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Inside Minimalism Tongtong Li

Inside Minimalism Discover creative personalization within the principles of Minimalism




inimalist design is undoubtedly the dominant and flourishing trend in modern day’s design industry. It is generally recognized that Minimalist Design has brought huge advantages to the whole

society and has benefited human a lot, from multifunctional smartphones to modern magnificent skyscrapers. However, while we are indulging ourselves in those merits, we could not overlook the fact that subtle side effects and inconspicuous underlying problems come along with its developing process. For designers, especially young designers who have just stepped into the design industry, on the one hand, Minimalist Design can quickly introduce them into the threshold since it has very clear and regulated design principles. On the other hand, Minimalist Design is so easy for designers to copy and imitate, many designers will blindly follow the superficial formats of Minimalist Design and ignore the important design rules behind it. Also, once Minimalist Design has become a default design system, designers will be scared to make changes against the current trend. Generally, designers have their own design and aesthetic preferences that reflect their diverse creativity and imagination, however, it is also noteworthy that the development of Minimalist Design has limited and constricted the diversity and uniqueness in the design industry, which may not be beneficial to the designers in the long run. Consequently, it is essential to research and find out some possible ways that can help designers retain the design diversities and unique characters in the developing process of Minimalist Design.

Inside Minimalism Discover creative personalization within the principles of Minimalism By Tongtong Li

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Visual Communications Design School of Design China Academy of Art May 2015 Š 2017 Tongtong Li A thesis submitted in partial fullfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts, Communications Design School of Design Pratt Institute May 2017


Inside Minimalism Discover creative personalization within the principles of Minimalism By Tongtong Li

Received and Approved:

Primary Thesis Advisor: Michael Dyer

May 2017

Ann Morris

May 2017

Mahir M. Yavuz

May 2017

Santiago Piedrafita

May 2017

Tongtong Li

May 2017

Secondary Thesis Advisor:

Secondary Thesis Advisor:


MFA Candidate:


Chapter 1 How to define Minimalism? Glossary of terms


Questions and concerns

Chapter 2


How to explore Minimalism?

Artists and designers


What's it like today?


Why is Minimalist Design is so popular today?

Complexity vs Minimalism Minimalism and economy

45-48 49-50

How does Minimalist Design boost sale on the websites ďź&#x;

Chapter 3 How to Change Minimalism? Personalization in Minimalism


Speculative online shopping project Bibliography Acknowledgement

57-60 62


Chapter How to define Minimalism?

Glossary of terms Minimalist


hen you call a person a minimalist, you're describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something. In art history, the minimalists were artists whose work involved extremely simple gestures and ideas. The art they created is also referred to as minimalist. A white canvas with one black line might be a typical minimalist painting. But anyone who likes things very simple could be called a minimalist. A president who takes a hands-off approach to policy, a composer who only plays one note, a designer whoputs only a bed in a bedroom: they're all minimalists. [1] In my thesis, Minimalist represents the current flourishing design trend, which advocates a concise and simple style for design works and uniformity within it. Minimalist Design is very easy for designers to learn and follow since it has less design elements and very well organized design formats. It is quite obvious that todays’ design industry has been dominated by Minimalist Design and is developing towards the direction of becoming more and more concise.

[1]"Minimalist - Dictionary Definition." N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

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omplexity describes the behavior of a system or model whose components interact in multiple and diverse ways and follow local rules, meaning there is no reasonable higher instruction to define the various possible interactions. [1] When you see the word complexity, think of something with a lot of pieces, something not easy to put into words or understand. Things that can have complexity include: the events leading up to the American Civil War, a broth made with many ingredients, your relationship with your parents. Complexity is the opposite of simplicity. When something has a lot of complexity, you say it is complex. When it has very little complexity, it is simple. [2] Complexity can be described as the opposite word of minimalism, both terms could bring totally different effects to design works. Minimalist Design is making subtractions, while complexity is making addition to the design. Minimalist Design could be learned and comprehended more thoroughly by comparing it with more complex design works. Also, the defects and imperfections of Minimalist Design can be explored more easily in comparison of complex design works.

