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With 2014 upon us, now is a good time to be looking towards the future of web design and how things are going to develop over the next 12 months.
In 2013, flat design became extremely popular in the design community, and is set to continue growing throughout next year. Embraced by large and influential names such as Google, Microsoft, eBay and Apple, to name but a few, the art of flat design is simply put, to…well, simplify!
Coupling plenty of open space and crisp edges with bright colours and two-dimensional or flat elements, flat design is a minimalistic design approach, which aims to give a clean look, making everything super-simple in order to increase usability for the end user.
Flat design isn’t just restricted to the web either, with many long-standing logos, from companies such as eBay, Yahoo!, Microsoft Windows and Facebook favouring flat, minimalist redesigns throughout 2013.
I’ve always been a big fan of a ‘less is more’ approach to design. Eliminating any needless elements not only gives a cleaner, crisper look, but also reduces any confusion for the site visitor, generally making things easier to find and use, which will hopefully lead to users being more engaged with your content. I for one am excited to see this trend develop over the next year as more designers get on board with this stripped back approach to design.
Following on from flat design, another design trend looking to gain prevalence in 2014 is the use of super saturated colours.
Arguably made popular by the love it or hate it redesign of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS7, the use of bright, almost neon colours from the very top end of the RGB spectrum can create some really eye catching designs.
When coupled with flat design, and used in moderation, super saturated colours could be an interesting way to add a bit of colour to a design, and I’m looking forward to hopefully get an opportunity to use them in one of my designs next year.
Another factor of flat design, this trend I’m particularly pleased to see growing in popularity; a renewed focus on typography.
A frequent proponent of the phrase ‘content is king’, seeing a website with lots of nicely set typographical elements and minimal images makes me very happy. Through the use of high quality fonts, plenty of white space to give the content room to breathe, and a sparing use of imagery, both web and print projects can become instantly more engaging.
In almost complete opposition to a focus on typography, the use of full screen photos and videos looks set to grow in popularity over the next 12 months. This can be a great way to instantly capture a visitor’s attention, getting your message across in a matter of seconds.
The use of appropriate, top quality images can really add another dimension to a website, and using them in such an overt way can create some truly captivating designs.
With the increase in support for web style sheet language CSS3, comes further opportunities and the capability to utilise animation in web designs. No longer reliant on web technologies such as Flash, subtle animations can be used to emphasise elements of a design, whilst more elaborate use of animation can create some wonderfully intricate design and development showcases, and is becoming more frequently used to create more interactive, engaging websites.
Yes, this is cheating a bit, as mobile and responsive design has been around for a while now and is currently much more than a trend, but I feel that it still needs a mention here. As more and more people use mobile devices such as phones and tablets to browse the Internet, designing for any and every screen size has never been more important. Throw in different screen resolutions (Apple’s Retina display for example) and you’ve got potentially hundreds of different screen sizes and display qualities to consider when designing and developing any new website.
Here at Statement we believe that supporting as many screens as possible is important, which is why we design and develop all sites responsively from the get-go as standard.
Looking back on this list, it’s interesting to try and guess what design trends we’ll be talking about at this time next year, and to wonder whether the ones listed above will still be around then too. During the next year, I’m hoping to use all of the above at some point (again in some cases), and even more excitingly, remix or completely break the trends and do something a little different.
So here’s to a design filled 2014, may yours be full of clean lines, sensible typography and exquisite animations.