A clean, simple look never goes out of style. When you choose to stick with sharp lines and less clutter, you focus on your page’s content. You also won’t embrace passing trends that might go out of favor quickly.
According to Internet Live Stats, the first website appeared in August of 1991. Back then, the designs were simple, with text and a solid background. The internet has grown by leaps and bounds in the following 30 years. Today, there are more than 1.8 billion websites around the globe.
It might be tempting to try to come up with something zany and attention-grabbing, but classic designs often show you are reliable and steadfast as a company. You also won’t have to update as frequently, since your style won’t be out of date. There are some specific occasions when you should choose a classic design.
1. Put the Focus on a Product
An uncluttered look puts the focus on the image of your product. The user isn’t distracted by fancy 3D effects, animations, or psychedelic backgrounds. The design almost fades away, and the user zones in on only the elements you want to highlight.
Without a lot of clutter, it’s easy to draw attention to a button, a photo, or even text. Think about the goal of your page. What action do you want users to take? Home in on that feature by placing it in a prominent location.
Gotham Greens embraces a simple style that puts the entire focus on the plants they grow. Note the basic white background with black text. A logo appears near the center top. The focus falls on the beautiful photography on the page.
2. Highlight Your UVP
Your company’s unique value proposition (UVP) is what helps you stand apart from competitors. Yet, many sites shift the focus from the UVP and onto the design when they take on fancy embellishments.
A leaner look zeroes in on the headline, which is where you’re most likely to showcase your UVP. Instead of adding a lot of distraction, work on cutting down unnecessary elements until the user’s gaze goes to the text on the page and the message there.
3. Meet User Expectations
People are used to a particular layout and design elements. They expect the navigation to be near the top of the page, the logo to be near the top, and headlines centered above the fold. If you stray too far outside of these norms, your site visitors may grow frustrated and bounce away from your landing page.
Aboff’s Paint uses a familiar layout. Users can quickly acclimate upon landing on their page. The navigation is placed horizontally at the top of the page. Their logo is in the upper left corner and serves as a home button, linking back to the site’s main page. The headline is the first thing to grab your attention.
Details like the beautiful, bold paint colors add a pop of interest without detracting from what users expect on a retailer’s page.
4. Create Less Frustration
When businesses follow design trends, they must change their look frequently to keep up with a rapidly evolving industry. Major adjustments aggravate users who come to your site often. They expect a specific look and layout, and suddenly it’s all different.
With a classic design, you only need to make small changes, such as adding a different product image or highlighting news.
5. Improve the Customer Experience
Studies show that 86% of customers say they’d pay more money for a better experience. Keeping lines clean helps them navigate to what they want more quickly. Eliminate anything on the page that takes away from the focus.
Try to limit yourself to a single call to action (CTA). Keep your color palette to three colors or fewer. Shorten any headlines and body text, retaining only vital information.
Parisi Coffee keeps their overall design classic. They add a video to the background, which they can change easily for different seasons, specials, new products, or a fresh look. Note their limited color palette.
They use a lot of neutral shades with a pop of red across the top of the page. They also repeat the red at the bottom of their landing page to encourage people to sign up for their mailing list.
6. Make Updates Easier
A classic style makes it easier to update your website. You aren’t working against other elements. If you want to add something trendy, you can easily plug it into a classic look without changing everything else about your page.
Add, remove, and temporarily showcase all types of elements without changing the overall look. Think about sites such as Amazon and Google. They go with a classic design but add changes here and there to highlight different holidays or historical events, or to feature sales.
How Do You Define Classic Design?
What you see as classic design may be different than the viewpoint of another person. Age and background play a role in what’s traditional and what’s cutting-edge. The overriding definition of classic design calls for lots of negative space, sharp lines, and minimal clutter.
Take a step back from your computer and look at how your page appears. If you have to step closer to separate the elements, you probably have too much on your page. A classic design is elegant but not formal. And it stands the test of time.
About the Guest Author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency before becoming a freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.