It's no secret web design is one of the most dynamic fields in the market.
Something that looked great in 2016 will look dated today.
It’s important for web designers to stay current and this year saw some major changes. As we head towards the end of 2017, it’s a good time to look at web design trends emerging in 2018.
Mobile-first design still rules
While this isn’t an entirely new trend, it’ll still be a huge part of web design going into 2018. Mobile is the official primary device for browsing and it’s important to harness that.
New phones mean larger screens. You need to focus on delivering effective and quality content to mobile platforms.
Consider this. A Tyton Media study found that 62% of companies which designed their website for mobile platforms increased their sales.
Use bold colours and typography
2018 is all about being bold. In 2017, we saw a lot of web-safe colours give way to brighter tones, tip-toeing the line between bold and gaudy.
In 2018, expect to see that trend continue, pushing more towards the brighter side of the palette. Flat colours are becoming gradients. Gone are blocky, flashy buttons, replaced with bright but minimal 'line art'.
This matches the shift in focus to typography. Designers are looking to choose a font that resonates with the brand.
Type doesn't impact your site performance, it uses negative space without adding excess weight. Less images and more typography makes your calls-to-action pop.
Also look out for huge statement typography. Combined with a hero image, a hefty title can make a powerful statement of intent.
Custom Illustrations on the rise
Friendly and versatile visuals have completely taken over the creative sector. This isn't going to change as we enter 2018.
Illustration is a varied medium, capable of eliciting many different emotions. With this in mind, more and more businesses are using illustration for their branding.
Things like sketch and line art have helped businesses define their own image. From unique headers to social media posts, illustration works across the board.
If you want to inject some fun into your web design, bespoke illustrations could be a great way to go about it.
Expressive Hero Images
A hero image is perfect for modernising your website while adding page content depth. They're large, attractive headers designed to grab attention. Yet, as the trend has developed, hero images have evolved.
Web designers are now using animated video or the illustrations we mentioned above. Some have made their hero image interactive, following your mouse around the screen. These types of hero images grab your attention, enticing you to scroll down.
Hero images can be a great way to showcase what you do. They allow you to present authentic images, show value or present featured content. As a fundamental concept, they use large headers to push your most important message.
Expect to see more hero images creeping into popular web design.
Use more videos and cinemagraphs
As always, where bold visuals go, video usually follows. Cinemagraphs hit that sweet spot in the middle. A moving image is a great way to grab attention and tell a story in an engaging way.
Video is super versatile. It represents modern marketing. More and more businesses are 'pivoting' to video, putting more stock in the medium as a whole. Designers are no different. Video can help you present original design without compromising the message.
Cinemagraphs are more niche but do the same thing. Shorter and sweeter than video, elements of these images move to keep things flowing. They can be a great way to draw the eye to critical points of a site, improving conversion rates for calls to action.
Whether it's in the header or a feature halfway down, moving visuals will catch the eye. Videos have the added benefit of increasing SEO value, which is always a plus for developers.
A parallax is a particularly popular trend that offers a 3D effect to scrolling. The foreground moves quicker than the rest of the site, giving a sense of depth.
This allows designers to draw the eye to certain elements, lifting them off the screen.
'But wait', we hear you say. 'Aren't critical points of a site meant to be above the fold? Shouldn't you avoid scrolling?'
That's true of traditional design but as screen's shrink, design rules change. No longer is the fold a definitive line or area. Now your entire page needs to be interesting and parallax scrolling can help with that.
As we find more ways to interact with scrolling and the parallax effect, expect it to grow in prominence.
Scroll triggered animation (and animation in general!)
On the topic of scrolling, consider using more animations. If you can have things happen that trigger by scrolling, even better.
In modern web design, animations help bring a site to life. Rather than a collection of buttons, these animations help create a journey for the user.
They're often subtle and always strategic in their motivation. They might encourage you to scroll. They might encourage clicking or hovering. They'll always help create a clean design.
Like a few things in this list, site animations aren't new. The way that designers are using them is.
Authentic images focused on individuality
Step away from the stock photos. Web design trends are calling for authenticity. You need unique, realistic images based around your product or service.
This individuality should be the same approach you take to branding. Yes, you can use stock photos from time to time but the important thing is relevance and quality. If you have a slick website but use blurry stock imagery, you're doing it wrong.
Try to use imagery that matches your business. Creative agencies love stock photos of Macbooks and iPads because it fits their tone. If you're a plumber who never uses a computer, you don't need the same images. Your customers will prefer to see authentic, professional examples of work.
Is your website ready for 2018?
Generally, 2018 will supplement what has already been decided. The foundations are there, ready for designers to build upon. True, some elements will dial up to 11 and some will fall by the wayside.
What will remain true is that you should put importance into your web design. It's one of the most important phases of web development as whole. When your website matches your branding, you increase your credibility.
And that leads to the all important conversion.