December 9, 2014 6 replies
The world of web/graphic design has seen huge growth over the past few years, with VC’s employing full-time design partners to many apps and startups focusing on design first.
some trends sticking around while other fading away quicker than they are coded.
We wanted to learn what design trends we will see more off during 2015, so we reached out to some of the most respected designers out there to ask what design trends they expect will continue to gain traction during 2015.
Popular design trends below include typography, responsive design, material design and a focus on speed and users. Let us know what design trends you think we’ll see more of during 2015 in the comments below.
A special thanks to our friends at CloudCannon, who offer static sites clients can edit, for sponsoring this group interview.
1. Material Design
Material design was released by Google back in June. Some websites have started to implement its material design principles on the web and mobile sites, particularly Google, and seems to be growing quite rapidly.
2. Full Width Video Backgrounds
Full width videos at the top of websites give a clear message about what the site has to offer. Most popular with portfolios and startups, they tend to have bold typography and parallax scrolling.
3. Card Design
This has been around for some time but it is often used in a lot of google products. The cards UI seems to have been popular in 2014 and seems to be growing on a number of sites with its clean and minimal look.
The powers are great. The advantages are many. The browser support is good. The time is now.
The evangelism for fast websites has been good. Our tolerance for slow sites is lessening.
We’re starting to see at lot more interaction design on the web. Small bits of transitions and animations for pretty much any action we take. It’s effective if not it’s not overdone.
1. Resolution Independence & Minimal Raster Graphics
Page speed & performance in general are key to any web project. The more graphics we can build with SVG or squish using optimization tools like Image Alpha, the quicker lighter our pages will be.
For example, we chose the 2-color look for the content illustrations on a recent The Many Faces Of post because we knew it’d result in faster load times.
2. Systems, Not Pages
Dave Rupert has a great post about Responsive Deliverables that has paved the way for the types of projects we’ve been doing recently. Our clients need systems of reusable components that make up pages. Fixating on pages in a multi-device world can be absolutely maddening.
3. Code Prototypes, Not JPGs
The best way to evaluate a website is in a web browser. Prototypes save time long-term, and prevent meetings from devolving into discussions about how a layout could change or how an interaction might feel.
With prototypes, collaborators can see those layout changes and assess how an interaction feels realtime.
1. The gap between the code and the design is going to be thinner
It all started with frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap, but things are rapidly advancing. We have developed highly sophisticated tools that allow us to “design” stuff and export clean and organised code without any struggle.
It is still a challenge to use these tools on a more complex projects, but they will certainly grow more next year.
2. Interaction and Design
Dynamic user interaction and the design are now separate processes. Designers are creating static pages and adding interaction using additional tools like Pixate, Marvel or Framerjs.
Designers are using more and more interactions,so tools will have to follow the trend as well. I believe that we are going to see tools that unite static and the dynamic elements of the design in one place.
3. Not enough great Designers
High quality talent pool in US and EU is very limited. We are very close to the point when it is very hard to find and engage talented/experienced designer. As design standards are growing rapidly, we should expect even greater demand for great designers.
So, as long as designers are working hard to be the best and assure their visibility on the market, they should not worry about getting their dream job.
1. Modular Design
There are a few major design trends we’re excited about in the next year. We are looking at more modular design for content like infographics, wherein sections can be viewed individually or as part of the larger whole.
This provides more flexibility to extract portions for sharing on social, helping to extend the content’s reach.
As interactivity becomes more prevalent, destination storytelling will also become more common. Whether through a microsite or landing page, isolating the storytelling experience helps viewers immerse themselves more and engage with only the content at hand.
3. Divisible Content
We will also see brands designing more Divisible Content, repurposing existing content in various formats. A single quote may be extracted from a white paper and designed for Instagram. An e-book chapter may become an infographic.
It’s flexible visual storytelling that extends the shelf-life of everything you create.
Bigger, bolder, more proficient, better differentiated typography I hope. Web typography has come on in leaps and bounds over the past 5 years, as designers have been able to use more fonts and learn how to use them better.
However homogeneity and conservatism in use of type is rife. This needs to change in order for websites and brands to stand out. Be bolder with your type choices – still be legible – but be different.
2. Improvements – By All
Information-based sites including public bodies such as a local councils and district boroughs will become better. The Government Digital Service in the UK has done wonderful things in terms of ease of use and a digital-first mentality. Expect the rest of the world to follow the patterns it is setting.
The commoditisation of design will continue unabated, as more rivals to Shopify and SquareSpace enter the market.
This is great for very small businesses looking for a neat, cheap web presence, but harmful to the design profession and our potential clients as a whole, as it removes the whole design process and replaces it with a one-size-fits-all, design is skin deep, approach.
This is despite the rise of the designer as a boardroom presence.
Animation already plays a large role in software design, and I think the trend will continue and grow as better, more creative tools are developed, and as animation abilities extend on the web, iOS, Android and other platforms.
2. Material Design
Google’s Material Design celebrates a clean, modern look, but it also includes a lot of depth. That’s a good thing. Good use of shadows can help describe an interface, and I think we’ll see more use of shadows in 2015.
GPU fragment shaders will play an increasing role, too. It’s now possible to use blending modes, blur, colour processing and other GPU shader-based effects in realtime on many platforms. This will likely extend to realistic realtime lighting effects over time.
The Internet is interactive and incorporating interactivity into website products is a critical trend. Having the user be more involved in the actual experience really enhances the emotional involvement.
Our analysis shows there is a direct correlation between increased levels of participation and user engagement. It’s not only enjoyable but more memorable, and has a direct impact on the amount of time visitors spend browsing a website.
2. Story telling
Story telling is another trend that seems to be on the rise and it’s a terrific way for potential customers to connect with a brand. It provides insight and perspective that consumers relate to.
Many businesses suffer in the ability to truly connect with customers and story telling is a simple and straightforward solution to this concern.
3. Custom videos
We also expect to see a greater use of custom videos to communicate directly with customers on topics ranging from value proposition to social cause marketing.
Many of our clients are already investing in creating videos to help market the brand. The blend of video and audio is a recipe for irresistible content. It’s no wonder Americans are increasing how much time they spend watching online videos.
Undoubtedly industry leaders will waste no time establishing a dominant position in the customer’s mind. Combining the three trends above is not only a great strategy for a website, but also an obvious blueprint for a powerful online marketing tool.
1. Clean & Light Design
With moves by both Apple and Google on their mobile devices to a lighter, cleaner look, websites are starting to move this direction as well, and I like this trend.
The web is maturing, so it makes sense to move away from heavilly gilded faux gradations and shadows to a clean, light designs and user interfaces.
2. Friendly, Human Language
I see websites using friendlier, more human language with web content, and especially dialogs. I strongly believe language and text are part of the design.
Web users are comfortable with the medium so that sites can speak to us with a human voice in the ways we talk. Well, except for terms of service and other lawyerly stuff.
