Wait a second. Your examples of sites that aren’t beautiful, minimalist, and simple, like Craigslist, Facebook, and Photoshop, are beautiful, minimalist, and simple to me.
Okay, we can argue over that first word, beautiful. But would you agree that Craigslist, Facebook, and Photoshop could be uglier? I contend that they are heavily designed, minimized, simplified. They do a lot in little space.
- Alignment. In all three, their text and graphics are lined up. You know that takes a lot of work. On that mixer, the knobs are all lined up too. That’s not how they just fall.
- Minimalistic color. Facebook’s palette is one shade of blue. Craigslist is blue and gray. Photoshop is monochromatic. I’m talking about the chrome. Of course the photos people upload mess everything up.
- Minimalistic type. Besides the logo, each has one font.
The designers exercised restraint and discipline as far as they could. Much of the clutter is the content they let the public insert, which is the heart of their site.
In fact, are you equating density with ugliness? Insert a ton more white space, and would you call it beautiful?