[1] "Complexity." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. [2]"Complexity - Dictionary Definition." N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.



n the one hand, Minimalist Design has provided designers much easier access to the design industry, and give them well organized and regulated patterns to follow, on the other hand, it has constricted designers’ own design preferences since designers are becoming scared to create something new against this flourishing design trend. In a word, designers’ own choices have been decreased to large extent due to the constricted formats set by Minimalist Design. How can designers get rid of this constriction is a significant thing that every designer should consider in their careers.

1. To make smaller or narrower by binding or squeezing. [1] 2. To squeeze or compress. [1] 3. To restrict the scope or freedom of; cramp: lives constricted by poverty. [1]

[1] "Constrict." The Free Dictionary. Farlex, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

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iversity in my thesis refers to designersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; different design preferences, design choices and their own creativity. One of the major imperfections of Minimalist Design is its constriction for the designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own creativities and imagination. Undoubtedly, the Minimalist Design trend has the tendency of leading the whole design industry towards an average standard, it is quite a dangerous phenomenon that the design industry is losing its diversity and vitality in the long run. 1.The condition of having or being composed of differing elements : VARIETY; especially : the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization <programs intended to promote diversity in schools> [1] 2. An instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities : an instance of being diverse <a diversity of opinion> [1] 1. The state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness: diversity of opinion. [2] 2. Variety; multiformity. [2] 3. T he inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc. [2] 4. A point of difference. [2]

[1] Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. [2] "The Definition of Diversity." N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.



ersonalization, which sometimes known as customization, consists of tailoring a service or a product to accommodate

specific individuals, sometimes tied to groups or segments of individuals. A wide variety of organizations use personalization to improve customer satisfaction, digital sales conversion, marketing results, branding, and improved website metrics as well as for advertising. Personalization is a key element in social media and recommender systems. [1] The process of making something suitable for the needs of a particular person. [2]

Personalization is an essential part for designers to reflect their own design talents and unique ideas on their design works. Through personalization, we can see various characters and interesting ways that could be applied on the same object, personalization makes design works more humanized and attractive. It is important that every designer come up with unique ways of personalization while following the rules and design principles of Minimalist Design.

[1]"Personalization." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. [2]"Personalization Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary." Personalization Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

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•What are the hidden problems in nowadays’ Minimalist Design? 

•Is design becoming more and more concise in the future the default trend for people?

•What are the possible consequences if nowadays’ design trend don’t stop its footstep of becoming much more simplistic?

•Does the word “minimalism” in modern day’s design equal to “convenience”?

•What is the solid aesthetic basis that supports the concept of Minimalist Design?

•What are the underlying reasons that make Minimalist Design flourish?

•What have people, the whole design industry and society lost in the Minimalist Design developing process?

Questions and concerns

•How can designers retain their own design preferences and diversity in the design formats set by Minimalist Design?

•Are those design elements that have been abandoned by Minimalist Design recycled?

•What are the different functions for both old and new products if they can coexist for a long period of time?

•Does “become more simplistic” equate to “become more advanced” in people’s mind?

•Does the release of every new product mark the devaluation of its old version?

•Why do people tend to compromise to the Minimalist Design trend?

•What are people’s complex feelings in the alteration periods of old and new products?

•What could be the possible reasons that hinder Minimalist Design’s development in the future?

Chapter How to explore Minimalism?

Artists and designers Mies Van der Rohe


f we look at Minimalist Design in the past,

Every time I walk through the buildings around

Modern design can be described as its origin.

Rockefeller Centre, I feel it is hard to breath, I am a

Modern design was developed from architectural

tiny creature under those glass curtain wall buildings.

design. A number of advanced designers and

It seems that I have been trapped in a small space

architects formed a group to promote the so called

where tons of pressure falls on my shoulders and I was

new architectural movement. The content of this

struggling to find a way out.

movement was very complex, including spiritual, ideological, and technology, especially regarding the

I believe that my hatred towards modern highrise

use of new material, like reinforced concrete, glass

buildings is not an anomaly. The design trend of

and steel plate. The architects in this movement

becoming more and more simplistic is like a fast moving

strongly propagated the idea that modern design is a

train in which designers could hardly stop to hearthe

new form. They opposed any decoration, as well as

audience's true inside voices.

any tendency against functionalism.