3. Responsive Sites & Blurred App/Web Integration
Momentum is shifting to mobile devices more every day. We love our apps, so sites are offering responsive versions of their sites designed to work on phones and tablets.
More apps are being tied to backend web services as well, so there is a blurring happening – where does the app end and the web start?
1. Material design language
We’ll see design inspired from Google’s Material design language. Not just flat for the sake of being flat; a design based on classic principles and digital design patterns.
It’s a richer approach to flat interfaces using touches from the physical world and leaving it open to what’s possible with digital interfaces.
Designers will build more layered interfaces and utilize animation as affordance. Purposeful movement, flexible design components, and a graphical, user action-based approach to design.
2. Responsive Typography
Content scaled for a better reading experience. Today we find ourselves dealing with an ever-expanding list of devices and display resolutions. Using responsive relative scale designers can adjust type proportions appropriately for the device or resolution.
Designers will also consider the user’s reading distance (from the screen), so that font sizes are “perspectively proportional” to reading a printed piece.
We’ll continue to see more depth in designs, using fullscreen background imagery, blurs, overlays, gradients and movement. Designers are getting bolder with their layering of imagery and graphics that take nods from the rich graphic design found in print publications.
We’ll see more of this approach in Websites and Web apps as designers push the latest devices and browsers, and gracefully degrade for older ones.
1. Transitions & Animations
For 2015 I except to see more and more sites and applications (native, mobile or web) that will use beautiful transitions and animation to enhance user experience.
With the growing support of CSS3, we can now do amazing stuff in the browser. Android is showing the path with the new “material design” and iOS already takes great care of the UI animations.
2. SVG Graphics
The other big trend I see more and more is the use of SVG graphics. This vector format works pretty well on most browsers now and solved one of the mobile problem: retina.
With SVG all your assets are crisp whatever screen resolution you are on. SVG format has other nice things among which the ability to embed media-queries to create for example responsive logos that would nicely adapt to screen size and also the ability to be animated as well.
3. Mobile Optimization
I hope the last trend will be mobile optimization with a better understanding of user needs and performances. Responsive Webdesign detractors say that it’s bad for performances, but that’s mostly the case when it’s poorly done, when people try to make a 1900px 10MB site fit into a 320 mobile phone.
I see more and more articles and talk trying to make performance a “must have” for sites, so I really hope to see more mobile optimized sites loading fast in 2015
A second permanent connection from browser to web server making it possible for a ‘true’ application architecture. A useful addition to conventional transient http connections, AJAX and long polling. Data can now be ‘pushed’ from server to browser. B
This split architecture paradigm adds true ‘state’ to web applications which is ideal for collaborative working, shared data models, live push message updating everything you’d expect from a true native application but hosted in a browser.
The end result; a live, real-time updating, incredibly smooth user experience without the sense of round trip or page movement delay.
2. A Website Resize is a mobile app
A web application with split browser UX / Server native code removes the need for andriod / iOS apps. No more duplication of coding effort. One source for all devices.
Your mobile solution is a simple resize of your website. No more installations, no more updating apps! We’ve coupled responsive design with a split UX/server application architecture.
3. Collaborative Remote Working in Browser
Working with colleagues remotely using a true collaborative, multiuser browser web applications. Working the same data without collision using live, real-time multiuser controls and forms.
Watch colleagues live changes ‘as they type’. Interactive live using webRTC for in-browser VoIP. Interact live via private social media. Interact live using private instant messaging. A convergence of separate technologies into a single web application solution.
1. Design As One
For years design on the web was discussed only on a visual level. Fortunately this has come to an end. The term design is finally widely seen as a combination of various aspects that must fit together.
Buzzwords like content-first, mobile-first, offline-first, etc. belong to a greater knowledge we start to collect as a community about what good design for the web really is.
3. Lessons learned together
In my opinion visual trends don’t play a big role anymore — they come and go. But what is going to last are the next lessons we are going to learn together.
It’s very hard to predict those as they are closely connected to the evolution of the web and the mobile world in general.
1. Minimalistic Design
I think we are going to see a lot less clutter in 2015. Websites will make use of negative space, strong typography and striking images.
Flat design, which has been the rage of 2014 will be enhanced by Google’s Material Design specs, which places more structure and coherence on the process. With this, websites will start highlighting important content and directing traffic through their sales funnel.
2. Hero Images
Animated sliders don’t work, they slow down a website and confuse the user. Stats have shown that they generate very low click through rates.
Where large background images above the fold can create equal visual impact, set the tone for your site and put a focus on your sites main product, service or goal.
Subtle animation can have a big impact on the user experience. Whether it’s a button that grows or wiggles when you hover over it or an image that moves into place as you scroll down the page, these draw the users eye without being overpowering. This is a great way to highlight calls-to-actions on your site.
1. Vector Images
As the pixel density of screens increases (Apple just released a retina iMac), image scalability is becoming a major issue. Large bitmap files are harder to optimize and SVG files are becoming more attractive from both a scalability and file size standpoint.
2. Design Standards
Who would have ever thought that Google would be at the forefront of design? With their Material Design standards released this year, I foresee companies putting a greater emphasis on design standards and consistency.
With the increasing proliferation of devices and screen sizes, the designer/developer relationship is becoming blurred. Prototyping designs in the browser is becoming necessary and I am already seeing less dependability on programs likes Photoshop as a web design tool.
2015 will be a consolidation of what already started this last few months, I don’t think we will see anything terribly new.
Simple, flat, colorful design, with hopefully more (and better) support for SVG.
“Mobile first” is already old news, we’ll have more devices, more screen resolutions and very different UXs. I’m not convinced that responsive design is the panacea. Wearables, TVs, smartphones, tablets and finally desktops, very hard to support everything with just one codebase.
We will probably see more tools (both for designer and for coder) to help release applications on multiple platforms and resolutions, because it is becoming exponentially more difficult to handle everything on the text editor.
I think designers will move away from a flat UI obsession and begin to reincorporate skeuomorphism for interactive elements. The all-flat aesthetic — a reactionary swing away from web 2.0’s bubble gradients and drop shadows is often stark, unintuitive for users and sin of all design sins, boring.
Unless it’s married in the right way to transparency. Although transparency guzzles memory like a cyber hummer. Which is why OSX Yosemite with wall-to-wall transparency, is causing the first real iMac freezes since 1999. Of course, the ability to see a blurry wallpaper of Jude Law as Watson through my FTP app does take a girl’s UX to a whole new level.
2. More Standard Elements
As mobile usage continues to grow and as css transitions/animations are more and more standard for browsers, I expect we’ll see less conventional navigation components in designs and we’ll see more standard elements hidden in drawers and hovers.
3. Hand-drawn Elements
More a preference than a forecast, I would love to see the resurrection of illustration and hand-drawn elements that has ignited branding design move into web design as well.
That kind of spectacular typography and organic details used in subtle, intentional ways would be very exciting for the web.
1. Flat Design
It will continue in 2015 as well. However, template looking flat designs will be replaced by more customized and personalized flat designs.
