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Rise of Brutalism in Modern Web Design Industry

October 27, 2016


Unlike any aspect of the aesthetically appealing website design seen today, brutalism is new, fresh, promising, and what not. It is far from minimalism and represents some sort of an ultra-basic design, thus called ugly sometimes.

Brutalist is a design trend highly unlikely to make a place in today’s world where the most modern and effective designs are prevailing. Yet, designers in a large count are keeping it in mind, despite the fact that it reminds of a brutish design which was workable in post-World War II Europe since such a design helped revamp in an inexpensive way, thus resulting in cold, stark buildings.

A lot of people have lately shifted to brutalism in design trend. It clearly indicates how certain design circles have been overshadowing the modern web, which chooses to focus majorly on alignment of colors, shapes, design elements and lines.

The Origin of Brutalism

Brutalism is an age old trend, actually, the roots of which go back to industrial and architectural design. From 1950s to almost the mid-1970s, this trend has remained extremely popular with institutional as well as government buildings. Of course, these buildings often are related to coldness and starkness which is not comforting to other people.

The word ‘brutalism’ is derived from French for ‘raw’. What better word could be used for stripped-down websites, which hardly have any concern with aesthetics?

While brutalism has already been accepted by many as a design trend, it is still disregarded by others. The concept is not too old for today’s people, and has been known since brutalistwebsites.com has come into the picture. This website is committed to exhibiting the movement.

Brutalist Websites Taking the World by Storm

Hacker News was the first to pick the brutalist trend. Nevertheless, news sites such as the Washington Post and CBC were not too far away from employing it.

The site brutalistwebsites.com was introduced by Zurich ad agency’s creative director, Pascal Deville.

His aim was to prove that engaging sites were possible to be created by designers without any use of a long design practice list which is highly followed by numerous designers and developers today. His understanding of the things provided another insight into brutalism trend, i.e. it is no less than insurgence against the traditional way in which designing is conducted today.

Deville reached the conclusion that brutalism helped design a site as much as it helped in the backend work. He believed that brutalism was a particular technique to build a site. Thus, any website with a rougher, HTML design could be declared as featuring brutalism too.

Thus, it is correct to say that brutalism is a web design technique that takes into consideration all facets of website-building process. Even if your site’s code has any concern with various libraries, it simply cannot be called brutalist. If you build a handmade website which has clean and polished aesthetics, it can again not be categorized as brutalist.

Brutalism is in the Notice of Famous Websites

Brutalism is a new trend in disguise. In actual, it is a thing from the past which is being taken seriously after decades by design journalists. Today, certain popular websites are really pleased to have been following this design trend.

1. For instance, Apple is believed to have a brutalist design scheme for the website of its 2016 Developers’ Conference. It shows how such companies are more away from old extremes of skeuomorphism.

Apple WWDC-brutalism-design-trendImage Source:www.developer.apple.com

The aforementioned site has:

  • huge negative/white space
  • basic style typeface designed to imitate lines of code
  • hardly any on-page elements

2. A third instance of such a famous website using the brutalist choice is 37signals which is now renowned as Basecamp, a web-application company. The 37signalswebsite showed pure brutalism due to bare-bones and stripped-down design which took it very far from minimalism to merely the basic necessities.

37Signals-brutalism-design-trendwww.37signals.com

This site features:

  • loads of white and negative space
  • extremely crude typeface
  • very plain graphics and illustrations
  • scanty text

3. Another example is the Bio Page of Serge Khineika which is exceptionally raw and rough in appearance. It is the professional site of Serge Khineika, a UX and web designer. The site’s scrolling effect is very clean and shows more edits, page elements and doodles as it is scrolled down.

Serge Khineika-brutalism-design-trendwww.baddesigner.by

This site has:

  • a lot of white space
  • incredibly simple font style
  • a black-and-white picture
  • graphics that bring to mind traditional edits done with a paper and pen

Hacker News Encourages Sheer Brutalism

It is Hacker News which turned brutalism in web design into an admired trend. Also, it is Hacker News that itself is filled with brutalism. Fair enough?

Free of any kind of superfluities and tricks, the site offers a rough, line-by-line page of viral topics. And it has hardly any colors or focus on appearance.

Hacker News-brutalism-design-trendImage Source:www.news.ycombinator.com:

What it features?

  • a huge amount of white and negative space, some of which acts as border
  • small typography which is hard to read and causes readers to actually peep
  • naïve navigation menu and footer
  • merely three colors on the entire site

Brutalism – Being Chosen as a Design Choice since Decades

Brutalism has been in the picture since many years though it has come into the notice of designers and developers only a few months back. Taking a look at the history, the brutalist design trend comes from the time of architectural design, i.e. from around the 1950s.

Acceptance of brutalism by popular groups in their website design is clear evidence that it has taken the shape of a promising design choice. Comfort, appeal and colors are being quickly replaced by rawness and ugliness, much as revolution against today’s best design techniques.

It can be concluded that brutalism is convincing and offers a safe choice over what is believed to be the modern standard of design.

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