There is a lot of talk about minimalism these days around the web. If this was Twitter, it would undoubtedly be a “Trending Topic”. Folks like Colin Wright, Adam Baker, Everett Bogue, and Tammy Strobel are following in the footsteps of Leo Babauta and others who are passionate about living life without the constraints of your stuff.
When I sat down with Everett, author of “The Art of Being Minimalist” a couple weeks ago – we talked about Minimalism as it transcends all facets of life – and most importantly to me – how it’s effecting the way we do business, the future of Social Media, and the face of marketing as we see it today and where it’s headed.
The minimalist trend isn’t rising, it’s here, it’s everywhere around us. We’re living in a society that ultimately wants less. We’re condensing our wants to meet our needs – and in a world in which we are absolutely inundated and bombarded with information – we value simple and effective over flash and glamor.
Look at the IPhone (if you read my post earlier this week you know I don’t have one, but go with me here). The IPhone has replaced the need to carry around a huge purse or briefcase with all of your “needs”. No more address book, no camera, no calculator, no books. The IPhone has consolidated all of that into an extremely effective all-in-one package. Colin Wright wrote a great piece about 19 things you can replace with your IPhone – give it a read and get rid of some of your stuff.
Now let’s stop at the grocery store. I was in the store the other day buying some shampoo and something obvious was staring back at me – gone are the days of the bright pink bottles with crazy typography that scream “look at me”. Now we’re seeing rows upon rows of simple, clean, white bottles with easy to read fonts and clear “messages” about what that product will do for me. Calls to action are clearer, messages are much less fuzzy, and everyone, even Vidal Sasoon, is buying into the minimalist approach.
Another example…Take a look at the design of your favorite websites. Remember the Geocities sites from back in the day? I’m talking flashing glitter backgrounds, midi file blasting as soon as the site loads, animated gif’s. Yeah, you remember the hideous browsing days of old. More recently we all fell in love with Flash because, well, it looks cool, right? Now, substance is priority number one. Design no longer (or at least shouldn’t) overwhelm the site’s content, but should instead complement it and support the needs of the reader with, again, clear definitive calls to action and simplicity.
OK, last thought on the big elephant sitting in the corner of the room. Social Media. Think about where we’ve come from over the past 5-6 years. Myspace was huge – everyone was there – then they added a ton of bells and whistles, everyone’s profiles started looking like those 90’s Geocities sites I referenced above, and what came along? Facebook. Facebook started as being exclusive only to college students – that quickly changed and before too long my Mom was poking me every other day (and then the world ended). What happened next? Twitter. Twitter is minimalist Social Media to a tee – so much so that it limits the amount you can say.
What’s next? I’m not sure, but the trend is clear – When one thing becomes “too much”, a new more simplified platform steps forward, it’s a cycle we’ve seen time and time again.