We will see more original custom web fonts in 2015 as majority of designers were already using fonts like Proxima Nova, Open Sans, Source Sans, Futura but now the cost of web fonts has decreased and became more available, we will see different web fonts being used in UI along with font pairing.
3. Scrolling over Clicking
This was really popular in 2014 and we don’t think it’s going to change because scrolling allows designers to place and present great amount of content for users. However, we believe design of content will be more simplified in 2015 and will be more as user focused.
1. Focus on site performance & users
I expect and hope to continue to see more designers and developers collaboratively talking about site performance and how being judicious about the inclusions of assets (videos, images, web fonts, etc.) can positively effect the experience for users.
For example, I recently worked on a mobile e-commerce experience and by being cognizant of page load times, we were able to see a 22% increase in conversion. Less can be more.
Continued experimentation with motion in web UI is a trend that will continue. Just because Flash died, it doesn’t mean the idea of websites including design-through-time died with it. As Google’s material design mantra suggests, motion can provide meaning.
Responsive typography will start to become the norm. Being aware of the varying reading distances and viewport sizes content might be employed on means that one type scale won’t necessarily work for all experiences.
Designers need to be aware that their text-on-screen might be consumed at arms length or at room length. More care and time will be put into ensuring reading on-screen is always painless.
Keep an eye on those type foundries that are putting the additional time and consideration into creating typefaces that are screen-ready.
The biggest trend we’ve seen grow over the past year is a focus on continuous scrolling websites; however we believe these aren’t for everyone and are just the start of what’s to come.
We expect that trends will become more refined around the value that continuous scrolling and parallax websites actually offer. Over the next 12 months web design trends will evolve from this to focus on responsive web design, incorporating video and establishing emotional connections through storytelling.
Responsive web design
It is common knowledge that mobile device use has increase over the last 1-2 years, and the majority of new websites that we build have mobile friendly design as a core requirement.
Responsive websites over mobile websites are gaining significant ground in popularity and we now consider them as best practice for all of our websites. As web design companies becoming more experienced with mobile first approaches to design, we are starting to see some really exciting concepts in the industry.
Responsive web design will continue to evolve and will be much more than a solution to the problem of mobile optimisation over the next 12 months.
A focus on video
The use of video and YouTube is becoming much more mainstream in marketing strategies, particularly within social media campaigns. The engagement that is offered by the use of video as not only website content, but as a design element is really valuable.
We’ve seen a lot of HTML5 being used in design elements of websites, particularly with continuous scrolling websites. Not only does HTML5 allow things like video to load and display easily on mobiles, but videos allow brands to incorporate storytelling and interactivity into their website design.
Interactive story telling
There has been a lot of debate that digital marketing strategy and websites in particular need to refocus on the art of storytelling for brands.
Continuous scrolling and parallax websites lend themselves well to this, but we believe that is only the start of how websites will be able to articulate a story through their design. Interactivity and an immersive design that is able to elicit an emotional reaction from the visitor will be a major driver of web design trends in the next 12 months.
1. Hand lettering
Hand lettering has been slowly getting bigger and bigger and we’re going to see a ton of websites either using custom hand typography or a font that mimics it. Really great way to get a custom, hand-done feel to a website.
2. Big Images
Big images are here to stay, but now they’re getting color overlays — good example I saw today: https://mirrorx.com/ The overlays help them match with the color scheme of the website as well as making sure elements on top pop and don’t get overwhelmed by the photo background.
3. Web Fronts
Web fonts (with the popularity of Google Fonts, Typekit, and others) are replacing the usual Georgia/Verdana/Arial/etc. web font landscape. Not a moment too soon, too. Websites are finally getting better and more beautiful type.
Responsive will continue to be a necessity for any website. We’ll see a continuation in the move from standard breakpoints to more fluid designs.
I think the real change will be a move away from the standard ‘large image banners, 3 modules’ layout that has become some prevalent.
As CSS theme-packaged templates become more advanced in terms of functionality offered, and variety of designs, larger companies will want to push beyond familiar layouts, and we’ll see more bespoke and tailored work.
Personally I’m hoping to see the back of incredibly long pages too – I’d prefer to see more of an ‘interface’ approach, or innovative use of navigation and tiling.
There’s on ongoing trend for flat-design. I think we’ll see more brands opting for single colour executions of their logos.
On the web, this minimalist movement will mean simple bold type and large cinematic imagery – a kind of ‘print’ approach to web design. We’ll see more linear shapes and key lines, simple navigation bars and more ‘ghost buttons’.
The last few years has seen a complete abandonment of skeuomorphism, in favour of solid block colour. I think soon enough we’ll see a few more patterns being introduced. Think more ‘geometric’, rather than complex textures, that will compliment minimalist design.
1. Code Automation
It might not be a popular sentiment with development purists, but automating coding is happening. Tools like Macaw that encourage you to “draw code” instead of writing it make HTML and CSS available to a much broader audience.
Macaw has made more strides in the automation of coding in the last 12 months than the entire industry did in the past ten years — and I’m all for anything that gets more designers out of Photoshop and into the code.
2. User Experience
We’re seeing a real uptick in awareness of user experience. For instance, I think we’re witnessing the fall of the carousel. This year was the first time non-technical clients were saying things like, “We could do a slider as a catch-all, but those are bad, right?” Hallelujah.
3. Personalized Sharing
Social sharing is changing, and the way the experience is designed and executed is too. Instead of a Tweet This Article button, we’re seeing two or three takes on a piece of content that you can click to share. It’s a more personalized sharing that makes the share feel more genuine instead of just the Article Title – URL scheme.
1. Mobile optimised email marketing
We have seen fantastic results for our clients when adopting Email Marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy, often out-performing any other form of marketing.
With the constantly growing need for mobile adoption in all areas of a businesses digital presence, I see Email Marketing as an area for further mobile expansion. Currently there are a number of email senders (e.g. Campaign Monitor) that cater for mobile optimised emails, specifically with some fantastic testing tools to ensure emails are tested across a huge range of email clients.
However, as with all email design, the main constraint is on the capabilities of the email clients themselves (e.g. Gmail, Outlook) and whether they process the @media query correctly. Many do, but there’s a way to go before all tow the line by default. Let’s hope 2015 is this year for change.
2. Personalised UX
Services such as Siri, Ok Google and Google Now have changed how people think about interacting with technology. Most websites however haven’t rethought the way they deliver content to users.
Increasingly, user experience is becoming more than just ease of navigation, strong calls to action and accessibility. With advances in Google’s Knowledge Graph increasingly pulling through information directly to search results, it is going to become exponentially hard for many businesses to acquire users organically through traditional means.
It is therefore imperative that websites can match or surpass Google for a tailored user experience, allowing people to instantly access the content they need, or may want to see.
Leveraging cookie and user account information as a basis for personalised navigation, the way leading eCommerce and social media sites already do, will allow many websites to take the next step in achieving a sleek & modern user experience, while the search driven websites that have seen success within the travel industry may start to see success further afield.
