Maximalist VS Minimalistic Web Design
Minimalist web design has become the norm for many luxury brands. The clean elegant use of pale backgrounds, simple fonts and images offering the only detail and colour, is a look we often get asked to recreate due to its affinity to luxury. However, recently some brands have taken a stand, deviating towards a more ‘maximalist’ approach to design in order to stand out from the crowd.
It is integral for luxury brands to convey their unique identity across all channels and platforms, whether it is a maximalist or minimalist approach. We have outlined some of our favourite examples of maximalist web design for you to feast your eyes on. We hope it makes you question how luxury should be portrayed and encourage you to think outside the box when you alter your website.
1. Vincent Tavano - Creative Direction for luxury brands
This site has all the core functionalities, whilst also managing to remain stylish. Tavano’s work examples are listed out from the main full-page menu, with graphics, images and even video displaying on hover over each. This layering does feel slightly overwhelming, but it definitely piques your curiosity on arrival.
On click, you are taken to a summary of that particular portfolio item, and the mouse becomes a loading percentage before you are taken to the main feature.
His work with Loewe is displayed as a sequence of images, which are switched out on click and as you move the cursor around the page the images blur across the background. It quickly becomes a bit confusing and definitely steers clear of ‘best practice’, though it is fun to use.
There isn’t really anything missing on this site when it comes to maximalist ‘outside the box’ web design, it’s got it all. As it serves to showcase Tavano’s creative flair, this doesn’t feel like an issue.
2. Hanger– British/Japanese fashion brand
The vibrant and unusual UI Hanger have used appeals to their vibrant and unusual consumers – their pieces are not for your average shopper, but rather appeal to those looking to make a statement. On initial glance, other than slightly quirky fonts, the layout appears somewhat predictable for an e-com site but when you start to interact with the collection pages things start to come alive in a more obvious way. The scrolling banners and bold image presentation feels synonymous with the luminous streets of Tokyo; your eyes are not sure where to look.
3. Studio Job – Art and Design
Although it’s difficult to envisage this brand within ‘luxury’, we just had to include it as an example, as it’s one of the most unique sites on the web. Showcasing their art and sculpture pieces which take inspiration from both traditional and contemporary techniques, the studio have created a platform which shocks and surprises, and seriously pushes the boundaries of UI design. It’s fantastically bold, and offers a buying experience like no other which is sure to bring customers back for more.
Whilst allowing for more creative flair, digital teams within luxury must strike a balance with effective UX too, as there’s no point having a wacky and brutalist website UI if customers can’t buy your products. This is why, when asked by clients which approach would be more effective, that we would admit that the minimalist look is more reliable when it comes to conversion. It’s all about striking a balance between standing out and best practice. In support of this, we have chosen a couple of luxury brands whose simplistic design works well.
4.Tiffany & Co – Classic E-commerce
Tiffany have created a stylist e-com platform that aligns perfectly with their product offering; it’s clean, elegant, and easy to use. A striking colour scheme frames product images well, with subtle accents of Tiffany blue adding interest to CTA’s. Tiffany’s brand speaks for itself without the need to over-complicate their online platform, it is clear that the primary goal of their website is to drive conversions.
5. Maaemo - Artistic Minimalism
Norwegian restaurant Maaemo’s website has a stripped back editorial feel with a focus on rustic imagery. It is clear that they have a desire to connect diners with the culture and nature of the Norwegian landscape. The design eludes to a unique dining experience, showcasing the care and attention put into the three-Michelin star restaurant. The use of a black and white colour scheme ensures that none of the messaging is lost and the dark and mysterious photos displaying landscapes rather than food, draw the user in with their curiosity peaked. Minimalism is used here to tell you just enough about the venue that you’re itching to know more and importantly the CTA to book a table is always clear in the top left corner.
Our conclusion: digital teams within luxury must strike a balance between creative and practical design. A website with a brutalist design is irrelevant if customers can’t buy your product easily. Equally, an ultra-minimalist design may differentiate your brand from the market. This is why, when asked by clients which approach would be more effective, that we would admit that the minimalist look is more reliable when it comes to conversion. However, that is not to say that you shouldn’t play with more experimental concepts should your primary goal be awareness.