22 May 2018 by Web Bureau
Good design remains the holy grail of every great brand and business. When you get it right, it resonates with customers, increases engagement and helps your message reach an even wider audience.
Great design – created with your audience in mind – is much more than the sum of its parts, creating an emotional feeling and a reaction that money just can’t buy. In short, anyone who knows anything will agree – good design, well executed, is invaluable.
So while the media may have changed – long gone are the days when print topped the list of deliverables on any design brief – the value of good design remains just as high.
And, with a website remaining the core platform of most brands and businesses, it sets the tone. Your online shop window, if not your entire retail or service business, your website is the constant at the heart of your marketing strategy, Which makes its design something you can’t afford to skimp on.
As website designers, our challenge is to keep on top of the ever-evolving technology, to use it to overcome the challenges that businesses in every sector face, every day, and to do it all in an intuitive, user-friendly way that’s also responsive and adaptable. Oh, and we need to do it all beautifully too.
It’s all stuff that we do for clients day in, day out. And as we do, we notice clear trends emerging year-on-year. This year, we’ve noticed at least 9 that we thought you’d be interested in hearing more about – and if they spark any ideas for updating your own site, give us a shout. We’d be happy to discuss how any of them could take your website to the next level.
Yes, you know this one. With the continued and rapid uptake of mobile browsing – which surpassed desktops some time ago – mobile design is maturing. No longer do users have to put up with clunky processes and layouts. Instead, technology is enabling smart, intuitive menu design that can be revealed or rolled back, icons that use space economically and look great, and the ability to quickly fix UX issues with more responsive feedback.
Using shadows has been around for some time but it’s a look that only continues to evolve. New capabilities in web browsers are enabling new variations in drop shadows and depth, and designers are exploring the possibilities of grids and parallax layouts to create worlds beyond the screen.
With flat design being left behind in favour of more depth, gradients are making a welcome resurgence this year. In their first iteration, gradients were simply subtle shading to add a little depth in an otherwise one dimensional landscape. Today, they’re big, loud and in glorious Technicolor. Try using gradient filters over pictures to add multi-dimensional intrigue or, where images aren’t available or suitable, add a gradient to the background to create visual intrigue.
2018 is bright! In a crowded visual landscape, and in a world beyond web-safe colours where screens can relay richer colours, designers are losing their colour inhibitions. We’re sure you’ve noticed all of the super-saturation and vibrancy the web is now awash with, complete with angular slashes and reimagined headers. It’s time to shake things up!
Perhaps as an antidote to the sharp clean design lines and big picture imagery that most websites are notable for, we’ve noticed definite trend for a more illustrative, hand-made approach. It’s a neat way to really bring out a business’s personality and create a style that not only stands out but becomes synonymous with your brand.
We haven’t met a designer yet who doesn’t get excited about type. Despite the demise of print, typography continues to be an art form that is evolving as the technology does. With device resolutions getting sharper and browsers supporting hand-made typefaces, we’re seeing more and more custom fonts being designed and deployed. Designers are opting for large letters, contrasting serif with san serif, to inject dynamism and improve the aesthetic to keep people engaged and scrolling, communicating the information in the easiest way.
More and more of the big brands are going off grid with unconventional ‘broken’ layouts that look modern, fresh and cutting edge. It’s not a look for the more conservative or traditional business. But where you’re operating in a trend-led, fashion-forward area, it’s bang up to date, distinctive and unique.
As browser technology advances and becomes more flexible, it’s getting easier to integrate different elements, such as animation, into any part of any page. Small animations can be inserted into text to break up the experience, maintain engagement while a page is loading, show an interesting hover state from a link, work with scrolling or navigation or become the focal point of your site. The possibilities are virtually unlimited.
Things move fast on the Web – there’s a good chance your website could do with an update, whether from a technological or design point of view. Ask us today what we would do to improve performance and finesse design – it’s our thing!