Brutal03: a redesign using brutalist web design principles
It’s that time of the year when I rework the website for no other reason than I can. While the previous design with its cartoonish characters was closer to the playful side of my personality, this is better suited for my professional work.
This iteration of the design is called “Brutal03” and based loosely on the principles of Brutalist web design. If you’re not familiar with it, Brutalism is an architectural style that emerged in the UK in the 1050s. It’s in the popular imagination as concrete structures, but underneath this is a minimalist approach that appreciates the materials used in construction and avoids hiding them behind facades and renders.
Brutalist web design
Just as Brutalist architecture emerged as a counter to the beautified, nostalgia infused architecture of the 40s, so Brutalist Web Design is the antithesis to the over-engineered sites that seem to dominate the web today.
I’ve interpreted these principles within the Brutal03 design in the following ways:
- The post structure is exposed. I have deliberately left borders in place on key elements to show the structure of the underlying HTML. As well as providing a pleasing appearance, it also acts as a signpost for sections and
- Links are underlined. There are two exceptions. The first is the footer, where underlines were removed to avoid visual clutter. The second are “cards” that link to other content in the site on index pages and footers. For these the header was left with a single bottom border.
- A consistent colour scheme has been applied to backgrounds and construction lines. Work related content is green, play content is pink and design is blue. Other colours may be added later.
The environmental benefit
This minimalist approach to design also reduces the carbon footprint of the site. I chose a host whose servers are run on sustainable energy, but there’s more to it than just feeling good about where the electrons come from. There’s also how many are used.
Yet for all our talk of carbon footprints and reducing the impact of our activities, NEVER featured in any discussion I’ve had about website design. That’s something I have to change.
Brutalism as an antidote to lazy web design?
It’s time to go back to basics. Good, clean code that lets a web browser be a web browser and lowers our collective carbon footprint. As well as aesthetic and functional factors in our design choices, we should add environmental.
It’s something I’ll start factoring into my thinking in the months and years ahead.