3. Mobile focussed eCommerce websites
Mobile optimised websites have boomed over the last few years and this has been driven by the expansion of the smart phone market and the technical capabilities brought with it.
The web industry has adapted quickly and responded fantastically but many eCommerce websites are still lagging behind. This is due to the complexity and size of these sites, along with elaborate payment and security requirements.
For a while users have been content with browsing products on their mobile devices and then migrating to a larger device to carry out the more complex process of payment but the consumer market demands that eCommerce websites catch up as figures are suggesting mobile purchases are drastically increasing.
There has been an emergence of mobile optimised payment workflows that can be integrated into websites to allow for easy purchasing so this is a start, but 2015 is the year for agencies, and eCommerce system designers, to wake up and listen to consumers. Let’s hope they do.
1. Design for mobile first (Death of the website – Part I)
Given the eclipsing usage of connected mobile devices, everything will go mobile first. And I’m not just talking about responsive design. I’m talking about the death of the website as we knew it.
Gone will be UI optimized for clicking, top bar navigation, site maps, and the like. Increasingly, we see sites that we visit on the desktop web looking like mobile sites – with hamburger menus, infinite scrolling, simplicity and feature focus.
2. The appification of the web (Death of the website – Part II)
The growth of modern MVC frameworks (e.g. Ember.js) have enabled developers to create single page applications in the browser formerly only possible in a native or desktop client. That combined with the growth of SAAS products means that websites that go beyond marketing, function and feel like desktop software.
As these frameworks continue to grow and mature, we’ll see a larger percentage of the web “appified.”
3. Movement in “flat” design
Flat design is growing up. Increasingly, designers are adding depth to the minimalist aesthetic and relying increasingly on movement to convey emotion, direction, and clarity.
Whether it’s Google’s Material Design movement or the increasing use of GIFs or micro-animations, “flat” is not so flat anymore.
My predictions for typographic 2015:
1. Hand Lettering
The rise of the script, both with hand lettering and typefaces, will continue. They fell out of favour for several decades after their ubiquitous use in the 1950s and seem to be back with a vengeance.
We have the curly, the structured, the slanted, the geometric, the swoopy, and all of them will find a purpose or a place — some more successful than others, of course.
2. Craft Movement
The ‘crafty’ movement is certainly expanding in both size and scope, so it seems likely that this will also apply for hand-generated letterforms.
Those that have mastered it will be inundated with requests from calligraphy to sign painting, but be warned! They’re notoriously tricky to do well so you’ll see many poorly executed examples used in general graphic design applications.
I believe that the rustic look, as in less-refined and more alluding to either the creator or the tool, will also grow. With every move forward in technology, there is always a strong swing back of the pendulum towards retro.
I’m not predicting a return to the grunge of the early 90s, but rather a move away from the perfect renderings and towards the more humanist look.
The great thing about typography is that there are thousands of approaches to the thousands of situations that need it. I’m sure that 2015 will bring even more new situations where we encounter the letterform.
I find it more difficult to imagine future trends than to identify current ones, but for 2015 I consider that at least 3 trends from the ones that have gained more and more success and popularity in 2014 (and in the past years) will continue to find adepts.
1. Flat Design
First of them and perhaps the most popular is the flat design style. Embraced by big and popular brands like Apple, Microsoft, Google, both for their main identities but especially for their products, it will be more and more visible in the next year and perhaps years.
Viewed and considered as a proof of success this style is already more often mentioned in various projects briefs and specifications. So I think we are going to see even more famous brands translating their logos into flat style and also start-ups and various level business adopting this visual line.
2. Geometric Approach
The second one that I expect to see in the near future of 2015 is the geometric approach: symmetric constructions, pattern based icons and symbols, rigorously measured and constructed marks.
I am not sure if this can be considered a trend since the geometric construction approach feels like a logical and expected one, but with this transition and visual translation to the flat style I feel that rigid geometry will be more and more involved.
3. Low Poly Style
Talking about geometry I would name the third trend that I expect to see more and more: the low poly style. I think that 2014 was a prolific year for this visual style with many original visual interpretations and implementations of it, but I expect to see even more projects designed using this technique.
To conclude I would like to say that I imagine these 3 trends to be more and more visible in the near future not only in the logo design field, but also on the online, mobile and digital mediums, part of the extended implemented identity designs or approached as stand alone styles.
1. Material Design
First, naturally, the over-referenced Flat Design. But I hope we start calling it something else because a few codified versions of it have started exposing it for what it is.
Even if you are not working in mobile app development, everyone should check out what Google is doing in it’s Material Design standards. Aside from allowing all sorts of neat control to the designer, it also is embracing the materials in which digital devices are built.
That was always the problem with skeuomorphism; that it was not following the principles of Good Design (in the 1950 MoMA manner) by embracing, contexualizing and building on the forms and materials we have, but pretending they are something else.
Now, we’re using pixels for what they are, building layers of interaction and meaning that reflect the way the browser or OS builds the site or application, and building for the way people interact with digital devices instead of emulating machine-era controls for faux familiarity.
2. Design First
There are some trends I have seen talked about regarding more in-house design and UX, and that converting to design thinking, but I detect an even more interesting trend sneaking in from the sidelines: Design first.
I work many projects where we first get together with the client and design the solution. Sure, it’s the right way, but some of these are revisions to projects where just a year before they gave it to the engineers to build first, and asked for a pretty skin.
The value of design is starting to get to the point even these organizations are starting with design. I have even encountered startups that are design first, founded by designers, and design principles.
LittleHoots is just one that is local to me—and where I heard the story recently. Despite being an otherwise traditional-looking, pitches and crowdsourcing digital startup they had to hire the developer as the whole founder team is design centric.
Related to this for those who cannot afford their own designers, or who continue to not value the contribution of design per se will be the IKEAization of many digital properties by using the built-in solutions, or easy-to-access libraries of icons and widgets that now exist.
I have, recently, hired visual designers who used icon libraries instead of drawing their own and I am not sure what I think of that yet. Designers will have to decide if and how we wish to fight for what is unique about being designers.
I see some patterns that I think will grow in the upcoming years:
1. Light, thin, hollow design
This trend maybe started when apple introducing the updates to its iOS where it uses flat, thin & hollow pattern in most of their interface. This pattern then emerged to web and inevitably graphic design.
I’m talking about the pattern where it uses thin lines as the basic form. It happens in illustrations, iconography as well as the web & of course mobile apps. I think this pattern will still be popular in 2015.
2. Minimal & flatty design
We’ve seen lot of major brands change to be more minimal or flat design. This trend I think will still continue in 2015. We might see more brands come in simpler form and minimal looks to align their brand to the current trends.
The use of mono colour, mute colour, uneven layout, and the film’ish photography also will still be here.
3. Mix art
What I mean by mix art is the combination between physical objects and illustrations/ visual graphics to form an appealing art. I don’t know if the term is correct but we can see this trend in many paper art/ illustrations that look like 3D renders.
