Last month we spoke about the web design trends of 2018, from big bold fonts and geometric shapes, to broken grid layouts and vertical text. 2018 is looking like an exciting year, as those pesky web designers try their best to dismantle the web as we know it!
So here we are with the web design trends of 2018 – part 2.
Animated GIFs (Cinemagraphs)
What did you say. Animated GIFs? Please… this is not the 1990s! Don’t worry, this does not mean the return of dancing pigs and flashing Under Construction signs. Today’s animated GIFs are very different to those that haunted our screens 25 years ago. Animated GIFs (more widely known as GIFs or Cinemagraphs) are photographs with minor movement or animation on a loop. Look at Giphy.com to get a feel for how these look. They can be very effective as a full-screen background image, which can add subtle movement and interest to your page.
Some great examples can be found on http://annstreetstudio.com/category/cinemagraphs/
Minimalist websites became popular a few years ago, as an antidote to the all-singing, all-dancing flash creations that hit our screens earlier. Well, guess what? They’re making a come-back, but this time with an “Ultra” attached! Yes, minimalism has hit a new high, with websites now being designed with a more minimalist style than ever. Think “less is more” and you will be heading on the right track. Ultra-minimalism can be extremely effective, but be warned, it is difficult to get it right. Get it wrong and your website could end up looking like an empty shell. When done correctly, minimalist websites are a great way to bring focus to on-page elements like products, or portfolio items.
Gradients & Shadows
If you think gradients and shadows have had their day, you’re right… and wrong. Yes, they became a design faux par a few years ago due to being overused, and used garishly in many cases. Yes, they were banished to the side-lines once minimalism and flat design trends took over. But, they are now making a come-back, albeit in a much subtler fashion. Browser support now means designers have the freedom to create gradients and shadows using CSS, and we are starting to see vibrant gradients and soft shadows on many new websites.
An example of a vibrant gradient background can be seen on Spotify, which we think looks great.
And an example of subtle shadows being used on ustwo.com
Illustrations have always been used in web design to some degree. But we definitely saw the beginning of a resurgence in 2017, as brands attempt to stand out and personalise their website experience. In an age when so much can be done using CSS and HTML alone, illustrations are a great way of injecting some personality into your designs. But don’t use illustrations for illustrations sake, make sure they add to the site functionality and user experience. We expect to see a lot more of this in 2018, as brands strive to create a memorable experience for their site users.
NewActon is a great example of combining illustration with functionality http://newacton.com.au/
It may sound like science-fiction, but Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now science-fact and is already integrated into many high-profile websites. In fact, many of us are using AI on a daily basis, probably without realising it. Amazon search and Facebook ‘facial recognition’ both use AI. Streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix use AI to make recommendations. Voice assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s Siri are all powered by AI. There’s no doubt that Artificial Intelligence is already becoming an integral part of our digital lives, and this is likely to increase in 2018. As AI becomes more widely integrated into the web, it will inevitably affect the design decisions and thus the style of the designs we see.
Chatbots (based on the same technology as voice assistants) are becoming increasingly popular as customer service and sales tools, for large brands to connect with their customers. In some cases it’s almost impossible to tell whether you are talking to a real person or intelligent code.
A good example of an effective Chatbot is the eBay Chatbot, which can communicate with you via Facebook Messenger.
There’s no doubt 2018 is the start of an exciting time for web design. As voice search, smart appliances and artificial intelligence becomes common-place, we will be able to access the web from a variety of sources, not just by using our finger-tips. This will have huge repercussions for web design, the effects of which we cannot be certain at this stage. From an aesthetics point of view, designers are already ‘breaking the mould’ by finding clever ways to break away from the ‘box model’ constraints, which is leading to some exciting design trends. The resurgence of old styles such as shadows, gradients and 3-dimensional design is another exciting trend, which is worth keeping an eye on. Rather than one style now leading the way, there are many different almost conflicting design trends all happening at once. This makes for a potentially thrilling web landscape, so sit down, grab your popcorn, and watch what the next year has in store!!
Whether you’re a business based in Coventry, London, Bognor Regis or John-o-Groats, you too can benefit from keeping up with the latest web design trends. The age-old business rule of staying one step ahead of your competition still applies. Give us a call on 024 7610 0380 or 020 7112 8890 and find out how we can help your business to take advantage of these new and exciting trends.