Finding web design trends that stay in vogue should be most web designers’ priority since 57% of brands plan to redesign their website this year according to HubSpot. This percentage is rising due to a large number of companies that are unsatisfied with their old design or even last redesign. Instead of designing layouts in whatever is currently trending and having to change it every year (taking months and hundreds-thousands of dollars every time), make websites design last by using a trend that stays in style and lasts for years with minor adjustments from user research and feedback along the way.
The five web design trends that stay in fashion are:
- Reflective Typography of the Brand
- Ocean/Relaxed Vibe
Web Design Trends
Clear and Concise – Minimalist
The first web design trend is minimalism. Minimalism is a design style that has little or few elements in a design. It has the added benefits of things clashing or going wrong when there are fewer parts total. Helpfully, this makes these designs easier to put together and are more easy to use.
Minimalism in websites is crucial for user experience and user interface because it causes users to find key things easier and creates a more relaxed and comfortable feeling for users. Minimal websites help users with network or computer issues to access it easier. Also, minimalism is a classic design style that is not going away; it was cool to have things simple and organized in ancient Rome and it’s still nice now.
Use expected UI elements! There are common element placements across the internet that users expect and look for. To avoid user confusion and frustration, keep these elements where they are expected; some things can’t be minimized without loss of something important. These elements include (but are not limited to):
- Having a login button in the top-right corner.
- Keeping a main menu either in the header or on the right hand side.
- Having a mobile menu trigger on the top-right corner.
- Placing the site’s logo and name in the top-left corner.
- Having a search bar in the header either on to the left, right, or below the menu.
For organization, keep 3-5 similar elements and items together. Make sure that the way you organize/categorize elements is logical and easy to pick up on. This helps with the feeling of unison in the design and gives a sense of what to expect that helps users find things easily. You may want to make an organization graph of your method and elements to make sure everything is easy to find and the method is intuitive to users. Also, use proper information architecture organization to make details easier to find.
Generous Images – Illustrations and Photos
Use many, many visuals! Most people are visual learners so they like to have visual cues that indicate what to look at or where to go. Do this by reinforcing topics or ideas with images, infographics, and logos. This includes cartoons, graphics, and photographs (yes, stock images too). Since most people are visual learners, use beautiful yet relevant images to reinforce ideas of text content.
Just adding images makes a site seem more legitimate and trustworthy. Photos of happy people (I suggest going for diversity in culture, ethnicity, and demographic when using lots of photos of people) or places (see the timeless trend of nature below) are good; they make the brand seem more friendly and professional. 2-D illustrations make the website seem more fun and creative as long as appropriate ones are chosen.
You can get free stock photos and other images from websites like Pixabey, ReSnap, Canva, StockSnap, and UnSplash. You can get more unique photos and other images from Shuttershock for $29/month, Adobe Creative Cloud for $29.99/month, or, on the high end, there’s CanStock Photo for $99.00/month or $7/image.
Reflective Typography of the Brand
The next web design trend is typography that reflects the brand. Look at the font your brand is using. Can all the letters be read easily in either upper or lowercase for those with bad eyesight? Does each letter look unique from each other so they are not mistaken for a different one? (Capital i’s (I) and l’s are common issues.) Is the font interesting enough that the reader doesn’t get cross eyed from boredom after a few sentences?
The types of fonts that are used will give users an impression of the tone and purpose of the website or document they are reading. A font like Tahoma indicates a more professional website while a font like Comic Sans suggests a more fun or creative site (this is good for comic book writers or designers). Fonts can even suggest the purpose of the website; for example, a type font like Courier New suggests a site that is based around older writing.
Some fonts invoke a mood or emotion when they are read. A font like Comfortaa gives a more fun and mellow feeling. Since they have had to write and/or read so many articles and essays written in it, some people are annoyed by Times New Romans.
Picking specific fonts will build certain expectations, so pick one that matches your tone and your (or your businesses) personality. Find a font that matches the color and character of the content and the products while matching your own unique personality.
Increasingly, many brands are recognized by the font that their logo is written in. Futura in all caps is a symbol for NIKE, and Neo Sans is used by Intel. Keeping the fonts consistent also can bring different parts of your brand together, so make sure that the font on your emails, business cards, and logo matches your website.
While some brands and companies create their own font specific for the brand, there are plenty of creative and unique looking fonts that can help make your brand stand out from competition and help your consumers to remember it (and possibly what you do and your values if you are clever with the logo and tagline) better.
The next web design trend is Nature. Nature or other ‘green’ or eco-friendly designs have been in for years; this is particularly good for brands where this is a value or is in an industry where this comes naturally (gardening, solar panels, reusable water bottles, second-hand products or re-invented/recycled products, etc.) In addition, with generation z coming into the market, this trend is not going away anytime soon.
Even for brands that are not in that kind of industry, having a nature inspired design adds Zen and mellowness to the overall design. Use photos and/or illustrations of leaves, flowers, branches, rocks, and other naturally found items to make the design more pastoral or otherwise ‘outdoors-y’.
One of my favorite web design trends that I rarely get to use, the oceans and their elements give a relaxed, vacation vibe or an exotic, wonderland feel depending on how the elements and colors are used. Bright and/or dark blues, pinks, yellows, beiges/browns, and greens are generally the colors used for this kind of design. Possible images for this kind of design include:
- Sea Stars (they’re not actually fish, fun fact)
- Sandy beaches
- Jellies (like above, not actually fish)
- Sea otters/seals/sea lions
- Submerged ruins
- Beach towels
- Sand sculptures
- Sea turtles (one of my favorite sea animals)
Instead of designing layouts in whatever is currently trending and having to change it every year (taking months and hundreds-thousands of dollars every time), make websites design last by using a trend that stays in style and lasts for years with minor adjustments along the way. The five web design trends that stay in fashion are:
- Reflective Typography of the Brand
- Ocean/Relaxed Vibe