Many illustrators also try to combine photo’s with their illustrations. This kind of trend has really catched my attention and I believe there will be more in 2015.
1. Greater use of animation
The old school Flash intro has died a death but is being resurrected in the form of HTML5 animated movies. Gone are the days where designers created pointless animations of a logo in order to impress their clients. However, I think intelligent use of animation to tell a story has a big role to play over the coming year.
I’ve seen some great examples recently of well scripted, thoughtful animations which have a real purpose. When done well, animation can truly enhance a website and convey a message in more effective way than standard scrolling banners or static images.
We will see greater adoption of SVG animations which are vector based so load quickly and do not pixelate on high resolution screens. At SOZO we are embracing this technology and using it a lot in our newer websites.
2. A growing divide between templated and bespoke websites
The DIY website builders and web design template world has continued to grow and improve. For some clients with a small budget these can be a good start to online marketing at a very low cost.
DIY web builders will inevitably always have considerable limitations. Clients are beginning to realise that to create a truly outstanding website which doesn’t look like everyone else’s, they need to go down the bespoke route.
I think in 2015 both the DIY and bespoke approach to web design will continue to grow but the bespoke design agencies will move further away from the templated ones in order to differentiate themselves further.
3. Better ways of showing products on ecommerce sites
For the past decade most ecommerce sites have relied on a few still images alongside a product description in small text. Even the likes of Amazon have not evolved from this standard convention.
This is a far cry from the experience of actually seeing a product in a physical shop. There are much more interesting and interactive ways of showing products online.
Videos, 360 degree photos and animations all help to better inform the customer. However, next year may see the advent of 3D rendered interactive images which allow the user to see inside a product and view it in much greater detail than a standard 2D photo.
This approach uses technology typically used in hollywood animated movies but will soon be feasible for the web.
1. Large, full backgrounds and videos
2014 started to see the trend in large images, but more so video backgrounds. This is only going to continue.
Background video can help engage a user more, showcasing your projects, products, or services and to show off your company’s culture. It also helps make your website feel alive.
2. Card Design/Layouts
Whilst not a new trend, it has proven to be a great method for responsive sites. It keeps the content modular, in columns, without making teh layout look clumsy. Its a great method for tour sites for example. Clean and simple method for delivering lots of content.
3. Death of ‘above the fold’
This is one area that does annoy me as a designer. There is no fold in web design. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, users prefer to scroll down a page than rather click page after page. People like to scroll.
How you position your content is important but displaying that content is a logical and story like manner, whilst the user scrolls down the page, is the direction the web is heading.
1. Material design
Google’s new design language is a natural evolution of Apple’s flat design. Apple overshot the goal of a minimalistic appearance and removed almost any hints to actionable elements.
Google however goes with the idea of a very reduced design but still leaves some visual hints (like shadow) to help create a natural stack of elements and actions.
Their style guide makes it super easy for designers to adopt. I created a less css mixin to easily apply drop shadows to elements according to Google’s Material Design language.
2. Enhanced interaction design
Changing the state (adding an entry to a list, jumping to a certain point in a text) of an element should not be something that happens instantly. A smooth transition from one state to another is a good way to show a user what happened.
This is even more important when the action has not been triggered by the user himself but e.g. by other users in a collaborative app or a system event.
The foundations are already there (CSS Transitions, JS animation libraries, etc.) and browser support is growing with unsupported browsers dying.
What is currently missing are tools to help designers implement these transitions. I expect to see more libraries and tools in 2015 and thus more implementations.
3. Cards, cards, cards
Cards are small contained pieces of information, visually delimited by their card like appearance: A border around or a drop shadow, often with a white background on a grayish site background. They hit right in the spot of users wanting small information bites before digging through the real – possibly lengthly – content.
I understand them as an entry point. After a click/touch the user gets more information about the displayed content.
Twitter uses them, Google (Google now), Facebook – just to name some. What makes them so great for designers is that they are universally applicable: On mobile show one column with separate cards under each other, show multiple columns on desktop.
They minify general design problems into smaller easy to handle pieces. Definitely a trend for 2015!
Websites are slowly losing relevance thanks to mobile / desktop application dominance. It’s hard to accurately predict where ‘the web’ will go because it’s such a relentlessly volatile beast. Responsive Websites are clunky.
Apps allow a lot more design freedom in my opinion, and allow you to narrow down the chunkiness. ‘Responsive’ is an umbrella term for making the web Mobile Device Ready.
Debates about how to implement changes to your site that comply with arbitrary ‘standards’ seem so pointless to me, and they rage on via blog comments daily.
I’ve never been one for following standards set by self appointed people – we all have our own goals and methods of achieving them which is far more important than ideas laid out in any random conference talk.
2. Google’s ‘Material Design
After the ugly turnout of iOS7, iOS8 and now Yosemite, Apple have lost a lot of credibility amongst designers that previously looked to them for inspiration.
For years, it seemed as though apple dominated the UI style trends of the design community. For the first time in a long time we saw huge visual design flaws and even janky UX issues on the worlds favourite OS.
Because of this, the flow of design ‘trends’ has been largely going through an unusual stage right now. I think we are likely to see even more imitation of Google’s ‘Material Design’ fill the void, since the majority of the design community likes to follow and currently, this is the most talked about style.
3. New Systems
‘Coding’ or rather, hand crafted code is in a slow decline thanks to innovative and more intelligent design tools. Whether we like it or not, web code is becoming less and less hand written.
New tools are cropping up every day that are getting better and better at writing code in real time, in the background of design for the designer. There was a time when I hated these things. But after seeing apps like Macaw, I have been thrown into conflict.
I’ve always been fascinated by the divide of ‘designers and developers’ and I think it’s great that both are being slowly pushed together. There are also a lot of people who are singing the praise of Sketch, though considering the above it seems a lot less likely apps like Sketch have a future.
Code is important, and apps that ignore that are only delaying the inevitable. The tools that do it for us will only get better. Every industry gets replaced by new automated technologies eventually.
Fortunately, an eye for design can not be automated, so we will likely still have jobs 10 years from now. Doomsday aside, it might be It a good thing to have less time arguing over who should be doing what, and more time focusing on designing better user experiences.
1. Design Languages / Guidelines
With their release of Material Design, Google is raising the bar on design across platforms, but they’re also showing that design is more than static visual treatment.
The Material Design guidelines tell a designer how something looks, how it moves, how it should be structured and how common interface elements should work.
These kind of constraints make for more consistent user experiences, but can also free the designer to focus on expressing the brand, through the user experience. I think we will see more and more companies defining complex design and interaction languages.
2. Style Tiles
Style Tiles can be like a light version of design guidelines, and are really the best way to design for the responsive web.
Rather than designing a bunch of individual screens in Photoshop, with Style Tiles, you focus on designing visual style separate from structure and layout. This makes it easier to create wireframes in parallel, and marry the style and structure later.
