All You Need to Know About Designing a Minimalist Brand Identity
Minimalism began as an art movement in the 1960s and has seeped into different domains like architecture, fashion, lifestyle, and design today. Being a timeless ideology, it serves brand design effectively as it helps create an identity that will remain in style, at all times.
The core philosophy of minimalism is “less is more”. This conveys the simplicity of the concept – the major reason why it strikes a chord with people and is universally embraced.
In this article, we will explore the concept of minimalism and its application in brand design. We will take a look at the core elements of minimalism and discuss how to design a minimal brand identity. So, let’s begin with the basics.
What is Minimalism in Brand Design
Minimalism is a design approach based on simplicity and clarity. The idea of a minimalist design is to keep only the elements that are necessary and remove anything excessive. This applies to colours, shapes, information, embellishments, and texture.
Minimalist design refers to designing with intention – every element in a design has a value and a reason. The goal of a minimalist design is to focus on the brand message and convey it most effectively to the audience.
In brand design, minimalism applies not just to the material elements such as logos, website design, product packaging, etc. It also extends to the brand’s intangible elements like vision, mission, customer service, etc.
Minimalism is a well thought out, plain, and clear-cut design strategy. It makes a brand stand out from the rest and the design makes it memorable. Apple, Nike, and Uber are some of the best examples of brands using minimalism.
What are the Core Ingredients of Minimalism
The inherent simplicity associated with minimalism may give the impression that it is easy to execute. However, minimalist design requires extra care as it must use every design element wisely. The five core ingredients which form the foundation of minimalism are:
Negative space, also known as white space or empty space, is one of the most powerful ingredients in minimalist design. It is used to highlight certain elements and draw the human eye towards them.
In contrast to detail heavy design where every possible space is filled with elements, negative space encourages leaving spaces throughout the design. This adds elegance to the design, increases coherence and highlights key information.
The choice of colours plays a big role in minimal designs. While black, white, and grey are the colours of choice in most minimal designs, it’s not limited to just these. You can also choose other colours.
Usually, the number of colours are limited to two or three. Tonal gradients and matching colours are often used. A single colour differentiated with texture is also used by most designers.
Just like colours, another key ingredient is typography. Typography refers to the design of the text. This includes the font you choose for your design, the font combinations, layout, alignment, etc.
In minimal designs, usually simple and clean fonts are used. The idea is that the fonts shouldn’t be a distraction or have too much flair. It’s best to use a single font or two fonts at the most. Font combinations should also be chosen wisely so that they align visually.
Minimalist designs are aesthetically pleasing due to the symmetry and visual balance exhibited by them. Visual balance helps to create harmony among the elements and constructs an identifiable structure to the human eyes, making the design memorable.
To achieve visual balance in design, designers start by splitting the design space into invisible grids. These grids act as the foundation for the positioning of elements. This keeps the design appealing and minimal.
Consistency is a cornerstone of minimalism. Since minimalism is a holistic approach, the design philosophy must reflect throughout.
In the case of creating a brand identity, this means consistency over all digital platforms, physical outlets, marketing materials, etc. The basic design elements must be maintained at all channels consistently.
How to Design a Minimalist Brand Identity
Successful brand identity makes your brand distinguishable. For people to remember a brand, design plays a vital role. Simple or minimal design is the magic potion that can help create a brand identity customers remember. Let’s see the steps to design a minimalist brand identity.
#1. Start with references
When you are beginning to design a minimalist brand identity, it’s always a great idea to start with references. Getting inspired from successful minimal designs will give your design an extra boost.
You will be able to find a lot of practical information about minimal design and discover various concepts, methods and applications. It will also help you identify what you can and cannot do to maintain a minimal brand identity.
#2. Identify your brand values
Before you start working on the visual side of your minimalist brand identity, you need to identify your brand values. The visuals should then convey these values. Minimalism is not merely a surface-level approach. Every aspect of the brand must align with the philosophy.
For example, we all know Apple’s famous message “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. And this has been evident in their product design as well as marketing strategies.
But did you know that it wasn’t just a brand identity? The underlying value was Steve Job’s minimalist lifestyle, which was reflected in the brand he created.
#3. Choose your typeface
A distinguishable typeface can make your brand memorable. You should choose the right typeface that suits your minimal brand identity. The serif font is a popular choice due to its simple and clean look and another is sans serif, which adds a sleek touch.
You can go experimental with fonts depending on your brand character. But, the typeface should be minimal and must also maintain a balance with all design elements
#4. Select suitable graphics
Graphic elements are not a must-have in minimal designs. However, fitting graphics can take the design to another level when added. Simple and unique graphics that can emphasize your brand value will get the design more attention.
But, while adding graphics, you need to be really careful about what you choose and how you display it. Here again, balance is the keyword.
#5. Pick your colours
Unlike popular belief, colours arent elusive for minimal designs. You can experiment with colours but remember to keep the number within three. Depending on your brand character, you can choose a fitting colour palette for your design.
Colours that are too bright and loud are often not preferred. But, such colours can be used as an accent colour to highlight key information. Also, rather than using too many colours, using shades of a single colour are favoured in minimal designs.
#6. Listen and tweak
Once you have created a brand identity, you need to check whether the message has been conveyed properly to the audience. For this, you need to ask them their thoughts and use their feedback to make revisions.
Soft launches are a great way to check the effectiveness of a brand identity. You can also utilize A/B testing when you make revisions to monitor the change in reactions.
An added advantage of this step is that when you take feedback from real users, they feel appreciated and valued. As a result, they can easily be converted into loyal brand advocates.
Benefits of Using Minimalist Designs
There is no one design strategy that serves all alike. Minimalist designs are also susceptible to this. For a brand that requires a lot of images like graphs or infographics to convey its message to the audience, minimalist designs may not be the right choice.
Also, if not designed properly, it could have adverse effects. For example, too much whitespace can make the design look bland instead of keeping it elegant. But still, it is a popular design approach and has several advantages such as:
- Improves user experience: As minimalist designs are clean and clutter-free, they offer better usability and smooth navigation – hence improving the overall user experience.
- Timeless: Minimalist designs are known to stand the test of time. They don’t grow old or outdated but remain a classic.
- Better identification: As minimalist designs focus on showcasing the products or services with the least distractions, the brands have a higher recall value.
Creating a brand identity is a contemplative process. All the different aspects of a brand, from physical to digital and internal to external, have to be evaluated. Minimalist designs are a great choice if your brand values align with the philosophy and if you can pull it off successfully with eminent designers.
Companies like Google and Apple adapted the minimalist design from their initial stages and continue to uphold it even today. That is a testament to the timelessness of this design concept.
Minimal designs make for some of the greatest visual arts in the branding industry. Designing a minimalist brand identity is a fun and thoughtful process. When done right, the results are impactful and beautiful.
About the Author!
Premjith leads the SEO team at Global Media Insight, one of the leading web design and development companies in Dubai. With his seven valuable years of experience in online marketing, he helps clients expand their online presence to generate more conversions and sales.