Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style

Functional, readable, sleek and attractive.

There hasn’t been anything like it for a long time, so I was waiting for a new, functional and visually appealing design style. And he stole my heart.

I’ve seen similar style patterns in many interfaces. These interfaces looked very good – they were attractive, readable, and not too extravagant. I thought they were perfect for being beautiful and functional at the same time.

Because this is the main problem with design trends – they look mesmerizing, but with their help it is impossible to create a fully functional product (neomorphism or glassmorphism is not available enough for everyday use).

So I named this design style Modern Minimal. It is minimal compared to other design styles, but at the same time not as dull and boring as the old Material Design or Flat design. You can find a lot of inspiration from different styles in it (for example, from skeuomorphism and even glassmorphism!), But, as you will see later, it does not exceed a certain level of visual complexity.

So let’s get started!

Characteristics

I’ve made some Modern Minimal mobile screens to show you the most important factors. In general, the Modern Minimal style combines the following characteristics:

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
  1. Bright background and gaps
  2. Slight roundness of interface elements
  3. Large, readable headlines
  4. Real photo
  5. Thoughtful use of colors
  6. Focusing on contrast
  7. Limited use of effects
  8. Small details, often illustrated

Examples of

1. Bright background and white space

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: UI8, UGEM, UI8, UImartin (ig), UI8

In Modern Minimal, the main thing is white space. All interface content is most often presented against a white or very bright background. The clever use of whitespace makes the overall interface look clean, fresh and aesthetically pleasing.

2. Slight roundness of interface elements

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: UI8, Plainthingstudio, Vishnu Prasad, Permadi Satria Dewanto, Ghulam Rasool

Interface elements in the Modern Minimal style are slightly rounded. This makes the interface more organic and user-friendly.

If you know about the recently popular Clubhouse app, you’re probably familiar with their rounded avatars. They make the whole product more original and distinctive!

Personally, I’m a big fan of rounded corners (they are nicer to the eye than sharp ones). The point is not to abuse the roundness, but to leave it for certain elements, such as buttons and containers. The corner radius must not exceed certain values ​​(a slight rounding is better than fully rounded corners).

3. Large, readable headlines

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: Dasraaz (IG), UI8, Dmitry Lauretzky, tino.agency, Shakuro

I love those big bold headlines! They make the interface more modern. You can choose between sans serif and serif fonts, but personally I would recommend sticking to popular geometric sans serif fonts such as Gilroy, Sofia pro, Lufga or Circular… You can also try Pulp, Gordita, Visby, Konnect, Geliat, Galano or + Jakarta Sans

4. Real photo

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: sajon007 (IG), Fandhitya Giovani, qclaydesign (IG), soltanimediauiux (IG), Glebich (IG)

Yes! Modern Minimal uses real photographs.

I predicted the return of real photographs in my article on design trends for 2021… It was inevitable – everyone is gradually getting bored with childish 3D renders, flat people and hand-drawn doodles. Real photographs have one big advantage – they look “real” and bring a touch of reality to digital products.

My own research on projects I’ve worked on also clearly shows that users prefer photography over illustration because they look more serious and relate to real-world experiences on an emotional level.

5. Thoughtful use of colors

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: UI8, Den Klenkov, arminmhmmdi (IG), Fatih Takey, Manuel Rovira Design (IG)

The Modern Minimal style is often very minimalistic when it comes to colors. They are mainly used for the most important actions and / or emphasis on elements. Thanks to this, the interface looks pleasant, since there are no splashes of colors that constantly distract the user’s attention.

6. Focusing on contrast

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: UI8, Shakuro, Upnow Studio, UI8

One great thing about Modern Minimal is its accessibility (which seems to be a problem with most styles). With enough contrast, we can easily distinguish the background from the elements, understand the visual hierarchy, and use the interface with ease.

7. Limited use of effects

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: UI8, albertomacherelli (IG), Plainthingstudio, Rudi Hartono, Sajon009 (IG)

Modern Minimal draws inspiration from many different styles and effects. Subtle colorful shadows, blurred aurora backgrounds, embossing and even glassmorphic elements are welcome. Thanks to this, the interface can remain readable and visually uncluttered.

8. Small details, often illustrated

Guide to Modern Minimal UI Design Style
Left to right: UI8, divivgroup (IG), uimartin (IG), uiinterceptor (IG), Tran Mau Tri Tam

What I also really like about Modern Minimal is the attention to detail. Despite its minimalist form, it takes on small, handy elements – icons, emoticons, and other graphic elements such as patterns and collages that mix real photographs with illustrations. The graphic elements that we are all used to on a daily basis make the interface more welcoming and fun.

Output

I really like the atmosphere of the Modern Minimal style. It includes everything that makes an interface functional yet user-friendly – and when it comes to interface design, this is definitely the biggest challenge.

It doesn’t compromise accessibility in any way – making it a style you can use every day, not just Dribbble shots. I’ve already done several real projects inspired by this style in our company – and it really works! Right now I am working on a redesign of our agency’s website and I also chose this style as the basis for the visuals.

Interfaces should be minimalistic to make them more user-friendly. But they also need to be aesthetically pleasing in order to evoke all kinds of positive emotions (read my article on emotional design). And the Modern Minimal style combines both.

Hope this article will inspire you to try something new. As always – thanks for reading and happy design!

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