No design is good design

Design.I’ve been noticing an interesting trend of late with blogs I find interesting: their design is minimal to non-existent. And sites that did have elaborate designs are severely scaling them back or removing them entirely.

A few examples:

Daring Fireball
Of course. This is one of the most “designed” of the sites I’m talking about today. It actually has color. Well, if you call gray a color.
43 Folders
Merlin Mann’s site may be the inverse of my own, and not just in name. It was once loaded up with “clever” design elements suitable to its “get your (creative) work life organized” philosophy: manila folders, paper clips, etc. But in its latest incarnation it’s stripped down to a bare minimum of design. The only remnant of the old look is the red color of the title at the top of the page, and outside of images and a subtle yellow highlight hover state for links, that’s the only color on the site.
Rafe Colburn’s site is the very definition of minimalist design. White background, black text. But clearly a lot of thought went into the choice of font (yes, even though it’s Helvetica), relative text sizes, and the sporadic use of shades of gray for things like block quotes.
Khoi Vinh’s site is masterfully designed, even though (or perhaps specifically because) it’s black-and-white-and-Helvetica-all-over. Oh, except for the slap in the face of bright orange when you mouse over a link. Pow! Bort! Mint! Snuh! (That one’s for CheckersSpeech.)
Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report
Zeldman’s site is an explosion of designy-ness compared to the others on this list. But compared to something like Web Designer Wall it’s strikingly spartan, and deliberately retrograde. (And, in trying — unsuccessfully — to find his old post where he discussed this latest incarnation of the site, I discovered that he also covered this exact topic six months ago. Looks like I’m late to the party, as usual.)

If less is more, then none is all.