Efficient, bland, clean, emotionless, modern, lazy - words bandied around to describe a style mostly accompanying the upward trajectory of mobile device uses for websites and apps. No longer trapped within the confines of traffic and emergency signs, the minimalist aesthetic is now deployed as a fashionable front to communicate across all audiences of age, culture and intelligence.
Arguably the sole purpose of this simplistic ideology is to convey its message or story in as little time as possible for the human brain to process. Elements such as limited colour palettes, recognisable icons and sharp typefaces help cut out all the unnecessary features that would only distract from the message. Although the discipline is prevalent in digital outlets, lifestyle magazines and books have now adopted the minimalist design to keep up with this trend that is getting stronger with time. Many companies that hold a strict guideline on their branding will likely prefer a minimalist attitude so their material, be it digital and print, appears uncomplicated, professional and unique.
What might seem very restrictive in the rules of this discipline, minimalist design can actually can open up further ways to appear unique from other like-minded design. Principles such as layout, kerning of type and negative space can be manipulated to a point where it does not compromise the overall structure of the design. With more attention on preserving materials and waste reduction, the longevity of physical materials such as printer inks, computer memory space and paper will be greatly increased.
Although widely accepted by designers these days in print and digital, minimalist design could appear to be quickly tacked together with little thought process if imitated poorly and the vast numbers of design following this minimalist trend could lead to an oversaturation of uninspiring work. Another criticism could be the fact that most minimalist work is enabled via computerised means and not handmade methods, suggesting that it is a cold, corporate and robotic visual.
As of this writing, school presentation folders in general are gradually including less elements, such as photographs, to showcase their schools through printed material. The main reason being is so the publication can stand the test of time - photographs depicting students and the school buildings can easily be dated in one or more years after its date of distribution. The lack of clutter on a school publication can lead to a classy and effective method to drive a school’s branding, as well as enticing an aura of mystery - revealing enough to inform the audience on the identity and story of the school yet sustaining their interest for long enough to encourage them to find out more information through further means, i.e. website link on folder.
There is no doubt that minimalist design will be here to stay, as long as information is absorbed more so by the smaller and sleek mobile means over their larger and clunky desktop counterparts, with faster broadband speeds influencing shorter attention spans of the human populace. It is now essential, more than ever, to ensure that your message is carried to your audience in short and simple manner.