Top 10 Web Design Trends
2019 – Part I
As technologies evolve, so do the design trends that follow, and that’s never more apparent than in website design. Now that 2019 is halfway through, we wanted to compile a list of the Top 10 website design trends we are seeing so far this year.
We all know the rule: serifs for print, sans serifs for screen… well forget it!
Serifs were often associated with the past. However, one of the most refreshing design trends of 2019 is a shift that more and more brands are turning towards: bold serifs in their designs - specifically in headers and callouts.
While sans serif is still the go-to for longer blocks of website copy, there’s a good reason for this shift. Serifs by design are decorative. These vintage styles all have bolder, thicker lines than the previously popular thinner sans serifs that ruled the <h1> and <h2> tags in the last few years.
Well-known brands, such as Mailchimp (below) have shifted to this vintage typography style.
One of the biggest benefits (and consequently, what has inspired this new trend) is better screen resolutions across all devices. Sans serif fonts used to be the most readable screen fonts when those screens and their resolutions were smaller. Thanks to higher definition & higher resolution screens, the readability of serif fonts is no longer an issue.
Of the 10 basic elements of design, color is one of the most important - especially when it comes to a website. Color (or in this case the absence thereof) creates mood, unifies your branding and guides your visitors through your website by creating visual markers. In 2019, however, one trend we’re seeing is a heavier use of black-and-white web design.
For the majority of people, color is literally how we see the world around us. When color is missing, we see things very differently: textures and shapes become more crisp and clear, and the absences of color can make everything seem to slow down.
White and the use of white space gives a clean and reserved feel while black is strong and assertive. Combining the two you get a bold and striking feel.
One of the effects a primarily black-and-white design can have is when it is combined with minimal color as accents. A splash of color will break up the monochrome by highlighting points of interest, such as navigation elements or other call-to-action items so they stand out.
For the longest time, web pages have been typically set up for systematic grids. However, we are now seeing an increase in designers turning to natural shapes and smooth flowing lines. Squares, triangles and other geometric shapes do create a sense of stability and structure which is still desirable in some cases. But 2019 trends demonstrate that companies are more concerned with feelings of comfort and accessibility.
Organic shapes are naturally imperfect and, as such, typically asymmetrical. Within a web design they can provide a layer of depth that makes your page elements stand out. Whether these organic shapes are based on nature (curving hills or tree lines), or free-drawn ‘accidental’ shapes such as paint splatter, the goal is to imitate a feeling of life through the visual movement.
Classic and timeless, minimalism is often a go-to aesthetic for web design. When done correctly, fewer elements and content on a website means your audience has to think less about how to find what they’re looking for on your site.
Minimalism continues to be just as popular as ever because of its flexibility. Minimalist designs can easily take advantage of new and emerging advancements in web technologies that complex designs can sometimes limit. Simple animations and other effects give minimalist web pages added freedom to space out content, resulting in more open space. This contrast gives your typography higher clarity without too many distracting elements.
2019 trends are anything if not dichotomous. As mentioned earlier, black & white designs are popular, but if color is what you’re after: really make it POP! Whether its gradient backgrounds, bright image overlays or animations that feature moving colors, vibrant color palettes have gained popularity for designs that refuse to be ignored.
To show how important bold and bright colors have become, Pantone named color 16-1546: ‘Living Coral’ as color of the year. Bright blues and purples, such as Secure Invest (below), have also been other popular choices.
Evolving from earlier design trends, bold and bright colors gained popularity with flat design in years prior, expanding into even more vibrant hues some with even a hint of neon in them.
Along with the overall use of bold and bright colors is also their use within gradients. Considered by many to be the multipurpose color trend, gradients can add a burst of color to any design pattern, but their most common use is to assist designs that might be lacking in other areas, or what’s called ‘art poor.’ Gradient backgrounds can be a fun way to break out text or other visual elements to highlight specific content.
The shift in gradients as a color trend in 2019 is in utilizing them as a featured technique with bright color choices, whereas in 2018 gradients were primarily used as a photo overlay tool. Now these bold and bright gradients get to stand on their own.
Creating an emotional connection with your users is more important to your design than ever before. Websites and apps that don’t establish this emotional connection can easily get lost among the millions of other sites out there.
Design Shack has an excellent article about creating emotional connections with your users where they outline the four basic emotional categories that designers strive to elicit:
Therefore, to further connect your brand with your users, think more about how your content can fall into one of these groupings and then use color, imagery and the user interface to accentuate that emotion.
Visual elements cue users to react in the way you intend for them to react. Sprout (below) is a perfect example – a smiling face on your landing page creates a positive first interaction with users.
You may have heard in previous years that ‘scrolling is dead’… and it was for a time. Just like most superheroes in comics, what’s great never truly dies, it just sometimes goes away for a while.
In 2019 the era of scrolling is back with the re-emergence of the ‘single-page design’.This is thanks, in no small part, to the continued increase of mobile web users. Smaller devices benefit tremendously from single-page designs because users can get everything they need on one page without having to worry about navigation. Moreover, mobile users are now accustomed to scrolling thanks to social media platforms.
More and more companies are finding it impossible to ignore this growing user pattern and have begun to reincorporate this trend.
As a family member to minimalist design (some might say the black-sheep of minimalism), brutalism is seeing a surge in 2019. It is the antithesis of bright-color designs… quite literally the yin to that yang.
Described by the Nielsen Norman Group, brutalism is “a style that intentionally attempts to look raw, haphazard, or unadorned.” It echoes back to the early 1990s-style websites like Craigslist and the Drudge Report, and is expressed as bare-bones HTML site with monochromatic color and text.
Few, if anyone would classify brutalism as pretty. While elegance is far from the feel you’ll get with this style, it does have a certain charm for certain content. Stark and bold, it unapologetically makes an impact when you see brutalism in design.
If you haven’t noticed, website designs increasingly need to accommodate mobile users. Split screen designs are the perfect to accomplish this - and they will keep gaining in popularity.
On a desktop or other larger horizontal screen, the design is broken into two panels of content. When viewed on smaller vertical devices, these collapse into stacked vertical content. When done right, this approach works to create a seamless UX across all devices.
While these designs started out featuring side-by-side “screens” that looked similar, we are seeing more designs shifting to asymmetrical splits for their content. This creates a more apparent hierarchy in the design for desktop users, whereas the items on top are perceived as being more important for mobile users.
2019 may very well go down as ‘the year of text.’
Whether it’s double- or triple-stacked headlines, drastically larger typefaces or designing more with words and fewer images - there is an obvious shift to text as the featured element. It’s not as easy as just throwing lots of words on a page, as the right typography can look amazing and help your users access information quickly… but the wrong typeface can make your website fall disastrously flat. The trick to making more text work for your design is that it needs to actually be valuable text. You can’t just write a lot for the sake of writing; your users will need every word to count.
Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, keeping your online presence up-to-date with the latest trends can give you a decided edge in the visibility of your brand and your company. Contact us if you’d like to see how we can help your website remain on the cutting edge!