2017 laid the foundations of some of the biggest web trends we’ve seen in the industry. And as we thunder towards the midpoint of 2018, we’ll see how many are already making an impact, and which ones are making us sit up and take notice for the years ahead.
After the 3D look of icons and logos all over the web and our devices, when so called ‘flat’ design first started coming to prominence in the early-2010s, it took us a while to get used to. Now it’s everywhere we look and being used by the biggest global brands, in their apps and across their websites.
But flat design is being given a facelift. Don’t worry, we’re not seeing a return of the gradient bevelled logos, but gradients are playing their part in the overhaul. Both shadows and mild gradients and blends are being carefully used more and more to give more functionality and added depth.
Bold colours matched with equally as bold designs (and flat redesigns) have increased markedly in the last few years. But it’s the use of bold colours of all variations that we’ll continue to see more and more of across web, digital, print, social media, and advertising.
Web safe colours are becoming a thing of the past as screen technology and retina displays give us added vibrancy and supersaturation. Expect to see more intense, dynamic, and interesting ways of using colour, and the creation unique and personalised colour palettes.
The choice of fonts and typography has always been a web designer’s secret weapon, creating style, tone, and personality across any website. While sans serif fonts remain popular, we’ve seen an increase in the use of both serif and sans serif fonts together (once a big taboo) across our screens.
But as screen resolutions and displays are creating sharper definition, the hunger for more custom fonts is on the rise. And web designers are already clamouring to use bigger, bolder, and oversized fonts which will knock subtlety on the head once and for all in 2018.
2017 saw mobile web usage overtake its desktop browsing counterpart for the first time. This means that web designers will be way more focused on the mobile browsing market throughout 2018 and beyond. We’ll need to fully harness the strength of mobile functionality and that means getting creative with its restrictions to give a better user experience.
Designing for mobile sites first, over desktop browsing, will be the norm. Among the design quirks that desktop sites offer, including hover states, these don’t translate well to mobile sites. These fresh challenges will need to be overcome in order for sites to adapt to the limitations of screen size for a better, and more intuitive, mobile experience.
When responsive web design became an essential part of web development almost a decade ago, it meant designers had to work with their layouts to ensure a seamless transition over multiple platforms. This method quickly reached saturation point, and 2017 saw many of the ‘standard’ web design rules getting broken, and discarded.
Asymmetrical layouts and shapes, and their integration to work on responsive sites is not a new trend. But with rule breakers coming to the fore last year, it means designers will take asymmetrical design to the next level, continuing to break rules and create content that really pushes the boundaries.
As design and browser technology gets better, animation is creeping into web design more and more. But 2018 will see web designers playing a larger role in this area, making websites capture the imagination by integrating layers of dynamic personality to digital branding.
We’re in a phase where animation is already a big deal. From animated explainer videos, to effective page load graphics, hover state movements, and even the return of gifs. But the latest digital tools to create animations are simplifying all the processes, allowing for far more experimentation, so it’s easy to see the use of animation growing throughout 2018.
A visually engaging illustration can speak volumes, so it’s no coincidence we’ve seen a lot more of them across websites throughout 2017. Brands and businesses want to stand out, and with their rise in popularity, we’re all set to see more of them in 2018 and beyond.
As web designers and developers explore the brand style and personality of their clients, the use of illustrations is compelling. We’ve seen how infographics can be used to stunning effect, and in an effort to lose a sometimes stuffy or corporate image, more businesses are converting to illustrations to inject a new lease of life into otherwise stale web content.
With a flood of new design tools coming to market in 2017, it’s clear that design and UI is at the forefront of how businesses want to operate. The likes of Figma, Adobe XD, Marvel and dozens more have all released a range of ‘must have’ tools, all vying to be the next industry game changer.
But such a flood brings frustration, as different teams and agencies use different tools, highlighting the industry’s lack of efficiency. With the much anticipated launch of InVision Studio, we could see a fully integrated screen design software with a completely synced process, that will see collaboration and tool standardisation at its heart.
Artificial Intelligence and the rise of the machines is now part of the everyday mainstream. We’re not talking about a Terminator-style takeover, but it’s come in under the radar to become more and more prominent in our lives. Already, AI tech is commonplace for the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Apple in their voice assistants.
But our interaction with bots online is also fast becoming standard. Conversational interfaces and chatbots are already on the rise and will only get more powerful in the next few years. Web design will need to adapt hugely to demonstrate AI in a natural way, even when it might not be being used at all.
E-commerce is already a massive part of our culture and it’s only going to get bigger. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the decline of brick-and-mortar stores, retailers are presented with huge online shopping opportunities, and are improving their e-commerce capabilities, across the board, to harness its fullest potential.
E-mail is already upping its game with personalised marketing based on how, when, and where we shop. But we can expect even more advances in retailer’s speed and ability to deliver to us, whether it’s food or goods – and social media is already being used to capitalise on consumer spending. 2018 is when e-commerce will come of age.
The web design team here at Priority Pixels make it their business to be totally up to date with all the industry trends. That means they’re always best placed to help you design and develop a website that works for you – whatever you need it to do.
To find out more and make sure you’re ahead of your competition, get in touch. Call the team today on 0800 319 6198 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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