Web development is a complex game of snakes and ladders. Just when think you have SEO cracked and your website is rocking up the rankings, Google pulls a fast one and down you go. There is so much to think about. Accelerated mobile page (AMP), website siloing, and semantic core: we have covered all these issues and more on this site. However, website design lies at the very heart of search engine optimization, so if your website isn’t doing so well right now, perhaps it needs a funky, modern update?
What is Brutalism?
Brutalism is an architectural design trend. Think concrete and steel; lots of it. The Brutalist look was very popular in the 50s and 60s, which is why our cities are full of functional concrete monoliths free of decorative elements. In the world of architecture, it’s fair to say that Brutalism isn’t much loved, but in terms of website design, there are a lot of useful features we can take away from the rising trend of brutalism in web development.
Some would argue that brutalism is straight-up ugly. If that is the case, they say, why would you want your website to look butt ugly? Nobody in their right mind would deliberately design a website that’s offensive to the eye, but if you believe brutalism is “ugly”, you are missing the point.
The Early Days
Brutalist website design takes its inspiration from the early days of website development. Before WordPress, Flash, and funky design elements, websites were plain, functional, and simplistic in design. HTML was limited to a few basic tags and early incarnations of well-known websites like yahoo.com were minimalist in the extreme.
A lot has happened since then. The facebook morphed into Facebook and is now worth billions whereas Friends Reunited lapsed into obscurity and died. Today’s websites are colorful, dynamic, and exciting. Website designers want to entice customers, appeal to search engines, and utilize the latest tools. In contrast, brutalist websites are like stepping back to a land time forgot.
Instead of soft edges, inviting colors and polished type, brutalist websites are raw, rough, confrontational, and uneasy on the eye. Colors are muted. Expect neutral themes, with a touch of red and blue. Brutalism isn’t only surface deep. It extends deep into the code of a website. Markup is simple and there is nothing complex in there. Raw code is crude and functional; rather like the website itself.
You might be forgiven for thinking: why would anyone do that?
Pros of Brutalism
The truth is, brutalist website design has a number of plus points. Because brutalist is raw and functional, many view it as a welcome response to increasingly complex design practices. Instead of important information being lost amongst flashy graphics and floating banners, you can position text front and center. Say, for example, you are creating a portfolio website to sell your skills as a master in the business administration online consultant. You could add a text box listing your qualifications, including your AACSB online MBA, alongside a short resume. You may find the simple approach is far more effective than a flashy all-singing, all-dancing website.
The key takeaway here is that websites don’t always need to be pretty. Sometimes, functional works best and brutalist has this down to a tee.