Brutalism graphic design: Our brutally honest opinion

Oftentimes while browsing through the cyberspace, I stumble upon a so-called brutalism graphic design. But lately, I see these web pages more and more.

What is this thing? Why are these old school 1995-looking websites popping up like mushrooms after the rain? Does anyone actually like them?

Yes, some people actually do.

Chrissie Abbott — www.chrissieabbott.com
The Juice Box — www.juiceboxnewhaven.com / Trust Issues — www.wehavetrustissues.com

If you manage to hold up with me for the next few paragraphs, I will try to explain everything you need to know about this trend.

Hold tight, it is about to get nasty

Brutalism definition — a myriad of web safe colours, system fonts, irritatingly positioned images, a plethora of micro-interactions and hover effects, no distinctive hierarchy, lack of symmetry, very simple or no animation, *place anything that evokes a headache*.

In other words, when you encounter a brutalist design, you certainly won’t miss it.

Work week — www.workweek.info

It is a trend that serves primarily for two things:

  • to differentiate from modern well-polished designs and stand out
  • to bring back that first-days-of-web brutalist feel, as we weren’t able to do more than this back then

Visually offensive, raw, and retro

Can you pull off a bad website using brutalism? No.

As with any design, you need it to serve its purpose and to make an emotional appeal on its viewers, otherwise, people won’t return.

Can an “ugly” design make an emotional appeal? Certainly, but it won’t be easy.

Keith Alva — www.keithalva.com
Tiger Dingsun — www.tiger.exposed

One might argue this is the design’s biggest advantage

With the flood of modern, image and content heavy pages, brutalism graphic design trend brings a breath of fresh air.

After brutalism strips down the website to its core frame while keeping only simplistic and bare minimum number of elements, the website loading speed increases.

B4XVI | I — www.b4xvi.co

Why should you care? Because conversions, that’s why.

HubSpot says the following:

  • 79% of users who are not happy with your website performance won’t convert
  • 47% of customers expect a webpage to load in less than 2 seconds (so does Google)
  • 1s of page load delay shows in 7% conversion loss

Are you willing to sacrifice a piece of design for conversion sake?

Will it become mainstream?

I doubt it.

Brutalism design trend is simply too harsh and visually demanding to become dominant. It will always have supporters and people who inflexibly hate it.

Demisol — www.demisol.space

It is a nice addition to differentiate from other trends, it is a good thing to have in a designer’s portfolio, and maybe even to try it as an e-commerce. But that’s about it.

Shake The Shudder — www.chkchkchk.net SUPERIMPOSE — www.superimpose.global
AINTWET ecommerce — www.aintwet.nyc

What do I think?

If you want to experiment, we sure have few designers that will help you to create this vomit of a website, but me personally? I’m already over it, just writing and styling this article was enough.

My digital unicorns would like to bring you some emails. 🦄
You love unicorns, don’t you?

Author: Alan Jereb, Marketing Manager, Creanest d.o.o.