I am a big fan of minimalism, but I have come to realize that for minimalism to work, it should be somewhat scary. It should feel like one is going too far. This applies to anything, whether it is minimalism in our personal lives, designing a website or a personal wardrobe, or our approach to using technology.
When it comes to personal possessions, I find that every single thing that I own comes with its requirements and needs, and so the more things I have — the more tied down I am. If you own something, you now have responsibility for it. And so, one needs to consider the long-term consequences of owning many things. How much time does it take to earn enough money to pay for the thing in the first place? How much maintenance and repairs will a certain thing require? Where are the tradeoffs? Is it worth it?
In terms of design, I absolutely love minimalism. I like the idea of stripping the superfluous and just focusing on the core. I do this on my website, where there is little to distract a reader from reading — which is the primary goal. My business websites (Mäd and Blue) do that, with Mäd doing it much better than Blue.
When it comes to design, minimalism should be scary because one needs to consider their design’s impact on users. Minimalism does not mean removing all important features or making a product look completely bare. Instead, minimalism involves considering how users interact with an interface and what functions they need to complete a task. It means ensuring the design is effective, user-friendly and helps users to achieve their goals.
I am redesigning the Blue website to go genuinely minimalist and focus on the core messaging of the product, why it is valuable, and how one can use it. The current Blue website is essentially a knock-off of various other SaaS websites. Still, it will never be superior because I don’t have the resources to have a team of full-time web designers working on it.
And so, I want to take the same strategy I have taken with the core product and do less but do it better. This means doing things that the large VC-funded work platforms cannot do — firmly embracing simplicity and minimalism.
I’ve always found that complexity is like a cliff. If you stay on the cliff, you embrace simplicity. If you embrace complexity, it is like jumping off a cliff. You lose control over how complex things will get, and they sometimes become one or two orders of magnitude more complex than staying with simplicity.
So, minimalism should be scary — it should feel like you are going too far and taking too much of a risk. But, if done right, it can create something beautiful, functional, and sustainable. That’s why I embrace minimalism in my life and work.