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One Modernist designer, who is not one of my favorite designers, is a powerful and famous architect in the development of Minimalist architecture design. His name is Mies Van der Rohe. One of Mies’ greatest achievements was that he created an influential twentieth-century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. He had a special preference for modern materials like industrial steel and plate glass of which he made use to define interior spaces. Also, his most famous executed project of the interwar period in Europe was the German Pavilion that is also known as the Barcelona Pavilion, which was commissioned by the German government for the 1929 International Exposition at Barcelona. “Less is more” is the quotation that he talked about through out his career. It is worth mentioning that Mies was sued by one of his clients for his design work Farnsworth House in Illinois. Mies never seemed willing to give up his simplistic style, even when the design object is residential housing. To him, a closet is an unnecessary detail that he had to get rid of. Finally, the outcome was a steel structure for a house surrounded by glass, with no privacy, no thermal insulation, no closet. It was hot in summer and cold in winter, according to accusation by the owner of the house, Ms. Farnsworth, only after a short time after she moved into the house. It is obvious that some of Mies’ works have clearly revealed the imperfection and disadvantage of modern design, which are still point to underlying problems in today’s Minimalist design trend. However, the intrinsic spirit of Minimalist design can not be totally denied. For example it has been better clarified by another Japanese graphic designer Kenya Hara.

Kenya Hara


enya Hara can be described as my favorite

Kenya Hara has been the art director of MUJI since

graphic designer of all time, and he is

2001. He published Designing Design, in which he

definitely the leader in the graphic design

elaborates on the importance of “emptiness” in both

field in today Japan. As the art director of MUJI, he

visual and philosophical traditions of Japan, and its

became very famous and he published two thought

application to graphic design. From his perspective,

provoking publications, White and Designing Design,

“emptiness” is a deep and significant word, on the one

these design books enable people to have a profound

hand, it means nothing, however, on the other hand, it

understanding of his unique design ideas and also

also shows the potential of everything, and this profound

convey to people what he is trying to do to change

idea eventually developed into the fundamental concept

the traditional form of graphic design.

of MUJI, which is “no brand” concept.

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However, the “no brand” concept is the exact reason why MUJI products are so appealing as a brand to me and other audiences. When you experience the MUJI products, you are not only viewing it but also feeling it. The MUJI products are close to nature, close to human lives, the unadorned and plain exterior looks can not hide their inner delicacy and beauty. The First thing that attracted me while I was reading Hara’s publication, Designing Design, was the five senses concept that he proposes. He boldly presented the thesis that human being’s mind exists everywhere in the body, not only in the brain. We can receive information through our five senses: sight, hearing,

Indeed, Kenya Hara is one of the leaders of graphic

touch, smell and taste. Later, he applied this idea

design in the world, he has brought so many amazing

to one of his design projects, a signage system of a

design works to us. Most importantly, he changed our

local hospital. In this project, he used the material

traditional ways of appreciating and judging graphic

of clean, white, soft cloth for the signage in order to

design work simply by viewing its design elements

make patients recognize the sanitary condition of the

like colors, patterns, structures and so on. Another

hospital and feel the care that the hospital provides

significant inspiration that we can get from Hara

for them are kind and meticulous, just like the softness

is that the form of communication within graphic

of white cloth. This is just one example of how Hara

design is various, even numerous. He is definitely a

is considering unusual ways to communicate certain

designer that has developed the idea of simplistic

information to people and let them fully comprehend it

design to its ultimate level, which is “emptiness”.

in as much detail as possible.

However, the fascination is that we may actually receive and feel more in this “emptiness” than most colorful and trendy graphic designs. The idea of “emptiness” in design is a thoughtprovoking principle that has influenced MUJI and other simplistic design all the time. So it is not a surprise when I saw an Australian Thailand female photographer’s works reflecting the similar minimalist style with MUJI.

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John Pawson


f there has to be a designer which I can see the reflection of both Mies Van der Rohe and Kenya Hara’s works, I will definitely present modern

architect John Pawson, whose architecture works may looks like the Plagiarism of Mies’ architect, however, John pawson has his own understanding towards minimalism, “I’m doing it for myself. Every single project. I love clear spaces. I love the absolute minimum inside architecture. I find that pleasurable. I also get pleasure from things done nicely, I have to go the whole way.” The Design Museum in London, has most of Pawson’s characteristics, with a palette of oak, stone and white paint. It is mostly an interior, being the insertion of new structures under the curvaceous concrete roof of the 1960s Commonwealth Institute in Kensington. Straight lines and right angles are used wherever it is possible. Its center piece is a big square hall, around which stairs and galleries take people to the exhibition spaces. He describes it as a “theatre” created by circulating visitors, “an event in itself”.