3. Microinteractions / Widgets
As businesses increasingly see their website as a central touchpoint of their business, more and more functionality is being added to their sites, but its too expensive for everyone to build these features custom.
There are new companies like Sumome and Filament that are offering plug and play tools to help business get more leads, emails, and shares of their content. I think we will be seeing more people utilizing these kinds of services on their websites.
Firstly I hope to see some skeuomorph design again in the market, I love that style and really miss it.
2. More Pixels
As we know now, we need more pixels. All devices go with retina resolution so I hope in 2015 we have no need for those old devices with poor resolution.
3. Simple Colors
Simple colors must be popular for sure, would be great with some skeuomorph icons.
Aside from Google’s Material Design taking over the web and the over use of Marsala in the coming months. There are a few other things, that I think we all will see more of in 2015.
Ever since the decline of flash we have seen technologies like HTML5 / WebGL bring websites to life with animations.
This can be something as simple as subtle animation on scrollas seen in the iPhone6 page, to something that makes your customer go wow when they fill in the password – as seen on ReadME.io. IMHO we will be seeing a lot more of that in 2015.
As a marketer, I love websites that really enables users to connect with the product or service. If I can enable custom experience to users based on their interests / situations then it’s a big win for me.
As an Android user this article on TheVerge looked pretty cool, that does not mean iOSand Microsoft fan will not like it. Did you notice what they did there? Depending on what mobile device was used, they personalized that experience for that user.
Don’t you hate it when you pick up the phone after you wake up, only to find that websites’s white background is burning your retina. What if you could personalize the experience for the user based on the lighting around them.
You can also look at WebSockets to offer multi-screen experience to engage with users.
3. AI & Non Designers
With the rise of site builders and AI that will design your site for you we can see many more non-designers taking a stab at web design.
Personally I don’t think this will replace designers, but we can see a lot more people who are not that good at coding jumping in and designing websites. How good will these web sites be from a usability point of view, only time can say.
1. Video/Social Interaction
Over the past 12 months, large background imagery has been very popular. Going into 2015 we believe video is going to take over the prime spot. Everybody’s going nuts for movement! And we don’t think it will stop there.
Content plays a massive part in SEO (another hot topic)which is why we’re always on the search for new ways to keep content fresh and updated frequently, without the client having to do it, after all, let’s face it, who has time for that!
While social media feed integration has been around for quite a while, the possibilities for design are now endless with advanced customisation now possible.
So how will video and social media interact? Vine. Vine integration is the perfect answer to bring video into websites, while ensuring the content is always fresh.
2014 was all about parallax. In fact, every second client’s first word has been parallax so far! The explosion of movement and interactivity wowed people and became the most important thing to have on your site. Granted this is fun, but only for a while, since it can also distract the user from the content on the page.
When was the last time you looked at a website with huge amounts of parallax, and actually read anything? Let’s face it, you only looked at the site to scroll through, ooohing and aaahing at the cool stuff on the page. So going forward, subtlety is key.
Content needs to take prime position, while interactivity should be used to support and enhance the key information on the page, not detract from it. Tasteful movement is the way forward.
As an extension to minimalistic, we have also seen a change in typography. Gone is anything even remotely chunky, slim and delicate is the new thing. San serif, light fonts will become even more popular next year.
Didot is no longer the only style to ooze elegance and class. This also extends into logo designs. Keep them simple and timeless. Typographic fonts stand the test of time.
Refresh your branding by updating the collateral that goes with the logo rather than gimmicky symbols sitting beside your logo that add no real value and look dated after 6 months.
1. Water colours
Whether it’s lettering or logo mark design, I have seen a steady number of designers (including myself) experimenting with picking up the paint brush and dipping it in water and ink. I think we’ll see plenty of pale washed out colours with that random organic blotchy aesthetic in 2015.
You probably could have said this for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014. Lettering. Lettering has been on the rise and rise for the best part of a decade now and I still think we may be riding the peak of that obsession.
If we are on the other side of that peak, I still can’t see it backing off anytime soon. So expect in 2015 to see plenty more beautifully hand drawn, unique and wonderful typography pieces. Long live the brush pen.
In particular, brush pen style and hand lettered fonts. I think we’re going to see more and more lettering guys coming out with their signature style fonts complete with all the bells and whistles of ligature options in 2015.
Could this be the death of brush pen lettering?
Users are now used to scrolling more than they click. We think the long-scroll website trend will continue to become more and more popular in 2015, meaning companies will needing to continue simplifying their content—at least on marketing and sales sites. Oh, and don’t forget the parallax (use sparingly, please)!
2. More Video
People may read less, but they’re open to watch more. Video will continue to play a more and more integral part of the online storytelling and brand experience, both as a background element, and as the most prominent piece of content on any site.
The kicker is that the videos need to be both visually stunning, and concise in terms of the content being presented. Don’t skimp on your video production.
3. Interactive Storytelling
People want to be able to “choose their own adventure” when it comes to how their content is presented to them. And obviously the web offers the unique ability for content producers to present data in an interactive and engaging way, so why not take advantage of it?
I’ve noticed an increasing movement away from the ‘dribbblisation’ of design – so I’m hopeful that web design is going to become more contextual and less of a hunt for the love of your peers.
I think we’re going to see more and more use of SVGs, as people are starting to really appreciate what can be achieved.
3. ‘Less is more’
Designers are really starting to realise the profound importance of load speed to their success of their sites, so i think we’re going to see cleverer and more interesting ways of tackling the design vs load speed problem.
1. More Frank. Less Fluff.
The average attention span’s reportedly plunged below 4 seconds. So content strategies will, of necessity, need to continue to focus and simplify. Clear, bold talk that might earn you all of, say, 12 seconds of someone’s time in the over-saturated webscape is what’s required. Design will play a role in driving toward that.
2. Love Of Lo-Fi.
Wearable tech, the Internet of things, and the growing popularity of devices with design or resolution limitations will inspire a “low-fi” movement where minimal design is embraced more readily. Contextual relevance and simple communication will win over high production values and aesthetic overkill.
3. Digital Natives Get Restless.
That generation born into an Internet world is rapidly coming of age, bringing with them a new sensibility unencumbered by old media analogies and trust for big brands.
They’ll expect more digital craft, hold a higher bar for intuitive design, and carry a “mobile first” mentality. They are not only primed for, but anxious to see how design and digital can disrupt, do better, and earn their trust.
1. Snackable Motion.
The world has embraced very short form video and motion graphics, from Vine to Instagram and, of course, GIFs. You’ll continue to see more in editorial and commercial campaigns, whether quick hit Harry Potter newspaper style or HTML5 video.
2. SVG Expansion.
The use of SVGs (Scalable Vector Graphics) will become more widespread as the need grows for crisp and clean images across browsers, and more use of retina, exposes the limitations of other formats.
3. Responsive By Nature.
As responsive becomes the rule, rather than the exception, the term may become less relevant as a descriptor, and more simply rolled up into the generally accepted definition of the nature of “good web design”.
