Functionality over form and effectivity over aesthetics.

Brutalism in web design

The origin of Brutalism

The term "Brutalism" comes from the French "beton brut", which literally translates as unprocessed concrete, rather than the adjective brutal, as it may initially seem. Brutalism is more accurately described as something unfinished, untreated, raw or rough. This style originated in architecture in the 50s and 60s. In the post-war period a rough and functional style quickly found application due to its cheapness and ease of development of various buildings and residential complexes. The first such structure was the famous Unité d'Habitation in the French city of Marseille, completed in 1952. This huge and ambitious project included 337 apartments. Strange as it may seem, the project was a success and architect Le Corbusier continued to build similar structures. The next one appeared in Berlin.

Brutalism in web design

There is no definite creator of this style in web design. Websites of this kind began to appear everywhere around 2014, at which time designer Pascal DeVille created a catalog of brutalist websites, which you can check out at Brutalist Websites. They were created to challenge the new-fashioned lined pages, which over time began to lose their originality. The main objective of this style is to create a maximally understandable site without visual excesses.The main features of brutalist websites are:· Provocative features in the design;· Poisonous tones, such as blue, red, green, are at the core;· The backgrounds are raw, most often white or black;· Images on the site are often raw, if at all;· All pages use the same font;· Absent animations;· Deliberate errors in the hierarchy, logic, spacing.

Representatives of this movement often misinterpret the essence of brutalism. The tendency to create ugly pages without a bit of art flourishes and very often such ideas have absolutely nothing to do with the original philosophy of brutalism, which was in architecture, but it still became a trend in 2020.

Here are some brutalistic websites:PW-Magazine is the perfect example of how striking a brutalist magazine can be. Arresting preview images dominate the site. Its interface is well-thought-out. It relies on common web design principles, resulting in a user-friendly brutalist website.Butt Studio is an art direction and animation studio with a website that introduces you to their projects from the very first scroll. In fact, the whole site looks more like a portfolio rather than some studio’s website. It’s rich in visual content which is accompanied by simple-looking fonts.Max Sidentopf’s portfolio is an example of a brutalist-minimalist website. Its interface successfully mirrors the absurdity present in most of his works, so it’s not surprising that the mouse pointer is shaped like a fish. The main navigation and project names are written in all-caps, sans-serif letters, while featured images take up the rest of the screen.


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