Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Curating Stand-Out Ecommerce Branding

In this article we explore the contrasting approaches of minimalism, maximalism, and non-threatening branding. While minimalism can offer simplicity and functionality, it risks feeling sterile and failing to create excitement. Maximalism, with its bold and attention-grabbing elements, stands out but may lead to sensory overload. How to create differentiation in ecommerce branding to avoid being lost among similar-looking competitors, or the “Sea of Sameness”?

Does Minimalism make people sad?

Composed of clean lines broken up by vast colorless voids, minimalism aims to be calming. Unfortunately, minimalism has a tendency to feel sterile and devoid of warmth. A lack of personality and character can leave people feeling disconnected and isolated. It would be hard to say whether or not minimalism goes out of its way to make people feel sad. However, is it something that people get excited about? I would argue no. Without the visual interest of intricate details or vibrant colors, minimalism can come across as cold and unwelcoming, contributing to a sense of melancholy.

In design, today’s minimalism presents its audience with muted colors, rounded edges, and over-simplified shapes. In many cases, it offers the overall palatability of baby food, giving very little to chew on and a gross lack of complexity of taste. It leaves our audiences wanting more, they want to be challenged, they want the empty void left by years of minimalism to be filled with beauty and purpose.

Minimalism can be done well, oftentimes putting functionality before aesthetics can make user experience more straightforward. This is very important in ecommerce branding, where the primary goal is to convert website visitors to paying customers. However, many major corporations are ditching the minimalist look for something that speaks louder. In some cases much louder, by embracing maximalism.

What does Maximalism look like?

Maximalism strategically combines several contradicting elements. These can be colors on opposing ends of the color wheel, images of soft pillowy flowers paired up with strong metallic elements, or oversized text in elaborate fonts. Maximalism is attention grabbing, and really stands out against all of the competing minimalistic brands.This technique presents designers more opportunity to showcase their skills and create something beautiful, like wrought iron in New Orleans.

Unfortunately, when everyone’s design is shouting, it is difficult to make out one voice. Even with a maximalist approach you can still run the risk of getting lost in the sea, albeit a very muddy sea, of sameness. In ecommerce branding, this can cause confusion during the shopping process and inhibit conversions. Never wanting to get in the way of completing a sale, it’s best to limit the visual noise in ecommerce branding.

Can companies avoid their company getting lost in the Sea of Sameness?

The Sea of Sameness

“Amidst the expanse, where the sea meets the shore,

They’re longing for difference, a yearning for more.

Though in sameness lies comfort, it’s also a cage,

Where dreams may lie dormant, stifled in the first stage.”

When everything looks the same, it provokes no interest. It is easy to see how this can happen with minimalism. When there is a lack of visual content, you end up with emptiness. But can you end up snared in the trap of sameness with maximalism? Absolutely. When every brand offers up an overwhelming amount of visual interest, it is just chaotic noise.

This means that choosing to bring in a professional for your company branding is a smart move. 

Ecommerce branding should be more than just creating an eye-catching logo. It is the visual, verbal and written elements of who you are, and the passion you feel for your product or service.
Unique, memorable brands are absolutely vital in the overcrowded world of the internet. Brands that have value over time are the ones who are successful and have a prosperous presence on the internet. We help in all areas of Brand Development, including: Graphic Design, Logo Design and Business Identity. Read more about our branding services here.

What effect does the prevalence of “non-threatening” corporate branding have on the consumer base?

What about non-threatening branding? Non-threatening branding is meant to be gentle and devoid of any elements that may cause discomfort or anxiety. This usually takes the form of extremely muted colors, extremely predictable visual imagery, and messaging delivered in a pleasant whisper. Hoping to ride the minimalism wave, many companies have opted for over-simplistic branding. This can be done well, but often is not. Here’s why…

If a company has established ecommerce branding and is looking to change it up they might start decluttering their brand and wind up throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water. In the attempt to streamline your brand, you may wind up tossing out the colors, imagery and typeface that make your brand recognizable.

While the intention of non-threatening branding is to help consumers feel at ease, it may not go as far to garner trust. For example, you may trust a non-threatening brand to make baby diapers, would you trust them to file your taxes? Provide cyber security? Or represent you in court? These cases require a more Intelligent approach. Rather than mellow non-threatening branding, intelligent branding often includes complex technical forms, hard shapes, and bright artificial colors. This ecommerce branding technique gives the sense that there is a deeper understanding, some clever puzzle to be solved, drawing the user in and fostering a sense of trust in the company’s competence.

Creating Ecommerce BRanding that Stands Out

Don’t copy and paste. You want a brand that is unique to your company. This is an important thing to get right because at the end of the day, you are your brand.

When it comes to the visuals, skillfully curated brands require finesse and expertise. The best branding moments happen when consumers have the emotional response that connects them to your product. Using a calibrated combination of minimalism and maximalism, non-threatening and intelligent design, your marketing department can create a stand out brand that garners trust and is noticed by your target audience.

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