Since we focus on “minimal product design” I feel it is worth going over how we define the term minimalism.

Defining Minimal Product Design

Minimalism does not mean that the product lacks buttons. Neither does it mean that the product is white, or made out of aluminum. Minimalism does not even require the product to be in a primary shape, like a square or circle.

When I say that a product is “minimalistic” I mean that it is well tuned to serve a specific purpose. If that purpose requires the product to have a complex button layout, so be it.

The Ora Lattea Watch
Killing usability for looks

As designers we should not sacrifice usability to achieve a preconceived look. Instead the look of the product should emerge as we hone in on the design that best serves the core purpose. The purpose of the product does not need to be purely functional either. In many cases the creation of an emotional connection with the user through aesthetics will be central to the product’s success.

Leica Q as example of minimal product design
Leica Q Camera – as simple as it needs to be.

In practice the design that fulfills its purposes most efficiently will often have a simple aesthetic. Despite this we should never start designing by defining a “minimal” look. This would be to put the cart before the horse.