The Beauty of Web Brutalism and Why It’s Trending

If you’re a believer of the term “beauty on the inside”, then you’ll probably like this new and emerging trend in the field of web design.

Web developers and online designers are all the rage with a new design concept called Web brutalism. In a nutshell, this kind of design philosophy produces badly designed websites that are intentionally made to look ugly. Yes, you can let that sink in for a while.

You may think that websites of this kind of design “standard” are old and archaic pages that hark back to the ‘90s, but many of these websites are actually from reputable companies who are still operating quite successfully in today’s world. Take the case of the feature article of Bloomberg Businessweek on Yahoo!, the screencap of which can be seen below.

Bloomberg Businessweek feature about Yahoo!

Bloomberg Businessweek feature about Yahoo!

The article – dated April 28, 2016 – is not representative of the formal and structured ideals of Bloomberg, and yet this webpage continues to exist. Accidentally bad HTML or intentionally distorted webpage layout? You be the judge.

According to Web brutalism repository site brutalistwebsites.com, the intention of this unique web design trend is to break the mold of the current standard. “In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of today’s webdesign,” according to the site.

The design concept seems to work, as it has become a viral sensation. In an article by the Washington Post, viewership for brutalistwebsites.com has jumped like crazy by roughly 100,000 within a day because of a feature on Hacker News. Site owner Pascal Deville, who works for a Swiss ad agency as creative director, said that he has been receiving about a hundred daily suggestions of websites that follow Web brutalism principles.

The flagrant and disturbing theme of Adult Swim is aligned with Web brutalism.

The flagrant and disturbing theme of Adult Swim is aligned with Web brutalism.

Web brutalism has broken the Internet – in a somewhat literal sense – because of how it breaks the barriers of well-known web design standards. It’s the feel of originality and uniqueness that has made Web brutalism a hot topic of discussion among experts in the design industry. This is probably the reason why many web developers and designers have dipped their toes into the murky and convoluted pool of Web brutalism.

Many websites have been using poor design elements, and are now unintentionally becoming trendy again. Take the case of Craigslist, whose simplistic and absent page design is working for them, and especially now that web design principles are being thrown out the window. Meanwhile, other companies who have been religiously following standard web layouts are now eschewing beauty for brutalism.

The page design of Craiglist seems like a perfect fit to Web brutalism standards.

The page design of Craiglist seems like a perfect fit to Web brutalism standards.

Some experts believe that brutalist websites are trending these days because the idea proves the unlimited possibilities of web design, in the sense that you don’t need to follow rules or best practices to create a website. On the flip side, the caveat of Web brutalism is its lack of definition: no one can really determine whether a certain webpage uses Web brutalism principles or not.

In all its awfulness and repulsive appearance, Web brutalism seems to pave the way for a wider sense of creativity that web designers need in order to generate the next – and hopefully more visually pleasing – wave of design trends.