What Makes Minimalist Design? The Big Picture Or The Detail?

Eames ones said: Details are not the Details – they make the design. That’s what I want to explore today.

According to Eames, details are not merely ornamental aspects of a design, but rather integral parts that contribute to the overall effect. He argues that it is important to consider all details when creating a design, as even the smallest ones can have a significant impact.

This quote highlights the importance of paying attention to even the smallest details to create a successful design. But what about minimalist design? Is it the details? Or the big picture, which should come together to create a cohesive, balanced and visually appealing composition? And is it possible to create a harmonious ensemble on the basis of the details?

The devil is in the details, right?

Details are important because they can create visual interest, add texture and depth, and give the viewer a sense of what the designer was thinking when creating the piece.

When we look at a design, we see the general shape and form, but it’s the details that really catch our eye and make us take notice. It’s the details that make us look at the design more closely, and it’s the details that make us appreciate the design more. Especially with minimalist design, the smallest details can define and make up the entire design (like in the upcoming left picture, example 1)

But if there are no details, especially in minimalist designs, what defines the design?

Example 1: In this example, we see a strong focus on the detail.
© The Design Walker
Example 2: How about this example? Hardly any details, excellent minimalist design – here it’s all about the big picture. © Japanese House designed by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
Minimalist Lamp Design - K Lamp by Vitamin
Example 3: This is a beautiful example of how the details can combine functionality and style © K Lamp By Vitamin

If there are no details, then it’s a stylistic means used intentionally to contribute to the overall concept. It can even be a defining feature. In this case, the missing details make the design unique and special. But be careful here – if composition, color choice, symmetry, and other important design principles make the overall look unconvincing, a lack of detail can determine whether the design is good or bad.

If composition, color choice, symmetry, and other important design principles make the overall look unconvincing, a lack of detail can determine whether the design is good or bad.

From good to great

I personally believe that the big picture of a minimalist design is important, after all it gives the first impression, but it is usually the details that make the design special. They distinguish good minimalist design from great minimalist design. Especially the details that manage to combine functionality with aesthetics (example 3). And that, in my opinion, is what makes minimalist design so appealing.

It is important that the details work together to create a cohesive whole. If one element is out of place, it can throw off the entire design. So the key to a successful minimalist design is finding the right balance between the details and the big picture.

Now it’s up to the designers among my readers: What makes minimalist design for you?


About Exploring Aesthetics:

Sarah loves asking questions and exploring the things she interacts with on a daily basis. Exploring aesthetics is her column which discusses art, design and aesthetics to explore, inspire and to question the status quo.

  1. In my opinion, successful minimalist design comes down to two things: balance and simplicity. To create a balanced design, all of the elements must work together to create a cohesive whole. And to create a simple design, the designer must focus on the essentials and edit out anything that is unnecessary. When these two things come together, the result is a beautiful and effective design.

  2. I agree that details are important because they can create visual interest, add texture and depth, and give the viewer a sense of what the designer was thinking when creating the piece. However, I think it is also important to consider the big picture when creating a design, especially in minimalist design. The overall aesthetic of a design always sets the tone and mood, and the best designs are those that balance both the big picture and the small details.

  3. Without both the big picture and the details, a minimalist design would be unfinished and lacking in depth. The details are what make a design special and unique, and they should work together to create a cohesive whole.

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Aesence is a creative studio and digital design magazine with a high curatorial approach. Founded by Sarah Dorweiler, a creative mind and entrepreneur from Berlin, her goal is to capture the feeling of harmony, balance and inner peace in her curatorial work and photography.