12 Huge Web Design Trends for 2018

What were the biggest web design trends of 2017, and what will be big in 2018? As last year drew to a close, Creative Bloq asked leading designers and studio heads to share their views, perspectives and predictions.

1. Web Animation

“Animation can play a huge part in making ideas and interfaces easier to understand,” says interactive designer Chris Gannon. “In a world where everyone is in a hurry and time is short, animation can convey complex ideas in a short amount of time whilst at the same time engaging and informing.”

2. More Adventurous Colors

“Over the past year we’ve seen an increase in the use of bold colors being used across digital platforms,” notes James Bearne, creative director of Kagool. And this won’t slow down in 2018, Bearne predicts. “With new tools like Khroma helping us to find more interesting ways of using color, it seems likely we’ll see more designers exploring how color can be used to deliver exceptional experiences.

3. Inventive Typography

In the battle for eyeballs, typography is a powerful weapon, and its use on the web has broadened out this year, says Kelly Morr, senior manager of content strategy at 99designs. “Typography is powerful and the bigger the better.”

4. Data Storytelling

“There is now a huge emphasis on effective storytelling through design, conveying often complex information as simply and as engagingly as possible to a variety of audiences,” says Craig Taylor, senior data visualization design manager at Ito World. “Designers are thinking outside the box with new, bespoke creations – the muted palettes of old ditched in favor of vibrant color transitions paired with minimalist yet bold typography.”

5. Standardization Between Design Tools

“Let’s just say that, if you’re still using Photoshop for UI design, you probably need to take a look around you,” says Bruno La Versa. “2017 has been the year of the new design tools: Figma, Webflow, InVision Studio just to name a few. The explosion in design tools highlights how design is becoming a core element to how businesses operate.”

6. Flat Design 2.0

Flat design isn’t dying, but in 2018, it’s certainly having to learn to adapt to stay relevant, believes Morr. “This new, so-called Flat 2.0 or semi-flat design, relies on adding nuance and depth to its prior ascetic identity.”

7. Playful Illustration

“Brands want to stand out and illustrations are a fabulous way to inject personality into a website,” says Morr. “Illustrations can be extremely practical ways of presenting or explaining information.”

8. The Evolution of AI

AI has already worked its way into mainstream web design, through technologies like conversational interfaces (chatbots). “As people become more accustomed to interacting with bots, we are seeing a rise in the use of conversational interfaces in design,” says Jim Bowes, CEO and Founder of Manifesto. “Looking forward, machine learning and AI will be introduced into many of the systems we interact with over the next couple of years.

9. Asymmetric Layouts

The responsive design movement of the 2010s has revolutionized web design and enabled designers to build sites that adapt seamlessly to different devices. “This year, we’ve seen an increase in designs that rebelled against the constraints of responsive design with an attempt to be more ‘creative’,” says Bearne.

10. Making the Most of Mobile

“As we move into 2018, I expect innovations to fully utilize mobile functionality we’ve never seen on the desktop,” says Morr. “2018 will continue to see designers develop clever ways to organize information beautifully and intuitively, leading to more sophisticated user experiences, with focuses on micro-interactions and gestures over icons and buttons.

11. Kinetic Emails

“This has been the year that, in the UK at least, people finally moved on from just making their emails mobile-responsive and started looking at what comes next,” says Rob Pellow, head of digital design at Adestra. It’s been the first year, he says, that Adestra has seen regular use of ‘kinetic’ emails: using CSS3 and HTML to create interactivity within an email. This trend stems from the fact that users are so comfortable with the UI language of mobile apps and websites, they’re happy to see it in other places, including email.

12. Ecommerce Boom

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. What next? It’s the trend that’s only going to get bigger and bigger next year as more and more clients explore the possibilities that a strong ecommerce platform offers.

Owner of Dowson Design Co, Christopher Dowson, explains: “We are consumers by nature. We always need more things … and the internet is full of things. Sites like Deliveroo and Just Eat own no restaurants, but can bring almost any food right to our doors. Amazon owns no shops but we can have almost anything delivered next day. We’re only just beginning to see the possibilities of ecommerce now we are moving away from the traditional storefront-on-the-web business model.”

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