4 Tips on Minimalist Brochure Design | PrintPlace

Graphic Design

Published on April 18th, 2011 | by PrintPlace


4 Tips on Minimalist Brochure Design

We’ve already covered Why Minimalist Brochure Design Works, but just because you know the style’s advantages doesn’t mean you’re ready to try your hand at it. There are established practices in minimalist design that you can follow, and of course staying true to minimizing use of factors in all aspects of design would be the ideal minimalist approach.

Established Minimalist Practices: White Space and Breaking the Design

White Space – Also called negative space, white space is basically an empty space in the printed material that has no print on it. White space plays a vital role in established minimalist design practices.

Company Brochure
This Sic company brochure makes great use of white space.

Proper use of negative space would enable a designer to bring a particular design element such as a slogan or tagline into prominence. A contained infographic carrying the main message a brochure fold contains would do well being surrounded by white space highlighting its importance. Of course, how the designs of all folds work together should also be factored in.

Breaking the Design – Sounds counter-intuitive? It’s actually a sound minimalist practice. Breaking the design means starting off with a full design idea then subtracting elements until the design breaks or fails. You eliminate all the elements until the design doesn’t relay its message anymore to see which are indeed necessary and which are superfluous. When the design breaks, just bring back the elements that were taken out last and work with what you have left.

Minimalist Portraits - Adolf Hitler
Subtracting what would otherwise be normal and expected facial features made it evident that apparently, the only key facial features you need to depict Adolf Hitler are his iconic mustache and neatly parted hair.

Minimalism in All Aspects of Design: Colors and Text

Minimal Colors – Minimalism advocates the use of fewer colors in the spirit of its ideal, but in retrospect, there’s more to using fewer colors than just to minimize that particular element.

An ad campaign by Jeep uses only two colors and intertwining images to make the unmistakable outline of a Jeep appear. The two colors used are not even worth mentioning on their own, but their role in the entire design is quintessential.

Colors are powerful visual tools that can elicit both explicit and sublime reactions from audiences. For two-color designs, the contrast and match-up of the two colors used should be poignant yet subtle. For multiple color designs, how they blend or work together shouldn’t distract the audience from decoding the message relayed therewith. In simpler terms:

  • Color match-ups shouldn’t be striking on their own, unless otherwise necessary. They only serve to support the main impact of the entire design.
  • Swathes and palette choices should reflect minimalist ideals of subtlety to invoke a greater effect. In the process they should not break away from how the entire design achieves that end goal.

Minimal Text – Don’t take this literally. Don’t be terse, but embrace brevity. Your minimalist design encompasses both graphic elements as well as text. So say as much as you can with as little as possible.

Sex and the City
A minimalist poster concept for popular TV title Sex and the City needed only those four words (except for words used in the credits) and a few shapes and colors.


  • Using infographics. Infographics use relatively less text than an actual article.
  • Getting straight to the point. You may find designing an entertaining exercise and may end up beating around the bush just because. Don’t make your readers think too much (unless that‘s your actual goal). Remember, your design concept is minimalism: get to the point fast.
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8 Responses to 4 Tips on Minimalist Brochure Design

  1. Gail Martin says:

    I appreciate simple graphics, subtle touches can work wonders rather than getting too complicated. My favourite is the Jeep, clever!
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    Gail Martin

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  3. StudioDino says:

    Well said. Good examples.

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  6. Rich B says:

    Great article – love minimalist design like this. It often takes a good deal longer than more complex designs bizarrely but the effect can be effective if you follow 8 steps to creating an effective brochure.

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  8. MacConin says:

    Leaving spaces for the eye and mind and not following your customers to pack any space of the brochure – thats the right way.

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