Designers often have a love-hate-love relationship with trends. Leading with your own design is much better than following in someone else’s footprints, right? For some, knowing which trends are popular right know equates to knowing what needs to be avoided and pushed against.
But in reality, trends are nothing more than a reflection of our society, the things we hate, the things we love and everything in between. They tell us a lot about the cultural moment we find ourselves in and understanding them means we’re a step closer to understanding our fellow human beings, empathise and relate to them. That said, let’s go over some of the most prominent web design trends we expect to see in 2019.
All hail the new template
Until recently, the quintessential website template for any business you can possibly think of included a centred headline atop a beautiful photo with up to three columns reserved for preaching about their services. As popular as it was, this design evolved by the end of 2018 and today, the king of templates bares a striking resemblance to its predecessor.
Namely, designers have taken both the headline and the CTA and moved them to the left and replaced the high-contrast photo with a custom illustration. This adds a cleaned-up, more mature look to the old design, making the headlines much clearer and using subheads to provide necessary context. Having a dedicated place for CTAs makes them much easier for people to find on a glance.
Micro-interactions serve a simple, yet elegant purpose: they cheer us up when we do something. In more technical terms, micro-interactions are used to surprise users by creating an event or a response that is both human and inviting.
Every time you like something on twitter a firework of red colour settles into a heart. For users, these fun little interactions add character and crack on an occasional smile, but for website owners, micro-interactions increase engagement by directly involving users in their website. Experienced digital marketer’s advice to web designers to use them more, to keep people returning to their website.
Considering that mobile browsing has long overtaken its desktop counterpart, it’s easy to understand why design practices are becoming increasingly thumb-friendlier. Designers started paying attention to the way people hold their phones and use their thumbs to interact with them to make navigation more tailored to our thumbs.
The most obvious consequence of thumb-friendly design is the hamburger menu being shifted to the bottom of the screen, where it belongs. This is particularly useful for large-screen smartphones and, coincidentally, people with small hands.
A diversity of illustration styles
As we already mentioned, the high-res, emotion- and thought-provoking website images have made way for striking, yet equally charming illustrations, especially in the SaaS startups and products companies. Today, websites pride themselves with photo collage illustrations and 3D cut-outs that offer this serene, almost palpable, colourful landscapes, abstract approaches, and surreal interpretations.
But all these designers are looking at a single person for inspiration, Slack’s main illustrator, Alice Lee. She is singlehandedly responsible for this new age of diversity for illustration work and her work has become a staple in modern website design and illustration. We look forward to seeing more of this delightful illustration style, as well as the more elusive, expensive and experimental pieces of web art.
Writers strike back
It’s perfectly normal for things to change and evolve, but it seems that visual design for web products and services has somewhat stabilised, so to speak. It offers a solid foundation of extensively tested UX flows, interactions, and templates, but now it’s time for designers to improve upon and strengthen their storytelling skills. Reliable digital marketers know that a picture might be worth a thousand words, but a beautiful narrative that evokes just the right feelings is what sells. It gives form to the vision and it is exactly what makes people passionate about their favourite brands.
Predicting trends might be just an educated guess, but some web design tendencies and their impact on the industry at large cannot be ignored. On the other hand, trends are actually quite useful in inspiring others to explore some new corners of their creativity. Do you agree with some of these trends and which ones do you think also deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!