MIN: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design

A survey of beautifully minimal branding, packaging and more in book form

Stuart Tolley’s (creative director and founder of graphic design studio Transmission) last book “Collector’s Edition” was all about unusual, mind-bending and sometimes over-the-top designs—he also created the striking Artist Cover Bomb series for the tome. His new book behaves as a kind of antidote: focusing on quieter and minimalist but equally fascinating creations. “MIN: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design” came to be because Tolley noticed a gradual appreciation for minimalism over the last few years, “Especially in industrial design, where simplicity and functionality have become a selling point for companies such as Apple,” he says. He also noticed how more and more graphic design studios were adopting a simplified style, in order to communicate ideas with clarity.

Tolley’s “MIN” is made up of a wide selection of uncluttered design, from skincare brand Verso’s packaging by The Studio to Hausherr’s label design for Talent. As well as eye-catching, simple photographs of the lust-worthy products, the book features interviews with some of the creators of the minimalist designs, like Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton of Cereal, and Sweden’s BVD. It also contains illuminating essays on the history of minimalist design and its place in today’s society. One of the things that makes “MIN” work so well is the fact that it only includes works created in the last few years, to keep it as current as possible, and that the designs are so varied. “MIN features a broad mix of formats, from album covers, packaging, publications and branding, but there’s a relatively high proportion of independent record labels and magazines showcased—subjects I really love,” Tolley says.

An uncluttered visual landscape allows for calm and space to breathe

And as advancements in technology make us increasingly stressed and overwhelmed, with work eating into our leisure time, Tolley thinks people will continue to aim for a simpler way of life. ”This could be as simple as decluttering the home, something I found myself doing while writing this book, or completely downsizing,” he says. “Minimal graphic design reflects this desire, because an uncluttered visual landscape allows for calm and space to breathe.”

MIN: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design” is out now in the UK via Thames & Hudson and is also available on Amazon.

First and last image by Stuart Tolley / Transmission, middle image by Cajsa Carlson