As we welcome in the new year, the ICS team has taken a visual inventory of emerging web design trends over the last year that we expect we’ll be seeing more of in the coming months:
Immersive, full-screen photography will likely never go out of style, but there’s a website header trend steadily on-the-rise that no longer relies heavily on imagery to tell the story –but instead, typography is now the star of the show (and us type nerds couldn’t be more thrilled!)
Let’s get right to the point: Statement-driven headers
This year, we expect to see a step towards minimalism and clarity of message with websites featuring prominent type-focused and mission-driven headers. Having a strong mission statement is core to your brand and helps establish your brand’s voice and personality. Stripping back the noise and unnecessary visuals and finding a succinct mission statement can be a sure-fire way to connect with your viewers while making an instant impact when they first land on your site.
We no longer live above the fold, and it’s not necessary to say everything at once within the first 800px of height of your homepage header. Type-focused layouts can offer a moment of pause (and even a sense of drama) as you begin to build the narrative of your brand. With careful choice of typography, a type-focused header can be a bold design move and can convey a sense of effortless confidence in your brand.
Type as a Visual Statement:
Typography is also being used more frequently as a visual statement. We’re seeing a rise in typefaces that extend across the screen, overlapping images – and are packed with personality.
Super-condensed type is also having a moment with tall, dramatic lettering that spans the screen.
Brutalism: for better or worse?
Brutalist web design trends have made a strange entrance into the mainstream – and have surprisingly entered more prominently in the e-commerce landscape. Brutalism, (originally coming from the French term for raw ‘béton-brut’ –literally “raw concrete”) is a trend that’s grown in popularity over the last few years in design subcultures. Purposefully stark, sometimes antagonistic (and occasionally unpleasing to the eye,) Brutalist web design adopts a raw and stripped-down design aesthetic which often pushes the boundaries on usability and design expectations by subverting traditional expectations of the web experience –like traditional menu navigation, header, and footer treatments.
Brands like Dropbox, Ebay have rebranded with this trend in mind. Type systems feature unapologetically extended and condensed faces that extend across the screen and unexpected color palettes with clashing color combinations –or often lacking color entirely.
Custom illustration and more eclectic illustration styles
Over the last year, we’ve seen illustration grow from stylized abstract vector styles to photocollage and other more eclectic styles. More original, personalized illustrations enhance the experience and give a unique voice to your brand.
Photocollage is a striking, unexpected illustration style that leads to memorable identities. Since this beautiful, artistic style takes more time to create, it’s still an underutilized aesthetic, and the brands who have made the choice to invest in it really stand out from the crowd.
Prominent brands like Mailchimp and Dropbox have adopted more eclectic, playful illustration styles. In an age where things are increasingly automated, Mailchimp’s and Dropbox’s sketchy doodles are a breath of fresh air. Their breezy, natural style has the appearance of being quickly drawn, which is a delightful break from the often sterile and utilitarian nature of the internet.
We anticipate seeing more textured and varied brush styles, as brands seek to connect more authentically with their customers. The bespoke, hand-drawn nature of these illustrations will give companies more ways to customize and hone their brand personalities. From Spicy No Spicy’s lovely, minimalist drawings to the dark comic book-style illustrations on Yung Lean’s site, this style lends itself to creating strong, well-defined brands.
Subtle Animation Details & Cinemagraphs
This year, we expect to see a steady increase in animated details in the form of cinemagraphs, SVG animation and, of course –the ubiquitous gif. Animation can add an unexpected element of delight to your website when executed thoughtfully.
Through animation, we can build subtle expressions that give energy to your brand and an overall web experience that feels more engaging and playful. Animation can help draw focus in to a particular detail or introduce an additional layer of depth to static images (like in cinemagraphs.)
Luxury and lifestyle brands like Bang & Olufsen, Balenciaga and Chanel have hopped on the cinemagraph trend to create subtle, yet elegant animations that have an entrancing quality.
What web design trends do you see emerging in the new year?