Twenty-third – superb coffee a la minimal

This assignment asked us to find a site and minimalize the design of this site. Nespresso’s came as a natural choice, because it is a product that I associate with elegance. From the first time that I learned about Nespresso, I was found of it. I love cappuccino and Nespresso allows me to have the perfect cappuccino thousands of miles away from that superb coffee house in Naples, Italy where they have those fantastic vanilla-cottage-orange filled pastries in addition to those fluffy cappuccinos. But beyond the earthly pleasures, from its first appearance, Nespresso created a culture and a cult around its products. A Nespresso-believer, who can institutionalize his or her devotion to superb coffee by becoming a member in the Nespresso club, is surrounded both by products that are necessary to make the excellent coffee and with an ideology wrapped into an individual aesthetic appearance. The tangible elements are first of all the coffee capsules and the machines, then the accessories, including the milk warmer and frother. (After all, there is no cappuccino without that ultra light milk foam or froth.) And all these are presented as elements in a carefully designed landscape that spreads from the capsules to the spoons and cups, the wrapping, the advertisements in print, including the Nespresso magazine, tv ads, and the web site. (And here I am not talking as a George Clooney fan. He became the face of the Nespresso ads on tv.) But going back to the computer screen, today, for me, it is the forbidden territory since I do not want to break the magic that has been lasting for so many years now. The Nespresso page today is not what Nespresso has always been for me from the beginning, and what it is still in its capsules, magazines, and shops. It stepped over that invisible threshold of simplicity and elegance. At least in its main page. This is how it looks today without the footer, which is the same as on the next screen shot:

Nespresso main page without the footer.

Elegant minimalist header, and below it beautifully designed images that change and advertise the newest products of Nespresso. If somebody knows the printed advertisements that they send to club members – I mentioned before the culture and cult aspect of the Nespresso coffee world – appreciates that both the electronic and the print advertisement are carefully created after the visualized character of the superb coffee in those colored capsules. Because in the Nespresso world, color counts very much, and every element of that world is designed to create an all-encompassing harmony. This is what these images do under the header that today is presented white characters on background that is colored with a gradient of the Nespresso-brown.

Underneath those compositions comes what I think exceeds the finely tuned character of the Nespresso paradigm. It is the footer that allows you to see small pictures of capsules, machines, how to order coffee on a mobile devise, and last but not least: the chocolates. It is just too much. And I think it is exaggerated even more if we consider that Nespresso is world famous, it has passed a long time ago the phase when it had to be introduced to broader audiences. And I am aware that since then many competitors appeared on the market, but being a true follower of the Nespresso cult, I cannot imagine any proselyte coffee maker succeeding to turning me around and make me drink the product of any other capsule creator. This is why the Nespresso culture is so powerful, and was such a smart move to create it along with the coffee and the machines.

Fortunately, the creators did not forgot their roots, and the interior pages of the site are still pristine. Here is an example: the capsules. (I had to tailor this pictures because I could make a screen shot only of part of the picture at a time.) But it is clear, that the clean footer resembling the style of the header without anything dividing it from the body of the page is much pleasant to the eye. And to my eye is more authentic, too.

Interior page reflecting the original spirit of the Nespresso design.

So even before I looked at the interior pages, I made this attempt to make the current Nespresso main page more minimalist than it is today, and what I think fits more to the image I have of Nespresso.

I moved the navigation from the bottom pictures into the header and left the changing images untouched. The footer closes on the bottom, which again cannot be seen in its full extent, but based on the previous picture is easy to imagine. When I compare my design to that of the interior page above, I think, I am still close to the original. And I think, Nespresso, from the beginning, appeared in a time-proof design, which, as Balzac said, the true nature of everything becoming a real classic.

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