Subtle Design Makes Websites Stand Out

Back in 1977, Apple launched the Apple II with the slogan “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Since then, industrial designers have applied the concept to everything from toasters to smartphones.

This same principle applies to web design. From text-heavy websites that were the norm a decade ago to the gimmicky sites of just a few years ago, today’s websites are designed to be subtler. By design, the subtlety is built to grab attention, relay information, and make an immediate impression within the three seconds that it takes most visitors to decide whether or not to click away to the next page.

But as obvious as the principle of subtle design may be today, it takes a lot of attention to detail to make simple web designs effective.

Here are a few things to consider when planning a subtle web design:

1. Less is more

Use less to achieve an overall effect instead of focusing on too many independent design parts. This will keep your design subtle and more impactful.

2. Leave out the unimportant

Consider what is necessary to the function and message of your web design and keep out all the rest.

3. Make every detail count

Functionality and message are more important than needless fluff or fancy functions. Ensure that every single element you include in your web design is fundamental to the message you are delivering and the impact you want to make, not just because it looks cool.

4. Take greater care with color

When designing for subtlety, specific colors can make a world of difference to the look and feel of a design. Color stands out when there are fewer design elements on a page, bringing the focus of the design to the splash of color. Likewise, minimal color with a deliberate purpose creates more of an impact on the design. And the meaning of certain colors (e.g., red for power) also determines the mood of the design.

5. Use white space strategically

What is left out of a design is just as important as what is included. Unused or white space is essential for emphasizing some design elements over others.

These simple considerations will set you on the right path towards a subtle web design that will make your web presence stand out.


If you're looking to change the design of your website, be sure you understand the power that design wields.

Check out Aragona’s Our Work page featuring subtle but impactful design and contact us today to get the subtle design your web presence needs!

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