Art Direction

Minimalist Maximalist Design and the Problem with Inclusivism by Kevin Landwehr

Some designers are calling the current state of stripped-down, reductive, copycat web design “Minimalism.”

Today’s by the numbers design reality isn’t Minimalism, not when there are hundreds of product managers, marketing teams, UXers, VPs, and even project managers getting in on the design conversation. It’s more like “Inclusivism” — and the only way to save the soup with that many chefs in the kitchen is to… water it down.


Now frustrated designers point to anything even remotely creative as examples of “Maximalism” when they are actually current and redundant trends in the also mislabeled “Minimalism”, where eSlaves are permitted to pull Brutalism trends from artsy sources. Making an excuse for these tiny shifts by mislabeling them “Maximalism” illustrates how icky those changes feel for people working inside the digital echo chamber. The condition is getting worse because Silicon Valley is where the highest paid of the designer class is instructed to use data science, not aesthetic differentiation, to activate customers. And they aren’t wrong.

Maximalism might look more like

Web Design - Maximalism - Nothing Something Creative Group.png

A designer trying to convince a leader to sell a product with that isn’t honoring the mission. It’s pretty fly though.

Somewhere in between there are electric spaces where designers who care, like you, like us, conspire with leaders who want to push boundaries and are able to design less reductively while also keeping things clear and getting clicks. It’s up to the best of us to honor those leaders, get them where they are going, and demonstrate design as a value, not a luxury or a privilege.



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