For most architects, taking over the private houses projects can be really tough since the clients are always very capricious. However, as for Pawson, he appreciates the chances of “working with strong personalities, more obsessive than himself.” And he is always trying to create some indulgence in which he could pursuit his personal minimal paradise. However, when it comes to the functionalities of his works, Pawson doesn’t believe that his role is to reinterpret the museum for the 21st century. “It’s not my job to wonder how people will react to exhibitions in the future, with virtual reality and all that. I just wanted to give them a beautiful building that people will feel good in.” From his perspective, the extreme minimalism and cleanness weighs much more than how the architectures can actually works.

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In a word, John Pawson is an inheritor of Minimalist Design. What he has inherited from those modern architects are not only just the visual forms of straight lines and pure backgrounds, but also the ideas and nearly the obsession of being strictly adhering to the principles of minimalism. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not difficult for the audience to comprehend his basic concept of putting the minimalist visual components before its functionalities.

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Peechaya Burroughs


or designers, inspiration and creativity come

An important source of inspiration for Peechayaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

from daily life. However, we usually waste

photographs is from her children. She got a lot of

those sources since it has become a common

inspiration from her children because she fancies

thing that we tend to let many details of our daily

how kids are able to see things in a very simple and

lives slip through our fingers. Peechaya Burroughs,

optimistic way.

an Australian Thailand photographer, presents us with a set of whimsical and creative images. She

One example of her most random photo ideas would

combines different sources of daily things together

be the picture of an orange balloon with white paper

to form her photographs that enable her to visually

behind. She used lots of balloons in her photographs

turn her interpretation of things into something that

and she has them stocked up in various colors.

she can share with other people.

She looked at the orange ones and when she pictured them inflated they just happened to remind her of an egg yolk. So she thought she would try turning this into some sort of picture. She used white paper as another prop to help delivering the idea. She didn’t try to give a complete idea of what the photograph was supposed to be, but she likes to see how people would respond to what they see, and how they would interpret it for themselves. It has become one of Peechaya’s habits to put things from various sources together and try every possible ways to link these unrelated things. As designers, we usually plan ahead the information that we intend to communicate to an audience. However, we can not avoid the fact that new and unexpected ideas come from what we happened to see or think about. Peechaya’s works are good examples of how details in our daily lives can be translated into design element and change the idea that we originally want to communicate to the audience. Peechaya’s photographs resemble minimalist photographs in which photographers leave enough space for the object on the picture to “breathe”. This coincides with Kenya Hara’s design idea of “emptiness”. Those empty and clean spaces on pictures are definitely not waste areas that don’t contribute to the meaning of the photographs. Take Peechaya’s photograph with the orange balloon on it for example. The empty space above the orange balloon gives us enough imagination what it’s going to be like as the balloon rises up rather than filled the empty spaces with details. Both Hara and Peechaya’s works proves the flexible application of those minimalist design elements. However, it remains a challenge to consider how these minimalist elements can be fully made use of in a unique way that increase the tastes of design works.

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Noma Bar


oma Bar is an Israel born graphic designer, illustrator and artist, whom cleverly uses negative space to create some thought

provoking illustrations. His artworks are so simple, yet so clever we can’t fail to be impressed bby those works. “An artist using “negative space” relies on the space that surrounds the subject to provide shape and meaning. Of course, the term also refers to any topic that conjures feelings of unease and discomfort,” says the Noma Bar in his latest book called ‘Negative Space’. Noma’s design work reminds me of the Japanese Graphic design master Shigeo Fukuda, who is a specialist in creating optical illusions in his posters. Both of them have made very good use of negative spaces of graphics. Noma once stated that he is after “maximum communication with minimum elements”, and his ingenuity in turning complexity into simplicity exemplifies this idea. Ultimately, his dedication to his own principles testifies his constant efforts in order to achieve this personal challenge in graphic design. We can see a bunch of limited design principles on Noma’s work, on which he subtletly and precisely manipulates the familiar shapes and symbols to form different meanings. He is extremely passionate about social and political issues, such as nuclear warfare, corporate greed and national identity, which he portrays with simplistic graphic figures and twisted hidden humor. In his portraits of celebrities or well-known figures, subjects' features are frequently merged with images that epitomize their fame to form an instantly recognizable face in front of people.

