am using it slightly differently. Instead of being limited to a process used by businesses, minimalism presents itself as a solution to real-world material problems without actually addressing the root of their problems. It’s a band-aid, addressing the symptom rather than the cause.

Too poor to own a house? Try living in a shipping container! I hate that minimalism is so often poverty in cosplay.

Furthermore, since minimalism is also a design trend, plenty of businesses have jumped on board with their website design, yet the outcome often creates cognitive dissonance. Why?

Minimalism is perceived as clean, lightweight, only what is needed, free from clutter, and utilitarian, but rarely does the ethos and philosophy of business correspond to these principles on any meaningful level. They believe in minimalism as a marketing strategy to maximize the consumption of their respective products. 

Let’s look at medium.com

Image of medium.com landing page.

What does this website tell us? It’s no bells, no whistles approach is ‘sleek,’ and its visual hierarchies are clearer for the audience to navigate without any hassle towards its product, which is its news stories.  Little nuggets of information in a world governed by the mantra that information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. For Medium, like all content mills, information is also currency—a worshipped and coveted form of power. 

Sure, it presents those nuggets in a minimalist manner, but then you realize there is an infinite amount of them, and to be sure, it doesn’t want you to take responsible little bites of its product. It wants you to consume its content voraciously. So there we go; we’re back to my objection. We choose minimalism as a function to maximize consumption—an inversion of the ethos of minimalism. And this is my major skepticism towards its popularity.

Yet, just because minimalism functions to obfuscate our relationship with consumption, does that justify an abandonment or wholesale rejection of minimalism? Should it be different?


My short answer is no. A sense of hierarchy is lost if a website is overloaded with visual elements. The eye feverishly darts from corner to corner in a vain attempt to make sense of the information, the structure, and the thesis. There is a physio-psychological limitation to our cognition, and we can’t make proper sense of overloaded, unorganized things. Therefore, some form of minimalism is not only preferred but necessary.

Case in point: This site.

image of landing page for arngren.com a danish website


I wish I knew more about these topics. It’s obvious that the difference between a good and bad form of minimalism is a matter of how we interact with it rather than what philosophy it proposes.

image of landing page for benjamin-nespoulous.com

I love this website because of its playful interactivity. The elements all have a bit of life to them. They move, expand, contract, become inverse in colouration, etc. It feels alive! Yet the site as a whole is so simple without being boring or cliche. It has a philosophy and functionality that incorporates minimalism without being minimalist. 

Let’s circle back.

Burrito Reproduction utilizes some notion of minimalism, so I couldn’t be so hypocritical as to condemn it completely. Part of the reason is that this course demonstrated that I’m woefully underskilled in coding. I thought I wasn’t so bad, but this whole WordPress experiment has shown me how far I have to travel. Nonetheless, I like the aesthetics of my site. I want to capture that same observation I made with NSPS. That being, it’s functionally minimal but unapologetic and individualistic about the typical conventions found in minimalism.

Moving forward, I will continue to remember the lessons learned from “How to Survive the Digital Apocalypse.” The old normative formats of repeated templates, uninspired content, and failure to express our unique subjectivity as designers, educators, and writers will ensure that narrow AIs will outsource us. We will survive by leaning into our subjectivity, which is exactly what I intend to do.