Less is more. That’s the increasingly popular mantra, typified by folks like 37 Signals. Andreas Pfeiffer has coalesced recent minimalist trends into an article entitled Why Features Don’t Matter Anymore: The New Laws of Digital Technology:
As the iPod abundantly shows, user experience (along with a strong brand, and clever marketing) is much more important for the success of a device then technical specifications. Web designers have grasped the importance of good user experience a long time ago; now it is time the big technology providers to understand where the industry is headed.
If you are more visually inclined, this video of the Microsoft iPod packaging parody makes much the same point. It’s a theoretical comparison of the design styles of Apple and Microsoft. For a real-world equivalent, compare and contrast the presentation styles of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
The minimalist aesthetic seems to be gaining traction in web design circles with an emphasis on the big, clear, simple interfaces typical of so many Web 2.0 apps. But the wisdom behind this design philosophy isn’t new. I remember reading a comment by Joshua Davis back in 2000, which I still think is a superb approach to take to visual design. When asked, “What would you say is beauty in design?”, he replied:
Being able to justify every pixel.