Brutalism in Web Design: A Brutal Idea That’s Hard to Swallow

Brutalism in web design has gained popularity in recent years with use of a raw, unpolished, and minimalist aesthetic. The term “brutalism” originated in architecture and was used to describe buildings that featured exposed concrete and minimal ornamentation. While the term has now been adopted by some web designers, the principles of brutalism have carried over, resulting in websites that embrace a DIY aesthetic. Despite its growing popularity, there are several reasons why brutalism is not a good idea for web design.

Firstly, brutalism can be difficult to navigate. With its stripped-down design and lack of visual hierarchy, it can be challenging for users to find the information they need on a website. This can lead to frustration and ultimately drive users away from the site.

Secondly, brutalism can be visually overwhelming. While the simplicity of brutalist design can be appealing, it can also be exhausting for the eyes. The lack of visual cues and the use of stark colours and bold typography can create a jarring experience that is not conducive to prolonged engagement.

Thirdly, brutalism can be exclusionary. The aesthetic of brutalism may appeal to a certain subset of users, but it can also alienate others. Brutalism lacks consideration for important elements of web design, such as accessibility and user experience. Designers may prioritise a raw and unpolished look over the need to create a website that is accessible to users with disabilities or that meets the needs of a diverse range of users. For example, older users or those with visual impairments may find it difficult to read text that is displayed in small or hard-to-read fonts. This can make it challenging for these users to engage with a website, leading to a loss of potential customers or followers.

Lastly, brutalism can be unprofessional. While the DIY aesthetic of brutalism can be charming in some contexts, it can also make a website appear amateurish or unprofessional. This can be particularly problematic for businesses or organisations that rely on their website to convey a sense of trustworthiness or expertise.

In conclusion, while brutalism in web design may seem like a refreshing departure from the polished designs of the past, it is not a good idea for several reasons. From its difficulty to navigate and visually overwhelming nature to its potential exclusionary and unprofessional qualities, brutalism is a design trend that should be approached with caution. Instead, web designers should strive to create designs that are visually engaging, easy to navigate, and accessible to a wide range of users.