In Defense of Simple Design

One of the criticisms of responsive design I have heard repeatedly is that it only works on simple web sites and that many responsive layouts have moved to a one-column. For someone who appreciates minimalism, I am very glad to see the marriage between simple design and responsive layout.

When I first got into the game, the web was extremely busy: animated gifs, background with repeated tiles, Flash intro and loud audio. I was overwhelmed with the trend and needed something simpler. As a result, I focused more on simplicity. Catharine Fishel’s Minimal Graphics: The Powerful New Look of Graphic Design was the first book that opened up my world to simple design. There was something about the focus on the main subject of a design that attracted me. When I started doing freelance work, simple design was something that I pitched to clients and they all liked it.

Responsive design makes perfect sense to me when I started two years ago because it allows me to focus on the content. My practice of doing simple design prepared me for the transition. Now that I see more and more sites are becoming simpler. Maybe responsive design has forced designers to focus more on the contents and that is all good for the web.