The 90’s were totally awesome, dude! Like, we totally had Bill Clinton and a booming economy or something, right?
We had blinding fast dial-up speeds with AOL. We had Friends and Seinfeld and Early Edition (you probably forgot about Early Edition, didn’t you?).
And, like the beginning of all things, we had the worst web design in the history of the internet. Everything was either super boring or it felt like a bad trip (you know, the kind where the world just folds in on you?).
Thank the gods this isn’t the case today, right? Well…sorta. I kind of suspect that some websites that still look like the 90s are trolling us. The Yale University School of Art has to be trolling everyone with their web design. It’s Yale!
But you have no excuse unless you have a Ph.D. in art history or whatever.
So, let’s take a quick moment to go over some contemporary web design trends. I promise, your website will be better off for it.
White space is a little out of control right now. And from an SEO standpoint, this might smell like teen spirit or something. But we’ll see where it leads everyone, including Google.
Minimalism isn’t just for Amish people and barefoot runners anymore. Major websites are taking on the minimalist vibe this year.
Minimalism takes practice, however. You can’t just toss a smattering of content on your site and be done.
The principles of basic design still apply. The rule of threes is a major aspect of design. Divide the page up into thirds and position content on these axes.
Triangular placement will also serve well in a minimalist website. Offset various objects in triangular trajectories for a pleasing image.
2. Totally Modular, Dude!
Compartmentalizing content isn’t a new concept. It’s been done a million and one ways since the advent of the internet.
But “Flat Design” has added a new flavor to compartmentalizing content. Bringing content to the edges of the page and making each image meet the other, you’re creating a seamless image.
With the right background colors, this design is utterly compelling.
You don’t have to forgo borders either. As long as they contrast well with the colors in each module, you will increase flow from one section of the page to the other.
3. The Coverup
When we were kids, they told us to color inside the lines. I colored outside the lines anyway. It was purely intentional.
But one design trend is defying your parent’s well-meaning advice. We’re coloring outside the lines and overlapping images and text lines.
If you’ve ever created a SnapChat picture, you probably already do this. And perhaps this design trend hails from our social media addiction.
But to do this well requires some knowledge and a good eye. This isn’t your elementary school collage.
Combine minimalist design principles with a few overlaps in image and text content for a knock-your-socks off design.
4. The Pattern
While white space is still king, web designers now experiment with grids and other patterns to fill space. It’s fairly unconventional at the moment, but major sites like Uber now use patterns in apparently illogical ways.
But the flow is still there. And somehow, you don’t cringe at the offset content.
5. Going Vertical
This trend feels like something out of a 50’s title scene. But it’s a fun way to re-arrange and reshape how we do content.
This idea centers around balancing verticle text and horizontal text to create movement. If done right, it will lead your eye down the page and into the appropriate or highlighted content.
It takes full advantage of the white space available. Don’t be tempted to crowd your words into your content.
Let the invisible lines of the design guide your user’s eyes.
This trend is a bit sketchy in my opinion. It reminds me a little too much of the 90’s. But do with it what you will.
Choosing a pastel color and pairing it with its solid twin isn’t my idea of great design. But some designers are applying this technique around the web.
Some sites are going as far as to use this method on every page and in every element. It’s overboard and gaudy. But perhaps I’m just blind to the hip trends around me right now.
7. Illustrated By
Now, this is an exciting trend. Illustrators and designers who cut their teeth on pen and paper will love this news.
Bespoke illustrations are in. They’re here to balance out the minimalism.
And you can add personality to your site with some hand-drawn illustrations.
8. The Font Wizard
While a page of straight text in Times New Roman font will turn away any user, some fonts are actually beautiful in and of themselves.
Typographers put a lot of love into their designs. And you can use pure text to build a website if you use the right font.
This is the internet if photography had never been invented. With straightforward content balanced with white space, you can communicate exactly what you need. Nothing else.
With pure text, you avoid inadvertently giving the wrong impression with photos and colors.
9. The Chill Gradient
When the sun dips into the horizon and the sky runs a gambit of colors, a billion emotions arise in the common human breast. That is if you’re in tune with such things.
It makes sense then to emulate these colors in your design scheme. And several prominent designers use such gradients in their own layouts.
You don’t have to stick with the traditional sunset gradient. If you want some pizzaz, pull out the full palette.
And if you’re really daring, give it a go with neons. But make sure you balance it out with plenty of black.
Conclusion: White Space and Balance
At the end of the day, a crisp, clean design is what matters. White space and balance are the two concepts you need to keep in mind as you design your site.
If you can follow basic design principles you’ll do just fine.
What are some trends you’re seeing crop up across the web? Anything I should know about? Let me know in the comments below.