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Noma describes his craft as 'visual communication', combining the skills of artist, illustrator and designer. His works perfectly proves how simplicity makes graphic design alive, and how the meanings and intentions of his works can be interpreted by simple graphic languages rather than by complicated ones.

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The above four designers and artists create concise works that shows both the positive and negative part of Minimalist Design. However, if we want to explore what we have lost or might probably lose in designâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s simplified process, some complex works may give us the answer.

Yayoi Kusama


ompared to those Minimalist Design style

Yayoi is a precursor of the pop art, we can see the

artists and designers, one artist that stands

psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern in a variety of

on the opposite side of being simplistic is

media, painting, collage, sculpture and performance art.

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama is an

Some audiences may always feel a sense of tense and

artist and writer known for exploring a variety of

overcrowding while viewing to Yayoiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s works instead

areas in art and design. She is considered to be one

of these minimalist art and design, however, one thing

of the most important living artists to come out of

that those simplistic works could not be comparable to

Japan with her renowned psychedelic and polka dot

Yayoiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work is that the strong impact and the distinct

installations and art.

personal character that Yayoiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work reflect to us.

It is obvious that Yayoi’s work originates from minimalism. those wildly used dots are no more than very basic graphics. However, she brings the extremely opposite visual effects from minimalist works by flexibly manipulating these dots combining the colors, formats and spaces. I still remember an art event in which a white Audi car covered itself with Yayoi’s red dots, the changes to the car that reflected to us are not simply from the visual aspect, it is striking to see how powerful these dots are that they suddenly endowed the car with a certain character, a playful, naughty character that change the Audi’s car’s serious and meticulous style. Yayoi’s works are outstanding examples of complexity in comparison to minimalism. To some extent, complex art works present us unique and abundant emotions, feelings and personalities of the artists and designers that can not be realized by minimalist works. And this is one of the things we may have lost in Minimalist Design.


n conclusion, the development of Minimalist Design has deep historical base and its idea has been quite influential in many design areas today. We appreciate

the convenience that Minimalist Design bring to us, as it has helped us save a lot of time and energy while still getting the enough information that we need. However, we can not overlook the fact that we are also losing a lot of things in the fast development of Minimalist Design, a lot of questions arises along with its development. Perhaps it is time for everyone to have a profound thinking about this design trend. 39 / 40

What's it like today? Why is Minimalist Design is so popular today?


hen we focus on today, everywhere you turn, there will be a designer releasing a project featuring a Minimalist Design

style. This has become a very common phenomenon, a mainstream that makes designers scared to do anything against it's principles. As I mentioned above, Minimalist Design is an easy way to introduce designers, especially young designers into the threshold of design industry, and provides them a shortcut to imitate and learn its style and design formats. So it is quite common that someone might put forward a question--is minimalism popular because it's easy? Actually, as it is mentioned in an article “Why Is Minimalism so Famous in Current Design Trends” [3], sometimes Minimalism is much harder to execute than excess, and often is more expensive. For example, when you have a minimalist interior, you can't hide anything -it's all out there. You have to have elegant, strong forms for furniture, outstanding materials and fabrics. Comparatively, a more complex interior is

Beauty and functionality have always been two heatedly

much easier to execute than a really great minimalist

debated words when it comes to product design, it is

interior. You can hide a number of elements behind

mentioned in the book Minimalism: Designing Simplicity

lots of draperies and mix and match, however, you

[5], that David Gelernter, an American artist has pointed

can't hide anything in a well-done minimalist interior.

out that the term “machine beauty” highlights the fact that the strength of great tools comes through a combination of abilities and their ease of access, Gelernter stresses that machine beauty is created through more than power or simplicity in isolation. From this we can clearly see simplicity is one of the major reasons Minimalist Design is so popular.

