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2018 design trends

by Nick Mackay

7 March 2018

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve now a distant memory and 2018 well and truly in full swing, we decided to look ahead to what we believe will be the biggest design trends for the year. 

Our team keeps a close eye on design and UX trends, not to slavishly follow them, but to be inspired by and learn from how unique design problems are approached and solved in different industries. 

Online marketers should also be aware of progressions in web design, to identify new opportunities to present their brands in creative and powerful ways.

Creativity is a conversation, and trends are its main threads. We may choose to follow trends or react against them, but our choices exist alongside them. 

This year’s trends will be a natural evolution from last year’s. We’ll begin to see a refinement from the experimental and artistic, to robust and proven ideas that enhance the user experience.

Here are our top 6 trend evolutions to watch out for this year.

1. Flat design 2.0

Flat design is a style that’s been around for a few years now, and is characterised by a 2D, minimalist or “flat” look and feel. Flat design 2.0 is updating this style with gradients and shadows to add more nuance and depth, while still retaining its minimalist roots.

Flat design

2. Broken grid layouts (asymmetry)

This style builds on the growing trend for asymmetrical layouts, creating “broken” grids with overlapping containers to create a unique and unconventional experience.

Broken grid layouts

3. Custom illustrations

The use of custom illustrations is growing more and more popular, and helps inject a sense of fun and energy to sites. Illustrations can be tailored to the brand’s personality and tone, and can also be a great way to make brands perceived as serious seem more friendly and approachable.

Custom illustrations

4. Big, bold & beautiful typography

Last year saw the emerging trend of large typography being used as part of a site’s visuals – this style will become more prevalent and creative, as advances in browser technology support the use of more custom and unique typefaces.

Big

5. Dynamic gradients

Gradients haven’t been popular in web design for a while, but now they’re bursting back on to the scene with big, bright and loud colours. Simple images and backgrounds become attention grabbing with bold and colourful gradients.

Dynamic gradients

6. Brutalism goes mainstream 

No longer the angry teenager listening to punk music in their bedroom, brutalism has graduated to a corner office at your favourite brand. Brutalism rejects accepted design best practices in favour of visuals that jar, challenge, and demand your attention.

Brutalism goes mainstream

A broader change in the digital landscape that’s bound to affect all design styles is the continuing growth of mobile devices as the most popular way to access the web. Mobile traffic has now overtaken desktop globally, so you can expect to see this continue to have a large influence on design as the shift to mobile continues. It will be interesting to see how mobile functionality continues to influence and drive trends in the future.

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