Brutalist Web Design

In 2016, we’re used to seeing fancy looking and engaging websites for brands, trying to interact and connect with their audiences. However, a recent trend seems to throwback to websites with a look reminiscent of 90’s dialup.

This design revolution, known as brutalism, goes beyond the limits of minimalism featuring few pieces of plain text, big white spaces and a lack of graphics that would make the most innovative of designers shiver.

This stripped down style originally harks back to industrial architectural design between the 1950s and 1970s used mainly on government buildings. With brutalism coming from the French meaning for ‘raw’, it is clear that this is a form of design where the coldness and lack of personality is characteristic.

But why the sudden change towards this design?

Brutalism has recently sparked popularity through, set up by Pascal Deville, the Creative Director at advertising agency, Freundliche Grüsse, in Zurich, Switzerland. Deville highlights websites that feature a brutalist design after he became interested in the style. However, once the Hacker News picked up on this blog and this unusual design technique, the idea went viral with Deville receiving 160,000 page views in twenty-four hours.

While the design is incredibly basic, Deville has commented in interviews that web designers are mimicking this popular aesthetic in order to make something original and different and therefore, arguably more memorable for page visitors.

For example, the Washington Post news website takes inspiration from this design by putting everything in black and white to put emphasise on the author’s writing rather than focus on a funky design or big bright images. It just shows how designers can still be creative with limited aesthetics or effort.

Do you think design is going towards a more simplistic look? What are your thoughts on brutalism?