Compelling piece by Matthew Butterick on the business and design of Medium.
On Medium’s use of minimalism:
As a fan of minimalism, however, I think that term is misapplied here. Minimalism doesn’t foreclose either expressive breadth or conceptual depth. On the contrary, the minimalist program—as it initially emerged in fine art of the 20th century—has been about diverting the viewer’s attention from overt signs of authorship to the deeper purity of the ingredients.
Still, I wouldn’t say that Medium’s homogeneous design is bad ex ante. Among web-publishing tools, I see Medium as the equivalent of a frozen pizza: not as wholesome as a meal you could make yourself, but for those without the time or motivation to cook, a potentially better option than just eating peanut butter straight from the jar.
The piece is less about typography and more about Medium’s business motivations, but the entire article is worth your time.