Supposedly, we’re exposed to 3,000 ads on a daily basis.
This makes it a growing challenge for advertisers to stand out in such a saturated market.
Like it or loathe it, minimalist design is a trend of recent years that many marketers have adopted to rise above the noise.
In this blog we’ll look at some of the best examples of minimalism at work, with the aim of shedding some light on the coolest marketing technique in town.
The ‘less is more’ principle
Why minimalism? The basic tenet of this style is that simplicity trumps convolution. Marketing everywhere is competing for attention, with many resorting to figurative yelling over using their ‘inside voice’.
Out of the four examples below, which are you most drawn to?
Whilst all four examples are advertising the same thing, the majority are drawn to number 2. The design is simple and clear with visually pleasing negative space that draws attention to the key content. The minimalist design is coupled with minimalist text, so all elements are effectively working together towards the same goal.
We’ve collated a sample of some of our favourite ‘less is more’ campaigns.
Minimalist marketing that works
This advert is aesthetically sparse, giving room for the comedic hook of the campaign to shine through. The cut-out design is innovative, amusing and clever, whist ultimately remaining a simple idea in itself.
- The minimalist business card – by Jake Frey
There’s plenty of state-of-the-art business cards out there, but this one stands out because everything unnecessary is stripped out to focus on communication. There are no gimmicks or visual distractions; this business card looks inviting, is creative and communicates its message clearly.
There are countless clothes retailer home pages on the internet, so standing out can be tough. Miles Calder does this excellently by removing any distractions and having one product in focus with one unmissable Call-to-Action.
KitKat’s tagline is ‘Have a break’. So to create a minimalist print ad that relates to the tagline, shows the product itself and is playful is incredibly effective.
This home page is completely clutter-free, with a simple, clean image and very few words. The effect is professional and everything points to the lighter blue Call-to-Action.
Considering there is no text in this ad, Fedex have managed to communicate a lot. The message is clear; you can easily send a package to someone in another part of the world. Fedex have taken this message and translated it visually to great effect.
Volkswagen wanted to advertise the optional features with their latest new cars, such as the park assist. With this minimalist ad, they manage to show off this parking feature, whilst adding a compelling and humourous visual element too.
- The stripped back home page – by Google
Most of us come into contact with Google on a regular basis, so it’s easy to take it for granted in this context. But the internet heavyweight skillfully strips everything from its homepage except the famous search feature.
This portfolio design is ingenious because of how it draws you in. We're not even able to know Alan’s full name without clicking through to the wider site.
This home page actually contains a large amount of text and site navigation information, but thanks to a well-considered colour palette and the high-spec image that draws focus, all anyone can see is the bike. It’s powerfully simple.
The pens and pencils retailer wanted to demonstrate how their product colour names matched the real life inspiration. So ‘aubergine purple’ is not just a name but the actual colour of the pencil. The print ad sends this message by cleverly fusing both objects.
This home page is beautifully simple in message and aesthetic, but also contains interactive elements that users can engage with online. It’s an effective mix of simplicity and complexity, presented in a compelling way.
This is a car ad without an image of a car. Just a set of keys, a killer tagline and a brand name. It’s confident, clever and boldly minimalist.
The Government of Bahia wanted to reduce the number of road accidents related to smartphone use. So they created a set of ads where important driving symbols on signs were replaced with social media network symbols. The message is clear and the design is basic; two fundamentals of minimalism in marketing.
Ricola’s print campaign shows just how powerful minimalist design and text can be together. The text is amusing and unmissable, whilst the design is basic but still eye-catching - it's visual hierarchy composed beautifully.
The goal of this campaign was to convey the utility and convenience of driving a Mini Cooper. The Mini fits in so well to its environment that small ants are inspired to follow it. The high-resolution image is lovely to look at, and even with its small size, the Mini Cooper stands out as the focus of the ad.
Berger wanted to visualise the idea that their colours match those of nature. So what better way to communicate that than comparing their paint to the sky itself.
Ve’s Creative Director, Adam Hindaugh, had this to say about the phenomenon:
“As designers, it’s our job to depict complicated messages. We simplify by removing all unnecessary clutter, to create clarity, time to think, reflect and respond. In a world full of visual noise we often want to say ‘more' - however, people tend to understand ‘less’.”
"As designers, it’s our job to depict complicated messages."
What do you think of the minimalist craze? A digital marketing trend to stay or a flash in the pan? Cool or cringeworthy? For more insights into the latest marketing trends, head to our resources section: