We all know that a badly designed website can wreak havoc for your business, especially with today’s consumers expecting intuitive and interactive websites. But, intentionally bad website design is something different, and it could be what sets you apart from your competitors. Now, you are probably wondering why someone would have an intentionally bad website, but this phenomenon is known as “brutalism” and it is becoming more and more popular. 

When you think about traditional website design a clean and professional design most likely comes to mind.  A brutalist website aims to subvert the norms of website design, and can be thought of as a website which is, “rugged, unconcerned with comfort, and reactionary,” as defined by Pascal Deville, the founder of brutalistwebsites.com

Below we dive a little deeper into brutalism in website design and what brands it could work for.  


But What Is Brutalism?


Understanding brutalism starts with a little history lesson. Brutalism might sound like quite a violent term, but the name stems from the French term for “raw concrete”, which is béton brut. It began with a change in architecture styles after World War Two, allowing for a quick and affordable method of rebuilding the damage done to many of the buildings after the conflict of the war. 

As an architectural style, brutalism is raw, direct, and unforgiving. Rather than follow the architectural style of old, which was overly decorative and often lead to buildings looking very much the same. Brutalist architects bucked these trends and created buildings that, while not being as ornate, were still interesting and functional. 

In website design terms, brutalism came about because many free content management systems (CMS) have a very similar look and feel to them. Unless businesses were using customised coding, the websites ended up looking the same. Designers (and users) were becoming frustrated with this “cookie-cutter” aesthetic and were craving something more form their website design. In came brutalism to save the day. 


What Does Brutalist Design Look Like?


Now that you know a little bit more about brutalism in website design, you are probably wondering what a brutalist design will look like. There are some elements that will be drastically different from the websites you are used to, as discussed below. 



  • Functional not fancy: One of the major aspects of brutalism in website design is that the websites are more functional than they are aesthetically pleasing. There are some websites in this style which combine both looks and function, but they are a far cry from today’s traditional websites. 


  • Garish and brash: Not all brutalist websites have bright colours, but the majority do use colours that are not considered to be “website safe”. For example, you might find a bright pink website with paisley accents selling used cars; the only limit is your own creativity. 


Will It Work For My Brand?


While a brutalist approach to website design is not right for every brand, such as those in the finance sector, it can provide some benefits in terms of conversion rates and user experience. This is because it removes the distractions both on the front end of the website and the back end. Navigation is less complicated and menus are more obvious, leading ot more audience interaction and return website visits. 

However, while these benefits are what every brand looks for in a website, the aesthetic side of brutalist website design does not always apply to every brand. You will need to perform audience research to find out if this design is the right fit for your brand. A small business should avoid a brutalist website design as it could make you come across as unprofessional, however, if you have the right audience, it could be a success. 

Some successful examples of brutalist website design include The Juice Box, a brightly coloured website for a wildly popular juice bar in America. The pages are simple, with minimal but important information and the design showcases what the brand is about: healthy food and juices. Another beautifully brutal website includes The Outline, an online pop culture and news magazine. 

If you feel that a brutalist website is right for your brand, you could try testing this out with a landing page for a product or service and look at the results. If you notice a higher engagement rate, then it could be an ideal choice for your brand. However, if you notice a lack of engagement, it might not be right for you. 

For those who would like a creative solution to their website design ideas, feel free to contact NetMechanic today to find out how we can help you.