Website Design Trends
08 July 2014
It’s important in the creative industry to stay on top of the latest technologies and trends.
Website designs go in and out of fashion every couple of years and this is partly due to the cyclical nature of style. There tends to be a 20 year cycle of trends (The current 90’s revival being a good example. Growing up in the nineties we were in love with the 70’s). Trends on the web are a little different in that they are very much guided by available technology. Large images just weren’t practical few years ago. Below are a few trends I think will stick around over the next year or so.
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an image format that is gaining increased support. So much so that it’s the default now when we create graphics for our clients. The advantage of SVG is that it’s resolution independent (your logo can look nice and sharp on your iPhone as well as Desktop). The impact of this on design trends is that you are going to see a lot of lovely clean flat icons and illustrations. Our own Content Management System is a good example of this.
The International Style
The International style (Swiss style, flat design) was developed in the 50’s. Helvetica embodies the intentions of this design. Simplicity, functionality, readability. It was revived in the 70’s, then when I went college in the 90’s it was huge. Mark Farrow is still in my top 5 favourite designers. So here we are 20 years on and it’s getting another revival. It’s at it’s most obvious with operating system designs (Windows 8 and now iOS are taking this direction). Still, no reason to just use Helvetica Apple! It’s a lovely change to rounded corners and gradients. I certainly feel most comfortable in this style and I believe the principles of functional design apply best to the web where what happens under the hood is as important as what you see.
Mobile Mobile Mobile
Mobile devices will continue to grow. Less people will be using big screens to connect, so a Mobile first / adaptive design approach is not really a trend but a necessity. Those that take the Mobile first approach are being rewarded with huge ROI.
Less is more
There is a lot less text on the web these days. I think this is down to two things. The International Style is very much about the “less is more” attitude to design, combined with a Mobile first strategy it seems logical the result is less content. Just be aware less content will probably impact your Search Engine Rank. There should be a middle ground - show less text on a mobile, but use Responsive design to show more content where appropriate.
Lots of Lovely Fonts
Need to be careful with this one but the popularity and support of web fonts will see an explosion of beautifully rendered and highly readable pages. Big fonts are also popular as well now that screen resolutions are becoming larger.
You may have noticed a number of sites and apps displaying content on “cards”, we’ve used it ourself on Woodlawn's channel feed. Cards give a burst of information and I think we will see much more of this over the next year or two. It’s a great design pattern for mobile and can easily be expanded, based on the device. Keep in mind that mobile is where the growth on the web is for the foreseeable future and nuggets of content are much more adaptable than large articles of text. So expect modular website design to be huge.