Why are clean website designs so popular?

Nine times out of ten, when I ask a client what sort of web design they want, the response is “I want a clean website design.”  This is often followed by statements like “I don’t want people to have to scroll down on the page,” or “I want my website to look modern and professional.”  Sometimes I am even asked to build a simple one-page website (which has pros and cons…a subject for another blog post).

Why are clean website designs so popular?  Simply put, because they are professional. Perhaps even more importantly, they provide a friendly and straightforward user experience.

Tips for clean website designs

User Experience & “Flow”

Often, in an attempt to be creative and go for the coolness factor, web designs can go a too far and become a little confusing for the visitor. For instance, if you try a unique website navigation menu that isn’t where people expect to find it on the page, you might end up confusing your website visitors who are expecting the menu at the top. Most people surfing online have a very short attention span.  If they don’t find what they are looking for within a second or two, you likely have lost them forever because they will simply click “back” and visit another website.  I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t create unique and interesting designs, but you have to balance the goals of your site visitor when considering what works best for your website design.


Selecting complementary typography (font styles) is an important consideration.  While most people consider sans serif fonts like Open Sans or PT Sans to be more “clean and modern” than serif fonts like Merriweather or Playfair Display, you can still use a mix of serif and sans serif font styles on a clean website design.  Just make sure your type is legible, big enough to read, and that there is an adequate amount of spacing of your text blocks, so it isn’t all cramped.   If you’d like to try out some font combo pairings, check out Google FontsFontPair.co, and Canva.

White Space & Lack of Clutter

Your clean website design should allow for some breathing room.  While many people think they don’t want people to have to scroll down the page to read things, the truth is you are better off putting some white space and gaps into your web design, instead of trying to cram everything together at the top.  People are accustomed to scrolling down a page to read, and a little bit of open space goes a long way towards making a design feel cleaner.  If you’d like to learn more about the use of white space and why it’s important, check this Treehouse article.

Color Palette

Decide on a color palette for your website, then stick with it!  Don’t use too many different colors or colors that don’t go well together or don’t suit your target audience.  Use a color wheel or design tool like Adobe Kuler to try out different color palettes.  If you’re going for a modern/sophisticated look, then a black and white color palette might work, or a black/white color palette with one pop of color.  Clean web designs can use any color palette, but give some thought to what works for your audience and product/service. Keep in mind that contrast is important so that the various elements on your page will stand out.

web design color schemes

Visual Elements

A well-designed logo can go a long way towards making your website look professional, whether you are going for a clean website design, or not.  A cheap-looking logo can actually drag down the overall look and feel of a website, regardless of how well the rest of the site is designed.  it stands to reason that a clean website design would benefit from a clean, elegant logo.

Choice of Illustrations, Graphics, Photos

Professional photography and accent images like icons and graphic illustrations are important design elements to give your clean website design a unique, customized look and feel.  Custom photos are always better than stock photography, but if you can’t afford a custom photo shoot, at least spend some time sourcing the best stock photos you can afford.  For a clean website design, you will likely want to look for modern images, although you really aren’t limited to a theme: you should use what makes sense for your target audience.  Often, abstract themes will also work well on a more modern site design.  If you are designing your clean web design on a budget, check out pexels.com and unsplashed.com for free images.  If you can afford to purchase website photos, then gettyimages.com and istockphoto.com are good sources to find website photos.

Clear Call to Action

Regardless of what style of website you’re going for, your website design should consider how to attract leads and customers.  One of the most effective ways to do this is to have a clear “call to action,” which is the desired action you would like the visitor to take next.  A few examples: newsletter subscription, quote request, book now, schedule a consult, download a white paper, and so on.  Make sure your call to action is clear, visible (usually achieved via a contrasting color button), and placed where people can see it on the page.  A few recommendation locations: top of the website, a button in the website navigation bar menu, a button placed “above the fold” (in the top third of the page), or in a pop-up/slide in as a special offer.

If you’d like to understand more about how you can drive more leads and sales from your website design, download my free report.

clean website design


Examples of Clean Website Designs

Of course, this article wouldn’t be complete without some visual examples, so here are some other websites that have done a roundup of clean web designs for some inspiration!




And, for a good laugh, here’s the opposite of a clean web design (I am pretty certain Lingscars.com did this deliberately):


Summary of Tips

  1. A good user experience with appropriate navigation and flow
  2. Complementary styles of topography in legible font, spaced out to avoid a cramped look and feel
  3. A thoughtful, limited color palette that aligns to your brand’s product/service and target audience
  4. Adequate use of white space and voids to create breathing room in the layout of the web page
  5. Good use of high-quality images and a professional logo design
  6. Clear call to action for website visitors


We’re Ely Digital, Portland Oregon website designers and digital marketers.  We create clean website designs for our clients in Portland and around the world. If you’d like to begin your own website design project, contact us for a free, no-obligation quote and website audit for helpful tips on exactly what we would recommend to get your website into top shape.  Our goal is to design your website so it looks good and drives business.


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