1. Linear Navigation
Navigation is already being replaced by the immortal “burger” icon and will continue to disappear. User flow is dictated by the body of the website, as nav items fall into discrete locations, while large content blocks with simple calls-to-action dominate our viewports. Less is more—one CTA, where appropriate, is the goal.
2. Interaction Animations
As the front end of the web gets more slick, a whole world of interactions, animations and transitions are possible. Having gotten over the initial wow value that this sort of fluff provides, we are starting to use these tools to enhance the usability of the site.
For example, a webform that shakes (like a headshake) to indicate an invalid input, immediately tells the user something is wrong. These sort of interactions aren’t just window dressing, they’re another means of rich communication with the user. Your brand is experienced in how your website looks and, now, how it behaves.
3. Content First
No two businesses are the same, yet the web is filled with millions of templated sites that all resemble the same ugly grandmother. With the addition of intelligent tools that adapt to content, we are going to start to see websites designed by content, rather that content designed to fit a website.
Tools such as Contentful will free web designers to develop schemas appropriate to the content being presented and then render that content beautifully across devices and viewports. As the web evolves, so too, can the experience.
1. Bigger Text & Bigger Image Driven websites
With the increased usage of Retina and HD screens, it’s now essential for designers to serve large copy-driven text and high-resolution images that will resize and optimize for both server load and screen sizes.
2. Responsive Design
The high penetration rate of smartphones, phablets, tablets and even larger desktop screen sizes, responsive websites are no longer just an enhancement, it’s a hygiene factor now.
3. Flat Design
With the high emphasis in the UI of Apple, Google and Microsoft, the minimalist approach to flat design will continue to take centre stage in 2015. This trend will help adapt across, desktops. mobile devices and even wearable techs.
Everything customized to better help user experience. Polling is a feature that has been around for a while, but under utliized. We like to say polling should be “high value/ low friction”. In that it is a great way to instantly get user feedback, without driving them mad or away from the site.
Plus it makes the user more engaged with the site, which leads to better click-throughs and higher conversions. Users trust sites who are willing and responsive to capture user feedback.
2. Deeper Sites
A breakaway from the current “template” model that most new sites are using. You have seen it 100 times with general links on top, that when clicked, instant scroll down to the bottom of that same page where that article can be found. I think we will start to see deeper sites being built out.
3. Mobile Specific Sites
Mobile specific sites that have shallower conversions. This sounds like a given, but you would be surprised how many lead gen/ e-comm companies just go with a “mobile optimized” site.
People don’t want to fill out long forms on their phone, or try to navigate from product, enter their CC information, etc. Smaller forms that capture bare minimums, and easier payment options will help make mobile experiences truly optimized.
My background is mainly in print design. Same with my business partner, Matt Adams. I think what sets Tiny Giant aside from most design/development studios is that we’re print designers turned developers, so we tend look at web projects from a more traditional graphic design perspective.
In that vein, what I’d really like to see in websites is more attention to typography. Not just bigger letters on top of full-width images, but using typographic hierarchy to drive how we read the page instead of using flashing buttons as calls to action.
The internet is about sharing information and without the words, what are we saying? With free type kits like Google Fonts, designers and developers really have no excuse when it comes to using well designed web fonts that look great on all screens.
2. More Focus
People’s attention spans are quickly diminishing, so I think another focus should be set on stripping down the frills and getting the appropriate information to the website’s audience as quickly and easily as possible. Less clicking / more scrolling.
I don’t want to have to dig to find out what I need to know about your company. You should be offering it to me like a drive-thru restaurant. Quickly.
3. Improvements with Video
I used to work with a really great group of people at a video production agency called Fancy Rhino and one thing I thought about often when I was there was finding a better way to integrate video into traditional websites.
Video headers and backgrounds are a nice step, but they’re a little clunky and not at all mobile friendly. Video production, graphic design and web development all have a common thread of conveying a message through storytelling.
The three working together could be a very powerful tool. I’ve seen a few marketing sites touch on this, but nothing I’ve seen so far has quite taken full advantage of all three disciplines.
1. Design will embrace more humanity
Design is all about solving human problems. Not just web/graphics design, in industrial / everyday product design too will embrace design to come up with best human usable design solution.
So, beside esthetic aspect, usable & useful design will get boost in 2015. People will ask for right amount of information at right moment, more then the bold design itself.
2. Content itself will design the layout
We have numerous data. By combination of typography, grid, bold color and realistic big images, we will see only the needed information in a design is provided.
Content itself will design the layout. Placeholder images will be forgotten day by day. The laws of human psychology / human factors will be more considered in the design.
3. Responsive, contextual and personalized
Design have to have responsiveness, same information and service have to access from various type of devices and the design have to adopt the context in extreme level.
Flat, clean design will continue it’s journey, less options, instant feedback, speed, interactiveness will get priority in the design. Design will try to adopt the power of personalization for it’s user, particularly for contents and information.
1. AppleWatch / Wearables
I know this is already starting to emerge but now that apple has officially hopped on board with the Apple Watch, there will be lots of new opportunities here for companies to put their app on a wrist.
2. Android L “Material Design”
After years of same ol’ Android OS, they’ve finally revamped the whole thing from the ground up.
Now that they are at a greater aesthetic level and fresh UX, lots designers are mimicing the new design guidelines onto the web/iOS. I don’t think that will stop anytime soon.
3. No More Pixel Perfection?
With the rise of 4k resolution screens (5k Apple iMac), retina displays (macbooks), denser mobile screens (500+), the new 3x resolution for iPhone 6 Plus (and awkward conversion to 2x)… I have a feeling that the hours we designers spend perfecting pixels, will be a thing of the past.
At that kind of dense resolution, the half-pixel blurry line is practically non-visible.
1. Full-Screen Media will Continue it’s Rise
People love websites with big, full-screen displays of images, type and video – it’s simply more immersive and engaging. In 2015 we will see an even greater use of large background images and full-screen video as a way to connect with visitors and communicate a brands personality.
This approach to web design will slowly kill the traditional brochure as a means of selling a service. Bandwidth, typography and modern browsers have all evolved to create an environment that can now rival that of print and we expect companies to put more of their dollars into these digital canvases.
2. Responsive Design Is a Must
A trend that started a few years back is now the new normal. With the ever increasing rate of mobile browsing, and new device sizes being released on what seems like a daily basis, it’s critical that every website adopt a responsive framework.
Not only does it deliver a better experience for the user, it also provides a single code-base for companies to manage and evolve their websites from.
3. Flat Design will Evolve
While flat design took over the world in the last few years, I expect to see it evolve a bit in 2015. Certainly flat design ushered in a cleaner, clutter-free design approach that was a welcome departure from skeuomorphism and other heavy-handed design trends, but it’s now time to bring in a bit of personality.
Flat design is maybe too flat and designers love to put their own spin on things. I expect to see flat design evolve in subtle ways with the introduction of very subtle gradients and a greater use of patterns for texture and depth.
