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Create Impactful Websites with Brutalist Web Design

Discover what brutalist web design is and learn how to create visually striking and effective websites that leave a lasting impact.

In today's competitive digital landscape, businesses are constantly looking for ways to make their websites stand out. After all, a website is usually a customer’s first impression of your company and what they use to determine whether to do business with you.

But it's not enough to have an accessible and functional website. You need to go above and beyond with your web design and create something that is truly exceptional.

One way to elevate your website is by adopting a unique and unconventional design approach, such as brutalist web design. If you're wondering, “What is brutalist design?” and how it can benefit your personal brand or business, this article is for you.

This article will cover what brutalist websites look like, the history of brutalism in web design, and how you can create your own brutalist website. If you want to attract new customers and get people talking about your brand, consider using the brutalist style on your website.

What is brutalist web design?

Brutalist website design refers to a design trend that's focused primarily on function, with less emphasis or focus on design. It prioritizes the user experience in terms of helping the user have the shortest distance/friction to achieve what they want on your site, regardless of the aesthetic or appearance of your site.

Brutalist web design is characterized by a rough, raw, and minimalistic approach to web design. Brutalist web design is an offshoot of the Brutalist architectural movement, and it emerged as a response to the increasingly polished and sophisticated design trends of the early 21st century. Its raw, minimal, and unapologetically functional aesthetic has gained a cult following on the internet.

History of brutalism

Brutalist web design is a style that draws inspiration from brutalist architecture and brutalist buildings, which are characterized by raw materials, bold aesthetics, and a minimalist approach. With its origin in the mid-20th century, brutalism has gained popularity in today's web design, offering a refreshing alternative to conventional and overly polished designs.

The term "brutalism" is derived from the French term "béton brut," which translates to "raw concrete." This architectural style first emerged in the 1950s and 1960s and involved the use of raw materials, predominantly exposed concrete, and a focus on functionality over aesthetics.

You can find brutalist structures all over the world, but some of the most notable include the Royal national theatre in London, the Geisel Library in San Diego, and Paul Rudolph Hall in New Haven. These buildings were inspired by the brutalist movement and incorporated key elements of brutalist design, such as exposed, raw concrete.

In the mid-2010s, brutalist web design emerged as a counter-movement to the prevailing design trends. Inspired by the aesthetic principles of Brutalist architecture, it rejected the polished and visually pleasing designs of the time, opting for raw, unrefined, and purely functional elements.

The adoption of brutalist web design principles has had a lasting impact on the design community. It has inspired web designers to question the established norms and embrace raw, functional design elements. This has led to a broader appreciation for minimalism, usability, and the importance of content over aesthetics.

Key features of brutalism in web design

The brutalist design in websites has emerged as a popular trend in recent years, offering a refreshing alternative to the polished and refined aesthetic often found in contemporary web design.

Drawing inspiration from the architectural characteristics of brutalism, web brutalism emphasizes functionality and content over design embellishments. This unique approach results in websites that are visually arresting, unapologetically bold, and characterized by a minimalist, utilitarian aesthetic.

Embracing brutalism in your web design can be a powerful way to create a memorable user experience that sets your business apart from the competition. You can find inspiration by exploring modern website design trends that incorporate brutalist elements. By incorporating the key elements of brutalist style, you can craft a website that commands attention and encourages users to engage with your site's content.

Brutalist web design involves a few defining characteristics that set it apart from other web design trends. Some of these characteristics include:

  • Minimalist approach (less is more): Go for what works, not merely what’s pretty. Brutalist websites prioritize functionality and content over design embellishments, resulting in a clean and uncluttered look.
  • Raw appearance: Inspired by brutalist architecture, brutalist web design uses raw materials like concrete textures and rough, unfinished surfaces. Think, an industrial-style loft, but in website form.
  • Bold aesthetics: Brutalist web design employs bold typography, striking contrasts, and a visually arresting style that commands attention.
  • Lack of symmetry: This design approach often involves unconventional layouts, asymmetrical compositions, and a disregard for traditional design rules.
  • Crowded design: Some brutalist websites opt for a dense, cluttered appearance, challenging the user to engage with the content.
  • Contrasting colors: High-contrast color schemes are common in brutalist web design, with bright hues and stark black-and-white backgrounds.
  • User's needs come first: Above all, brutalist web design focuses on providing a user-centric experience, ensuring that content is easily accessible and readable.

Benefits of brutalist web design

By incorporating the key elements of brutalist style into your web design, such as raw textures, high-contrast color schemes, and unconventional layouts, you can craft a website that commands attention and encourages users to engage with your content.

There are many advantages of taking a brutalist approach to your website design, including:

Focuses on content

By stripping away unnecessary design elements, brutalist web design puts the spotlight on your content, making it the central focus of your website. Users can easily find what they're looking for, which will improve the user experience and boost conversions.

Improves website performance

Quick website load times are key to increasing conversion rates and revenue. If your website is too slow, this will cause users to click off and go to a competitor instead.

Fortunately, the minimalist approach to design leads to faster loading times and better overall site performance. This is essential for keeping users engaged and getting them to stay on your website.

Increases user engagement

The unconventional and bold aesthetics of brutalist design can encourage users to explore your website and engage with your content. When there’s nothing in the way, people tend to move forward with exploring your website, which can lead to increased user engagement.

Creates a memorable user experience

With its unique and striking style, brutalist web design can leave a lasting impression on your website visitors.

If you give people too much to chase, they won’t catch anything. But if you give them a clear path forward, they’ll usually take it. Brutalist web design offers a unique and attention-grabbing approach to creating impactful websites.


Brutalist web design is extremely simplistic and involves plain colors and design elements, like web-safe colors, white backgrounds, and raw text. Because it doesn't rely on expensive graphics and design elements, brutalist web design can be cost-effective for small businesses or individuals looking to build a website.

Drawbacks of brutalist web design

Brutalism is a great way to grab your user’s attention and makes for an extremely memorable user experience. However, brutalist web design, like any form of web design, is not without some potential drawbacks.

Can be difficult to navigate

The unconventional layouts and lack of traditional design cues can make brutalist websites challenging for some users to navigate. This issue can be overcome by incorporating an adaptive web design, clear navigation elements, and ensuring that your content is well-organized.

Potential lack of accessibility for some users

The bold aesthetics and high-contrast color schemes can present accessibility issues for some users. To address this, consider providing alternative color schemes or using accessible typography.

Possible negative brand perception

Brutalist web design may not be the right fit for every brand, as it can potentially convey a harsh or aggressive image. However, you can create a cohesive and memorable brand identity by carefully selecting brutalist elements that align with your brand values and incorporating them into your overall design strategy.

Create an unforgettable user experience with brutalist web design

By understanding the key features and benefits of brutalist website design, you can create a memorable user experience that sets your personal brand or business apart from the competition. To ensure your brutalist web design is successful, consider leveraging Mailchimp's suite of tools and services.

Mailchimp offers a range of resources to help you optimize your website and create impactful content. From understanding the intricacies of website design principles to mastering your copywriting skills, Mailchimp has you covered.

With the support of Mailchimp's tools and services, you can ensure that your brutalist website is not only visually stunning but also optimized for user engagement and performance.

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