Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

Minimalism Life®: A New Chapter

This week sparked a new chapter, direction, and era for Minimalism Life®, a project I cofounded in 2016. Almost 8 years on from then, with much experimentation, many highs and lows, strategy changes, and a lot of ground work, we announced the relaunch of our website:

A special domain for a special project

I'll be totally honest, though, for years we didn't really know what to do with this project. We knew we wanted to create a collaborative space around the topic of minimalism, but it never really took shape. The first several years of this project was mostly focused on experimenting with different publication formats, building up a newsletter readership, and securing social media handles. But to what end? I honestly didn't know and I began to feel really disillusioned with the project. There was nothing original about what we were trying to say. So I took a small step back to gain a better perspective on things.

The turning point was when we managed to secure; it was a wake-up call that we needed to do something that justifies owning a name like that. Something engaging, educational, aesthetic, simple, and enjoyable to continually work on and sustainably evolve.

After a period of reduced involvement in the project's direction, I took the reins again in 2023 and led the company through a transformation of sorts. We wanted to create a platform dedicated to promoting the principles and nuances of minimalism through curated resources, creative initiatives, and community experiences. With a focus on cross-discipline simplicity, sustainability, and intentionality, the rebooted Minimalism Life® provides a wealth of resources, articles, and visual inspiration for individuals seeking to apply minimalism as a tool to augment their personal and creatives lives.

The site is for those seeking a quiet place to return to for continual inspiration and insight without feeling over-stimulated by the often overwhelming volume of information the web has to offer. It’s a slow, iterative, and evolving road and it feels like we’re just getting started.

On a technical note, the new site has been built on Kirby 4, a wonderful file-based CMS, which makes maintaining the site incredibly simple. Although I led the design of the new site, it was very much a collaborative effort with my good friend Manu, a wizard when it comes to web dev. With his input and execution, the site's design and performance exceeded my original vision. The result is a timeless web presence, counter to trends, and highly accessible.

The homepage with bespoke illustrations to guide you
The newly created art gallery, updated daily
Lifestyle resources to inspire, updated daily
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