For the New Year, we meet at 99designs in December as a team to predict design trends for the year ahead. Of course, we will not fall into these trends out of the blue. We get ideas from our talented global design community and discuss the benefits of potential trends very carefully.
The interesting part of this process? Design trends are often the result of changes in technology, pop culture, and the political climate; as we explore, we discover themes that indicate significant cultural changes. And this year there were a few doozies.
The demand for organic food and other organic products has been growing for years and will be no different in 2018. This paradigm shift has greatly influenced the design and will continue to influence it.
Interestingly, organic design contradicts the predominant desire for sleek, minimalist design. We see this reflected in vintage design, for example, allowing brands to look better at the top shelf with classic details that offer some distinction and sophistication.
The rapid proliferation of mobile navigation (and an infinite variety of devices and screen sizes) has created critical usability problems for traditional websites, which have laid the foundation for responsive design. In 2016, consumers had more access to the internet on mobile devices than on desktops; the world has now made the official transition (well, “statistics”) to a design that favors mobile devices.
The design trends of previous years have emphasized a responsive approach to website design, which is still important, but in 2018 we’ll think about smartphones before thinking about desktops. Businesses will think about how their website will look on an iPhone and move from the experience to the desktop, not the other way around.
Animated clipart has come a long way and was developed to fit perfectly into the modern web in the form of GIFs and lead to the movement of graphic design.
2020 was, believe it or not, GIF’s 30th anniversary. As adoption continues to grow among marketers and consumers, we see this trend continuing in 2021. And let’s face it, there have been many global events and emotions in the last year that have led to words alone that don’t do it justice. GIFs attract ads, email newsletters, illustrations, icons, and logos (not to mention memes).
When Pantone announced its 2018 Color of the Year – Ultra Violet Purple – Lee Eisenman, CEO of the Pantone Color Institute, told Co. Design, “We are in a complex era; it’s a complex color.” We couldn’t agree more.
In recent years, the flat design has reigned supreme, but in 2018 the slopes are back in top shape, bringing back that complexity and depth that we haven’t seen in recent times. The last time the gradients existed, they were mainly seen in the form of material designs and subtle shadows to render 3D (Apple’s iOS icons were an excellent example). The tones are now big, long, and full of colors.
The most popular recent incarnation is a gradient filter on photos – a great way to make an intriguing image less interesting. A simple gradient background can also be the perfect solution if you don’t have other images to work with.