The Future of App Design is Minimalist

Posted on January 28, 2013

Design is an interesting subjects and to many, design is very much in the eye of the beholder. One things is sure, design on mobile is very difficult due to smaller and more fixed screen sizes. Yet Apple has always placed a priority on striking visual design, making it important throughout the whole sector.

There are very different design philosophies, skeumorphism, minimalism, cartoonism, high-density or other styles.

At Digital Possibilities, we see an increased trend towards minimalist design. More and more applications are being released with such a design and are being warmly welcomed. The poster-child for this movement has been twitterific 5.

Minimalist design entails creating an interface with only the information required on it. Usually it also involves leaving-off a lot of chrome, for example navigation bars, tab bars etc, and leaving a lot of white space.

That is not to say that minimalism is easy. It’s not. It’s much more precise than being heavy on photoshop drop-shadows. You need to get line spacing just right, choose the right fonts at the right size and colour. Twitterific uses different colours to highlight different information, but without putting that in your face.

Many will decide that minimalism is not for them because it does not fully represent their brand. That it fine, but it could also be an error. Brand values and visually identity can still be reflected through a minimalist approach by selecting appropriate colours and fonts.

Minimalism can be great for users too, as it allows them to focus on the core of the activities they wish to perform or the information they wish to consume. There are fewer distractions, and if it is done well, the users brain will be less taxed by visual overload.

Given the success of applications like Twitterific and feedly, I think we can expect to see many more examples of minimalist design in applications in 2013.