Just like in every form of design — be it fashion or painting — you’re bound to see trends emerge that change the game. Web design is not immune.
In fact, web design is one of the only places that art can be truly experimental. After all, if something doesn’t work out, you can always pull it down, redesign and try again. In some ways, web design is the ultimate A/B test for designers.
In this article, we’ll look at a few new trends popping up in web design that companies will want to start implementing now before they become the new norm.
By now, flat design is virtually everywhere. From the layout of your phone to the most cutting-edge new web builds, flat design is taking the digital world by storm.
Flat design has been around for several years, but it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. This kind of minimalist design has — and will — remain so popular because of the push toward mobile-first design.
The slimmed-down look and feel of flat design gives users a friendly and straightforward experience, cutting away all the frills of traditional desktop layouts.
While flat design is incredibly hip, it hasn’t completely saturated the web yet. Sure, tech companies like Apple and Google are using it, but in a lot of industries, flat design just hasn’t broken through.
While it might not be right for every business, if your company is willing to take a chance on flat design, it will make your website much sounder from a UX perspective, and it will elevate your brand, making it look much more suave and sophisticated.
The website for Seattle’s world-famous Space Needle combines really attractive flat design concepts with a long vertical scroll that gives you a virtual tour of the landmark.
Nothing’s more boring than a stationary, sterile, dead website. That’s why scroll-triggered animations are so hot right now.
Scroll-triggered animations give you webpage life. Because they are active animations, they require the user to input something — a mouse scroll, typically — to get them going.
This puts the user in charge of the experience, unlike those annoying automatic carousels from yesteryear.
These subtle animations make photos, typography and other graphical element on your webpage move ever-so-slightly, and they don’t distract or take away from the end user’s experience. They also let you make smart use of whitespace, moving objects in and out of the layout.
Whether you want your pictures to move up slightly with a scroll down or entire pieces of content to slide into place with a flick of a trackpad, scroll-triggered animations add a nice dynamic flair that sets your website apart from your competitors.
Check out Serial and This American Life’s website for their hit podcast S-Town for a great example of scroll-triggered animation. As you scroll down the home page, the iconography outlining the page smoothly retreats back to the edge of your browser window, beautifully framing each of the chapters in the series.
Big. Bold. Typography.
Ditch the tired stock photography and embrace big and bold typography.
In the hands of a great digital designer, words aren’t just on your webpage to be read — they’re there to express meaning literally and figuratively. This is where it’s really important to work with a great creative team — a copywriter and a digital designer — that can feed off one another and produce a truly unique look and feel that simultaneously expresses a message and an emotion.
In some situations, the pendulum has swung far in one direction. Some websites have gone to a straightforward text-only design. This is definitely a risk for some brands, but when it works, it works.
For extra points, try using typography that overlaps or incorporates some sort of scroll-enabled animations… or both! Mixing and matching design trends is a surefire way to create something special. The Next Rembrandt website features an awesome combination of beautiful typography and scroll-enabled animations.
This kind of active typography builds tension in your web design, virtually forcing your visitors to keep scrolling down the page for resolution. It’s a great technique for long-scrolling web pages or web pages with a lot of copy.
These are three web design trends that will make your outdated website look very modern and sophisticated. As the year goes on, we’re sure to see more design trends come and go, but these three have proven to have real staying power.
When Apple, Google and some of the other huge tech companies are incorporating these types of design trends in their websites, advertisements and email templates, you know they’re getting clicks.
Find ways to use one of these — or even mix and match a few of them together — you never know what you’ll come up with.
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