In 2013, people want their information fast and simple. No extraneous frills, no unnecessary padding – just the facts.
This trend has been mirrored by the way designers are going about creating the front-pages of sites. As the gateway to everything within, the homepage needs to summarize the concept of the site and attract the user and these days, often the best way to do this is to keep it simple.
With that in mind, I’m going to take a look at some of the best examples within this trend, from the big-guns down to the little guys, and see what makes a simple, minimalist homepage so effective.
The site intended to both randomize and personalize the internet, StumbleUpon’s home page manages to summarise their core values with one encompassing image and little text.
By keeping it simple with a brand message and ‘cool’ image they entice people to click to the next page to sign up without badgering them or immersing them in information.
Design firm dyhrhagen also take a similar approach to StumbleUpon, only displaying a grabbing image and small amount of text that summarises their brand.
It makes for an intriguing homepage and the easy-to-navigate sections are instantly clickable.
Stefan Kanchev’s homepage manages to display multiple icons and still remain minimalist in its design.
The ‘just-about grey’ barely stands out from the background in a way that appears ghostly and profound.
As basic as it gets here with Rob Treutel site – just 8 words on the entire homepage.
Just using two colours (except for hovering) also adds to the simple but clever layout.
Artist Louise O’Reilly’s site fits well with her artistic aims. She creates simple, natural artworks that inspire and intrigue and her site does the same.
The homepage is populated solely with her own images, name and a navigation bar. Simple, elegant and sleek.
Tiny Fluid Grid
Tiny Fluid Grid is a site that allows you to create your own grid based website.
Their homepage gets straight to the point. It lets you preview your style or download the software to get started.
Minimal information and bold colour scheme make this page simple but effective, and it really stands out.
Quite possibly the most minimalist and simple design of any in this post. Developer Never Bland manage to stay true to their name and provide a homepage that is easy on the eye and yet still stylish.
With a scrolling welcome message under their name and a navigation bar at the bottom of the page, this homepage defines simple web design.
Belgium firm intuition events site reverses the more common minimalist design of black on a white background to great effect.
The list layout with strong text is impacting and yet sleek. The fact it is in French too, only adds to the stylishness!
Another simple designer’s site, a darkened background image and little color give Christopher Meeks’ homepage a terrifically broody air.
No text on Greek design firm Dolphins’ homepage (other than buttons). Instead it has an intensely clear, HD photo that changes each time you arrive on the site.
Each photo appears to always contain a reference to their logo and while generally giving little away about their work, still pulls people in with its clarity and sharpness.
The Jagged Orbit
A nice little quirky homepage here for Jagged Orbit. One central moving image is flanked by three similar, but stationary images.
Strange and pretty at the same time.
Adrian Unger’s homepage contains simply a pleasant greeting centrally placed, as well as a brief bio in powerful font.
With no colour on the page, just stark black, white and grey, this homepage gets straight to the point!
Sideshowpress’ site manages to keep to the company’s roots. They old style letter presses and so their whole brand is reliant on a sort of vintage/old timey feel.
The homepage sums this up well with three detailed, retro images and stylised navigation buttons and not much else!
The ‘other’ search engine here, and Bing’s homepage is again a basic layout that is entirely functional.
With a large background image, minimal text and the search bar taking precedence, Bing’s page is perfect for what it is required to do.
Toy NY’s homepage takes a different tact from most on this list, going for a bold and vibrant orange background.
It definitely makes the page stand out and the moving text animation is also an interesting touch. Despite this, it’s still simple and works well as a homepage for an ad agency.
The front page of Tumblr is, like Bing and other big sites on this list, simple and useful.
All it contains is a search bar and thumbnails of images to browse and that’s pretty much it.
Its colour isn’t overpowering and the layout is perfectly fit for purpose.
As you would expect from Apple, the design of their homepage is intended to be stylish and sleek.
It is quite image-heavy but text is a simple black on their stark white background. Perhaps contains more content than some of the other sites on the list, but totally functional in its approach.
If This Then That
Aside from their logo, If This Then That’s homepage only uses a light, bright blue and black for the text on a white background.
The result is an inviting homepage that stimulates further enquiry.
A design firm site unlike others on this list, Pollen go for heavily contrasting colors to keep their homepage bright and interesting.
In particular the yellow sign in the main image (although apparently temporary) is particularly striking.
The original and arguably the best, Google took simple homepage design to a mass audience.
With their iconic, colorful logo placed on a plain white background and just a little black for emphasis, this homepage will go down as a beacon of simple design.
About the Author:
Aaron Charlie works for Silicon Beach Training in Brighton UK, who run InDesign workshops. Aaron writes for their site on topics ranging from tech to design.