UK Government: Design Principles

If you’ve visited a government website recently you might have noticed the clean and recognisable new design that’s being pushed out to all department websites. The simple use of colour and white space makes these sites a joy to browse – when did you last see a government body being proactive about web design?

The design principles for the minimalist scheme are as follows:

  1. Start with needs*
  2. Do less
  3. Design with data
  4. Do the hard work to make it simple
  5. Iterate. Then iterate again.
  6. Build for inclusion
  7. Understand context
  8. Build digital services, not websites
  9. Be consistent, not uniform
  10. Make things open: it makes things better

Any organisation or business could take a leaf out of’s book. Point 8 is particularly poignant…

Our service doesn’t begin and end at our website. It might start with a search engine and end at the post office. We need to design for that, even if we can’t control it. And we need to recognise that some day, before we know it, it’ll be about different digital services again.

To read the full document and browse the vast sites that make up the UK Government’s shop window, head over to