Most of us care to some degree what we look like. We wash our faces. We moisturize. We brush (and sometimes even whiten) our teeth. We fix up our hair. We wear sunscreen. Many of us try to keep up with the latest fashion trends…
We do what we can to stay looking good, because let’s face it, at least when it comes to first impressions, appearances matter.
Your website is no different. As the face of your brand, your website is the first thing that many people notice about your business. Whether you like it or not, people will make judgments on your business based on the way that your website looks. Does it look sloppy and cluttered? Sleek and professional?
Just like clothing trends, web design trends are always evolving. What was a fantastic web design in 2010 will probably look outdated and tired in 2017. Just like your own physical appearance, your website requires a bit of upkeep to stay looking good.
And that’s where this blog post comes in. I collaborated with our Lead Web Designer, Anish, to find out the latest web design trends that will continue to dominate the web in 2018. Here’s what they are.
1. Use of Only One Font
Once upon a time (okay maybe not that long ago), web designs would consist of two to three different fonts. Nowadays, designers tend to prefer to use just a single font throughout the entire site—but in different ways.
For example, notice how Uber relies on only one font throughout their entire homepage, thereby retaining a sense of uniformity. At the same time, they change the spacing and boldness of that font so as to prevent a monotonous look.
2. More Graphic Illustrations
Say goodbye to cheesy Shutterstock photos. These days, websites are all about custom designs. Brands are creating their own illustrations to express their personalities and communicate with their website visitors.
And you know that old saying “less is more”? The same goes for graphic illustrations.
As Anish, noted, the simpler the design, the better. The important thing is for the graphics to convey the brand’s message—without being distracting. The graphics must be beautiful…but not so beautiful that they become the main point of focus. And that’s a hard balance to find. The illustrations have got to “flow with the other content” as Anish pointed out.
This is why creating a “simple” design is generally a lot easier said than done. Oftentimes, the simpler the design is, the more you end up spending. It’s not easy to create a design that’s simple, aesthetically pleasing and still doesn’t distract the user.
But the job site, Werk, succeeds in doing this:
The design is very simple, but still effective in conveying their fun personality and what they are all about (flexible work).
Meanwhile, Dropbox takes simplicity to a whole new level with their basic sketch design:
3. Video & Animation
Storytelling is a huge part of modern-day marketing. And what better way for a brand to tell their story than through animation? For that reason, static visuals are out and animation is in.
Many (if not most) brands are now using some form of animation on their homepage. Product-based brands can use animation to showcase their products; service-based brands can use simple videos to walk their visitors through the steps of how to use their software; and experience-based brands can use videos to tell stories that captivate their viewers.
Animation helps to jump-start engagement and immediately draw users into the site. It’s incredibly powerful because it makes visitors feel as if they are actually there.
Some brands are playing with very simple and subtle animations, while others are going all out. On the French website, Fromage Abondance, the flickering candles in the background are the only thing moving on the homepage.
Meanwhile, the clothing brand, G-Star Raw, greets visitors with a video right off the bat. Then once the video is finished, users are free to browse the rest of the page, where jeans are splayed out in disarray. As the user hovers the mouse over a pair of those jeans, they move a bit; and if the user is intrigued, they can click on the pair of jeans to find out the story behind them—and from there, make a purchase should they so desire.
For brands that are more experience-based, animation is the perfect way to tell a story and engage the user. The adventurer, Bear Grylls does a great job at this on his website. Once the user scrolls down a bit, a montage of different adventure scenes begins to play and plays on repeat or until the user scrolls down further.
360 videos, or videos which provide a 360 view of something, are also a popular form of animation that many web designs are starting to use. For e-commerce websites, this means that website visitors can really see the product that they are interested in before buying it. For products with a higher price tag, this has the potential to make a big impact on conversions.
4. Bold and Dramatic Typography
While some brands are letting visuals and animation do all of the talking, other brands are taking an opposite approach and putting their font at center stage.
2018 will see a greater emphasis on bold and dramatic typography. In other words, font with a bit of personality. Many brands are choosing to tell their story through typography alone.
Take a look at the Théodore Rousseau Exhibition website, where a bold, spaced-out font (not visuals) and whitespace are the first and only things that greet visitors. I guess you could say that the font is the visual centerpiece here.
5. Box Designs
Another thing that Anish mentioned was the increasing use of box designs on websites, where sections of a webpage are divided into different “boxes,” like is done on the HTML Boutique homepage:
Apple takes a similar approach, using the box design all throughout their site, with a strong emphasis on visuals.
6. Contrasting Color
Contrast is a very effective way to draw attention to certain elements on a webpage. Lately, web designers have been focusing on creating that contrast with color. Colored fonts are placed against backgrounds of a contrasting color to catch the visitor’s attention.
DropBox recently redesigned their website and not only do they use animation on their homepage to reveal the many different ways that their file hosting service can be used, but they also take advantage of color contrasting to grab the visitors’ attention. Notice the use of a sky blue font against a maroon background, and then after scrolling down below the fold, we see a navy blue font against a salmon pink background.
So, love em or hate em, these trends are here to stay…at least for now.
What do you think? Do you see any trends that you would like to implement on your own site, but not sure how? If so, feel free to get in touch. Our team of skilled web designers and developers would love to help.