top of page

Minimalism: The "design thinking" of gods

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Photo of an art director choosing images Brandgraphy blog
An Art Director at work

In 1950, the Bauhaus art movement laid the foundation of Minimalism, a design movement that took momentum in the late 1960s (like all good things did in 1960s).

Minimalism breaks away from the crowded, multi-layered design aesthetics of Art Deco or Art Nouveau and relies in the power of simplicity, balance and harmony.

Buddha in meditation Brandgraphy blog on minimalism

Minimalism has its roots in the concept of Zen, which is a Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word "chan", which in turn is a Chinese translation of the Sanskrit word "dhyana"- meditation. It is a design philosophy that is about a way of life, not just visual design, a life where we own less, waste nothing, find joy in simplicity and go deep in our own bliss. A design movement that signifies supreme intelligence and celebrates "Less is more".

Image of single man walking on ice Brandgraphy blog on minimalism
Minimalism - the design thinking of gods

Minimalism evolved from the concept of space, which is not just real-estate in Japan. Space is a system of relationships, and a continuous "state", space is a about what it enables in the best way, they categorize space for the different nature of interactions that occur in them. It is not a boundary, or the lack of it, space is a living system with differentiated emotional qualities. Minimalism took it's direction from the concept of "Ma" as a space. Ma is often translated as the negative space (empty space).

Poster of Darwin Brandgraphy blog
A minimalist poster on Darwin and his theory of natural evolution

Imagine a poster with a graphic, and observe it's empty space, that empty space is technically called "negative space" in graphic design. The space that is occupied with objects is called "positive space". Think about what an empty room offers to the mind, than a room full of furniture. Minimalism in visual design is really about the the idea of using negative space beautifully to bring emphasis on other elements. An important thing to understand in context of modern graphic design. However, "ma" can be defined better as the free zone that allows for dissimilar things to co-exist (source - Quartz). To understand Ma in a unique description, you can also savour the read at Kyoto Journal.

In Product design, minimalism follows the idea of de-cluttering the canvas and creating a very easy to use, simple and harmonious sense of design. When we craft the experience of a user with minimalism in mind, we reduce the user's effort, and discard all distractions, it enables a user to find and operate the machines, services, information or spacial experience they desire with great ease. Let's look at some use cases from Packaging Design and Web Experiences.


Toscatti is a kitchenware company, it has stripped down all elements, and used the most powerful one - Colour, as their choice of impact. Read more here

Toscatti packaging design bandgraphy blog
Toscatti - image courtesy -

Bedow Beer - A very interesting 2012 project, the beer bottle labels are printed with thermo-sensitive ink which made it possible for the leaves in the labels to drop off, when the bottle begins to change from a cold state to a warm one. Read more here

Photo of Bedow beer in Brandgraphy blog
Bedow beer - image courtesy - Mikkeller

Mandarin Natural Chocolate has done a brave attempt through a really simple design, read more here

Photo of mandarin chocolate in brandgraphy blog
Mandarin natural Chocolate - image courtesy - the brand identity


Principio is a breathtaking example of a happiness-kissed website with a very fine touch of minimalism. It has beautiful illustrations and a very focussed navigation that takes the visitors on an effortless journey.

The rolling transparent bottle stays with the user through out the scroll, just like a good drink should!

Photo of Principio honey drink

Check out Principio website

Slow - If there is ever a literal match-making of an idea and how it should be depicted, then Slow and Minimalism are it! The website has taken an editorial visual approach for the narrative infused with photo-styles meditative in nature. On the home page, it has an evolved sense of photographing nature as the sunlight changes from dawn to dusk (sort of quick light change) within the same frame and photo, making you feel the duration of time, the very meaning of slow.

Photo of Slow home page brandgraphy blog

Check out Slow website

Minimalism is a profound principle to practise, both in real life and our creative endeavours. We hope that our blog inspires everyone to look at the very essence of everything and think deeply on what is really necessary, and therefore spend more time on the things that truly need our attention, both in life and brand communications.


bottom of page