In late 2014 we published the Design Trends 2015 infographic, and it received thunderous applause and a standing ovation, even named one of the best infographics of 2015 by Hubspot. For 2016 we continued our research and found our best predictions for 2016 design trends. It’s one of our favorite projects and today we dive a bit deeper into some of those trends.
When used effectively, design can elevate a company’s brand and message; seamlessly reaching and capturing a target audience. As the new year ushers in exciting new design trends, it’s important not to overlook classic traits that have long formed the foundation of successful design.
1. The Rise of Flat + Material Design
In its most basic form, flat design is design stripped down to the bare minimum; its aim is purely functional. Flat design is absent of any characteristics that may give it the illusion of being three-dimensional, relying on icons, color and the composition of text to guide the viewer. This style grew in popularity with the rise of digital media, placing a focus on users’ preference for efficient navigation.
Material design takes flat one step further, playing off the simplicity and minimalism of the design, but adding a layer of depth and movement to the design. Incorporating realistic effects of light and motion on objects, allows the design to indicate moving parts.
2. Background + Full Screen Videos
The addition of video to your website allows you to quickly deliver your message; an increasingly valuable tool as the volume of content the average visitor is inundated with increases. Video is also a great way to engage your audience, visually sharing the ethos of your company and leaving a lasting imprint by showing – not simply telling.
Now that broadband speeds are faster than ever, fullscreen and background video brings even more engagement to your audience. Be careful with this one though, as you have to know your audience to use it properly.
3. Mobile Apps + Social Sites Will Dominate
As the use of mobile devices expands by both reach and usage around the world, designers are faced with the challenge of designing mobile friendly interfaces that are easy to interact with across your smart phone, smart watch and even smart TV device (e.g. Apple TV).
This trend isn’t slowing down any time soon. Facebook already gets the majority of it’s traffic from mobile. You no longer have a choice on whether you’re going responsive or not – you have to – and the speed is accelerating.
4. Responsive Design With Better Performance
Responsive design allows for the size and layout of a site’s content to shift as the size of the screen changes; the new normal as users actively rotate between devices. Responsive design not only supports the new standard in multi-device users, but simplifies the updating process for developers who can make changes in one pass. A great source pointing to essential responsive web design traits for 2016 can be found on Tim Brown‘s blog post, 5 Important Trends in Responsive Design.
Don’t design for mobile separately from desktop. Think mobile first, and create a unified experience that’s adaptable to all platforms.
5. Correct Typography: Fit The Theme
Typography, argued by some to be the foundation of web design, is an art-form that has expanded as of late, leaving designers with more choices than ever to communicate their message. Aside from carrying your brand throughout the page, typography is responsible for guiding visitors through content.
You can make or break a site with typography. Match your audience and their expectations. Be different, but follow design principles.
6. Increased Minimalism: Stripping It Back
User experience has become a leading force in design. Hand-in-hand with Flat Design, designers are flocking towards minimalism to provide users with functionality and refocusing back on the content itself.
As the web matures, so does web design that is now embracing traditional principles that were forgotten for awhile by some of us who got distracted by parallax design and sliders.
7. Storytelling: Designing Personality
Audiences have become increasingly overwhelmed by the volume of content they come in contact with through an ever growing list of sources. This deluge of information makes it imperative for designers to ensure their message sticks. The best way to resonate with one’s audience isn’t through words, but through capturing the imagination of your visitors-pulling them in and sharing the narrative of your brand.
8. Card Based Interface Design
Design is experiencing a shift away from pages in separate categories and disconnected silos, and towards content that is broken up into individual components that are more intuitive. These individual components are then rearranged to create a single, cohesive experience.
Card based design aims to give you more of what you need up front. It lets the user elegantly decide what’s the most important to them without the designer choosing for them. We hope to see more of this.
More Design Trends 2016 Predictions
- Desartlab included a great roundup of 2016 web design trends, including micro-interactions and UI patterns as trending or here to stay for 2016.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, see our full Design Trends 2016 infographic here.