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Complexity Versus Minimalism


ometimes, it is effective to understand something by standing at its opposite side. The advantages of Minimalist Design are

wildly acknowledged. However, since life is full of complexities, not every thing can be compressed into simplicity or minimalism. So, is complexity that terrible compared to minimalism? This reminds me of an example showed in the book written by Norman Don, The Design of Everyday Things [6]. In one chapter, he used the kitchen as an example to illustrate the relativity of complexity. We always feel confused with someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kitchen just because we are unfamiliar with it. Comparatively, our own kitchen does not seem that complex to us even if all the instruments are in a mess. From this case, we can see that one of the reasons simplicity and minimalism beat complexity is that they make things less complicated and confusing. However, if complexity could be tamed by a good conceptual model, like a well organized pattern, maybe it can form a proper way to restore both complexity and minimalismâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s defects and imperfections.

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Minimalism and economy How does Minimalist Design boost sale on the websites?


ommercial profits are one of the major

However, in our real lives, we have seen so many

reasons why Minimalist Design is

websites have been overworked, under planned and

flourishing, especially in modern day's

simply not focused, sometimes designers try to make

web design. In modern website design, the more

the web carry as much information as possible, but

streamlined, focused experience you can give your

only end up with the opposite result. In this case, some

visitors, the better result you can get, in this case,

inexperienced designers will blindly imitate the design

Minimalism is actually a good application to many

style and formats of Minimalist design without actually

professional websites.

paying attention to the rules and design principles behind it, making the web visit lacking some essential

The main purpose for web design is to catch your

information. An important thing is to balance both

customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; eyes and draw them to visit your site

functionality and simplicity on the web. It is said in an

again and again, in eCommerce design, the ultimate

article â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why Minimalist Designs Work Well for Product

goal of your website is to boost sale of the products;

Sales Websitesâ&#x20AC;? [4], an experienced web designer

a well planned and thought out design will keep your

knows how to balance design versus functionality and

customers engaged, while supporting the credibility

simplicity versus gimmicks. While staying at forefront of

of the products, sites and business as a whole.

web trends is a goal for any site, an e-commerce site's main focus has to be getting the consumer to purchase the product.

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When we look back at the web design in the early 90's, the enthusiasm of web designers of being "more is more" was clearly reflected on every information overloaded web page. Web design has came a long way ever since then, it is quite reasonable that less is really more when it comes to engaging visitor's attention, by comprehending the rules behind Minimalism, it's not hard to produce a clean, concise but also functional website, a good minimalist designer knows how to make use of the white space, create balance and precisely focus on the contents. Consequently, minimalism shows a number of benefits in enhancing web site's functionalities, which is a primary reason for boosting online sales.


Chapter How to change Minimalism?

Personalization in Minimalism


herefore, the Primary task that I intend to do for my thesis research is to have a detailed examination of the Minimalist Design trend and find out those hidden and implicit defects behind its flourishing status. Minimalist Design has become an invisible power that sets a constricted standard for humans to appreciate and create design works. It has gradually become a phenomenon that people tend to relate “minimalist” to those positive words like “advanced”, “convenient”, “functional” and “beautiful”. In this case, one thing that I want my research to contribute to people is that I want to use what I am going to achieve in my research process to raise people’s awareness to view Minimalist Design in a more sensible and objective way. The main target audience of my thesis research are designers, which are the essential and indispensable components of the whole design industry. Minimalist Design has influenced today’s designers’ professional career from introducing them into the design threshold to forming their default design systems by constraining their own design preferences. Seemingly, the shrinking of design preferences and diversity has made designers feel less laborious, however, negative effects will happen to designers since the current flourishing design formats are undermining the importance of designers’ own creativities and uniqueness.

53 / 54

It is important that designers stop blindly imitating the superficial part of Minimalist Design and have a complete and thorough comprehension of the design principles behind it. Another important thing that I want my thesis research to contribute to both designers and the whole design industry is to detect the possible ways that enable designers to reflect their diverse design preferences and rich creativities on design works within those constraints and rules set by Minimalist Design. In this case, the whole design industry can keep benefiting from Minimalist Design without sacrificing designersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; abundant characters and vitality. In general, my main intention in this thesis research is to better clarify both pros and cons of Minimalist Design, helping designers have a deeper understanding of the good rules and principles of it, and come up with new ways to help them retain their own design preferences and diversities within the constricted rules set by Minimalist Design.


