From Bowie to Brexit, and Princess Leia to the presidential election, 2016 was a year we won’t soon forget. In the web world, however, things were a bit more manageable. 2016 gave us a handful of design trends including Card Layout (thanks, Pinterest) and the widespread adoption of Material Design (originally released by Google in 2014, but designers finally decided to get the hang of it over the last year).
As we look forward to 2017 — a year that hopefully won’t make us all lose our sanity — the big question on designers’ minds is: what will define design in 2017? We’ve rounded up some trends that are sure to rule web design in 2017.
Many companies and brands are seeking to break out of the box-centric layouts that have been popular among web layouts for years. In an effort to “not look the same as everyone else,” many designers are creating asymmetrical layouts which are not perfectly balanced on the left and right sides. This asymmetry can be used to emphasize motion, create weight and add focus to points of interest. When used correctly, asymmetry can be a harmonious design technique that is visually intriguing and helps direct users through a design with subtlety.
2. Geometric Shapes, Lines & Patterns
Whether it’s the use of a circle around an image, photos that are geometric heavy, or the overall design of the site relying heavily on the use of lines and patterns, geometric shapes have made their mark on websites. It’s becoming more popular to incorporate more exotic shapes as backgrounds, logos, content blocks and a number of other one-page elements. Polygons, diamonds, rectangles, triangles, and the occasional rhombus are a popular feature of modern web design. Going hand-in-hand with the rise of asymmetry, these elements are popping up to help company sites stand out from the rest.
3. Emphasis on Content
Designers are getting back to basics and realizing that people visit websites for one major reason — its content. The ultimate role of design is to present content in an intuitive, efficient and visually pleasing way. Designers have spent years adding things to websites such as sidebars, headers, banner ads, etc. that have ultimately ended up cluttering websites. The use of negative space and minimal framework are notable features to keep your eye out for this year. Designers are likely to get back to the heart and soul of the website — the content– moving forward.
4. Increased Use of Animations & GIFs
Whether it’s Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance or Obama’s mic drop, GIFs have taken the world by storm on social media and even texting. On websites, they are popular for showing “how-to’s” or revealing meaningful content. GIFs are becoming more sophisticated and animations using SVG and CSS are being used more heavily to achieve unique design elements. HTML5 Canvas and WebGL (Web Graphics Library) are skill sets that every designer should learn to stay ahead in 2017. The use of these animations will help communicate things easier and quicker than text and video can.
5. More and Brighter Color
While minimalism was all the rage in 2016, 2017 is the year for color. More and more brands and companies are turning to bright, bold color schemes to infuse an all new aesthetic. Take Instagram, for example. They led the movement by totally revamping and revivifying their brand with their new app icon redesign.
6. Duotone Gradient Imagery
As you can see, it’s not JUST about bright colors. Duotone gradient imagery is making a huge statement across websites as well. Blending and blurring enthusiastic hues into various spectra are making a huge impact on the web design world. This reemergence of bright hues and bold gradients isn’t going away anytime soon. Check out NYC Pride’s implementation of this trend for their 2017 parade site:
7. Navigation Diets
With more and more people accessing the web through mobile phones and tablets, easy navigation is a key factor for web design heading into 2017. Instead of overly complicated and long navigations, more and more sites are turning to more simplistic navigation menus with less and less sub pages. As mentioned in our last blog, mobile-friendly sites are a must. Keeping navigation to a minimum helps visitors focus on the intent and content at hand, creating an overall better user experience.
8. Rich Typography
As many of us designers know, the use of typefaces in a project can make or break a design. Until recently, the Internet was dominated heavily by neo-grotesque styles such as Helvetica, Roboto, Lator, or Open Sans. Starting in 2016, designers began to boldly use different kinds of typefaces. We’re more willing to work with contrasts – both serif typefaces and non-serif ones. In websites, texts are being animated, broken down into individual letters, and even have videos placed on them.
Contrast pairing of typefaces are also taking on a major role in website typography. Expressive combinations are being reinforced by a high contrast between the sizes of texts. One very cool feature that we are especially excited about is the use of large typography as part of the key visual. This creates a very strong contrast between headers and the rest of the content.
9. End of Flat Design
Over the past few years, flat design has turned from a modern update of skeuomorphic design to a more materialistic design aesthetic (think Google again). Many designers are starting to feel that sites are looking too similar to one another, with not much differentiation. They feel the creativity is gone, and have started to vote in favor of layouts and designs that are more imaginative and unique.
10. Use of Hand-Drawn Elements
As designers, we tend to doodle…a lot. These doodles represent our design personalities, and add a certain intimacy to projects. Nowadays, more and more companies are utilizing designer sketches and implementing these hand-drawn elements into fonts, icons, graphics and buttons. These elements are a nice change from standard design elements and bring a unique touch to websites. In a time when perfect, boxy and rounded elements can be found almost everywhere, these hand-drawn elements use their ability to convey a note of individuality within a web design.
With 2016 gladly behind us, we’re all looking forward to what 2017 has in store (hopefully with less traumatic deaths of nearly every icon we all love and cherish). This year, designers all over are sure to create some great websites. From asymmetrical layouts to hand-drawn elements, brighter color schemes to more focused content layouts, these design trends will dominate web design in 2017.