Undesign (a.k.a. the trend toward minimalism in web site design)

Liz Bailey writes about “undesign” in the new issue of Graphics International:

The new, uniquely online aesthetic — termed ‘undesign’ by some after Tibor Kalman — isn’t so much about utilitarian minimalism as usability, reductionism and subtlety.

Although this article isn’t great — just referencing the quote above, undesign obviously isn’t new (see Google) or uniquely online (see Charles and Ray Eames) — it is clear that we’re starting to see a backlash against the “more is more” philosophy that has generally pervaded web site design until just recently.

I’d glad that PlaybackTime is one of the better examples of undesign compared to others cited in the article. Although this was intentional (my tolerance for bloated sites is lower than ever), it’s worked out wonderfully given that (1) I initially used the site as an excuse to learn XHTML and CSS (which required coming at site design with a “new mind”), and (2) time constraints which require that most of the time I put into the site goes toward function rather than form.

Hopefully “light sites” are not just “this year’s aesthetic”, but rather a long-term trend in the evolution of this still-infant medium.