n order to create more opportunities for both designers and customers to get diversified and personalized experiences within minimalism, I

want to create an online shopping website which imitate the style and rules of minimalism visually, while I will also analyze and explore the chances for creating several personalized sections with which both designers and customers can interact. Above all, the primary and confirmed principles I will follow during my design is that I will always make sure everything I construct within my website is under the rules and forms of minimalism. As I mentioned before, one of the primary advantages of minimalism is that it sets enough constrictions for everything to be well organized, in this case, the challenge is how to detect the possibility of making differences within those constrictions. Basically, the steps that customers follow and experience on every online shopping website are quite similar to each other. However, it is worthwhile thinking about the detailed and specific functions of those steps. On the one hand, some steps have to stay simple and stereotyped since they play crucial roles in maintaining the order of the whole website, on the

Take Amazon as an example, as one of the biggest

other hand, there are also potentials to break the

online book vendors, which shopping process has long

minimalism constrictions a little by introducing more

been stereotyped. We all know that customers can get

contents into some of the online shopping steps.

the corresponding commodity recommendations based on the data the website collected from other customers. But, do we really want to get recommendations from others shopping record, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t we want the website to know more about our own shopping habits? Even our own ways of living our lives?

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And what is love? It is a doll dressed up For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle; A thing of soft misnomers, so divine That silly youth doth think to make itself Divine by loving, and so goes on Yawning and doting a whole summer long, Till Miss's comb is made a perfect tiara, And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots; Till Cleopatra lives at Number Seven, And Antony resides in Brunswick Square.

Fools! if some passions high have warmed the world, If queens and soldiers have played deep for hearts, It is no reason why such agonies Should be more common than the growth of weeds. Fools! make me whole again that weighty pearl The queen of Egypt melted, and I'll say That ye may love in spite of beaver hats.




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onsequently, there are a variety of online shopping procedures that I want to explore the potential of expanding its existing contents,

which also leave designers more opportunities to create diversified design works within the overall minimalism rules and principles. As long as the personalization character can exist within the Minimalist Design, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no longer a dangerous signal that everything will be developing towards the same trend.

Bibliography [1]"Why Minimalism Is the Most Important Design Style to Master - Vanseo Design." Vanseo Design. N.p., 09 May 2011. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. [2]"Design Shack - Web Design Gallery, Articles & Community." Minimalist Design Is Taking Over: Here’s Why | Design Shack. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. [3]"Why Is Minimalism so Famous in Current Design Trends? Is It Because It's Easy? What Is the Train of Thought When Coming up with Minimalist Designs?" Why Is Minimalism so Famous in Current Design Trends? Is It Because It's Easy? What Is the Train of Thought When Coming up with Minimalist Designs? - Quora. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. [4]"Why Minimalist Designs Work Well for Product Sales Websites." Minimalist Web Designs for ECommerce Websites. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. [5]Obendorf, Hartmut. Minimalism: Designing Simplicity. Dordrecht: Springer, 2009. Print. [6]Norman Don. The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Basic, 2013. Print. [7]Maeda, John. The Laws of Simplicity. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006. Print. Hara, Ken'ya. Designing Design. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller, 2007. Print. Hara, Ken'ya. White. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller, 2010. Print. Moore, Rowan. "John Pawson: 'I Love Clear Spaces. I Love the Absolute Minimum'." The Observer. Guardian News and Media, 25 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2017. "Noma Bar." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016. "Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016 Bar, Noma. Negative Space. New York: Mark Batty, 2009. Prints. "Peechaya Burroughs Still Life Images of Food at Play." The Phoblographer. N.p., 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

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Acknowledgement Firstly, I would like to express sincere gratitude to my primary thesis advisor Michael Dyer, who has given me a lot of valuable ideas and suggestions during the whole semester. Thank you so much Michael for being such a wonderful and instructive professor. Also, I would like to thank my two other second advisors, Ann Morris and Mahir M. Yavuz, who has made big contributions to my thesis by providing me necessary advises whenever I encounter any difficulites and confusions in constructing my ideas. Besides, I would like to thank several other amazing and professors at Pratt who has been most helpful in other courses during my two-year graduate study, Prof. Kevin Gatta, Prof. Alisa Zamir and Prof, Jean Brennan, thank you all for been so insipring to my Communications Design study, you are all the best professors ever. Last but not least, I want to thank all my classmates and friends at Pratt, thank you all for your accompany during these two years, and thank you for letting me feel the warmth of being in the big family of Pratt!

Inside Minimalism  
Inside Minimalism