These elements should keep what’s good about flat design while injecting a needed dose of personality.
1. Flat Design/Simplicity/Minimalism/Authenticity
Avoiding clutter and design elements. Removing useless information. Involves getting rid of 3-D graphics and gradients and basically just using flat shapes and indicators to help the user have a more accessible experience.
Reject skeuomorphism and excessive visuals for simpler, cleaner, content-focused design.
2. Content First
Better content presentation. Getting the message across by getting rid of distracting design elements. It is about telling the message effectively, not about looking pretty.
Beauty of form depends on the content, with the style being a natural outcome of a creative solution. Typography focussed.
3. Responsive Design/Mobile First
Not about squishing content to make it fit onto a different-sized screen. It is about transforming your website in order to tell the message effectively.
Light and fast loading websites that take the lower memory and processing power of mobile devices into consideration.
They’re in the bloom right now, people prefer sending emotional pictures instead of typing, and modern devices made possible to display quite complex animated images instead of small icons/smileys. I expect this trend to stay for the next year at least.
2. Icon rebound back to 3D
Introduction of flat icon design, its apparent simplicity and vague quality criteria (in contrast with skeuomorphismic icons) encouraged lots of people to try themselves in creating icons and be competitive in this field.
As a result, this phase has been pretty extensive but has passed pretty fast, so now I’m expecting a rebound to more refined and complex icons, playing with shapes and dimensions. Not like former skeuomorphismic design though, but more like upcoming material design concept.
3. Interactive icons
Instead of creating a different static icon for every other action, or creating an animated icon attracting user’s attention, a concept of interactive icons can get into view.
That means icon look and animation scenario would be responsive and dependent on what’s happening right now in the app or website.
– The app is displaying a throbber showing some time consuming process going on. A user wants to stop it or rethink some actions taken before, and instead of clicking “Cancel” button, he/she touches the throbber icon and unwinds it back.
– Instead of a pair of Undo/Redo icons, an app can display one interactive icon/arrow that changes it’s direction depending on user swipe action (back or forward).
1. Blurred Designer Lines
I see 2015 being the year the lines get blurred between graphics designer and front-end developers, there are so many amazing tools out there now, but my personal favourite would have to be webflow as it produces beautiful CODE ready for any web developer, its nearly too good to be true. Check them out.
2. Web Apps
2015 will see web apps explode with Foundation for apps just being released, I can see designers pushing animation and web apps to the next level, bringing amazing & beautiful user experiences to the desktop and mobile devices, working across all medias and platforms.
I see podcasting taking off in a big way in 2015 with http://gimletmedia.com/ and the people that are backing this idea. Podcasting is not new, but making money from it has been very hard since its conception. I see this changing in 2015. ITS THE YEAR OF THE PODCASTER.
1. Vector Lettering
The main trend which I feel will be in full swing by Spring 2015 is a departure from hand-drawn lettering transitioning to more of a focus on vector lettering or perfected and polished custom lettering.
Rough and gritty letter-forms seem to have had their day and in its place is a more refined, sleeker, and slightly modernized version of their former selves.
Speaking from personal experience, the demand for elaborate, ornate lettering has gone significantly down over the last quarter and I’ve been booking projects that are much more straightforward and simplistic in nature.
That’s bad news for analog types like myself, but good news to anyone who is a diehard Illustrator user. I’ve noticed less texture, brighter colors, and cleaner lines being the prevailing style recently, which leads me to my next point…
After the launch of the new Apple iOS and the flood of flat design it spawned (along with the brief stint of absurdly long drop shadows), the trend has shifted from the super simple, to the semi elaborate.
People seemed to resonate well with the stripped down, flat aesthetic; however they also seemed to appreciate when the design work became more involved and detailed while maintaining that minimal feel.
Icons and websites are still shying away from skeuomorphism and gradients but there’s a higher degree of linework and detail emerging that wasn’t first seen when this trend started and I think it will continue over the next year and even overstay its welcome into 2016 if it retains that same degree of popularity.
3. Vibrant Colors
Lastly – vibrant colors will make a comeback. The last few years have championed muted, dulled-down palettes in an attempt to convey a rugged display of Americana and vintage, dusty history.
I feel like it’s time is up though, from underground music artists to home goods packaging, to large scale branding projects, color is alive again in a big way – maybe not as much in an obnoxious 80’s way, but it’s certainly back.
Plaid and and flannel will out after winter and the brightly colored t-shirt and polo shirt will reign supreme once again (much to my dismay). At least it’s in a different direction than what we had 5 years ago where everything was neon green, hot pink, and electric burn-your-eyes blue – the color comeback has been tasteful so far in my book.
1. Handwritten Logotypes
One design trend I think will be popular in 2015 is the use of clean handwritten logotypes. This is a great way to be more creative and original rather than using a stock font. This is especially true when doing a handwritten script.
You can find some subtle handwritten logotype scripts in the app design world. There was a surge of rough handwritten scripts for a while, but it seems more designers are starting to make their own scripts in a more clean modern style.
2. Monoline Style
Another trend that I except to see gain popularity in 2015 is the “monoline” style. This is using one line thickness throughout the design. This style can be used in typography and in illustrations. It has a very graphic and clean look to it.
When combining typography and illustration together with this style, everything seems unified because of the same line thickness used throughout.
Many designers are starting to use this style in icon design, illustrations, and apparel design. Also, this style lends great to using just one color with the design.
3. Typography and Illustrations 3D Effects
The last trend I think will be popular in 2015 is using 3D effects to typography and illustrations. This would include gradients, shadows, and color overlays.
There are a lot of designers who are pushing the 3D effects typography can have and they are starting to bring subtle gradients back and using multiple colors to create depth.
There are also a lot of type designs with various forms of shadows added to create a sense of depth. Using strong shadows and gradients in illustrations makes the work as a whole more dimensional. This style lends itself well to making designs more modern looking.
2015 will be an interesting year for design, as a few conflicting concepts that have been gaining momentum during 2014 will not only have to coexist, but also combine intelligently in order to provide a pleasant experience for users while staying coherent across platforms.
1. Strong Visuals
On one hand the visuals seem to be still very strong, with large, beautiful images or videos used as background. Surely a powerful and elegant way to convey messages, especially emotional ones. Image predominance seems to be reinforced by additional elements in the page, like minimal, stylish ghost buttons.
2. Material Design
On the other hand material design, although still an emerging trend, seems to have a quite powerful influence. While not all of its concepts are being adopted outside of mobile, the web is definitely feeling its presence.
First of all there is a much greater attention to typography, which is becoming a central element in UX. Also shadows and parallax scrolling are increasingly present, and in my opinion they are a pleasant change from the flat design we have been seeing much of lately.
3. Responsive Design
Lastly, as responsive design and coherent cross-platform UX become a must, scrolling will continue to take over clicking in order to provide a pleasant experience on increasingly touch-enabled devices.