This year might not bring some cutting edge web design solutions but it will probably deliver some exciting trend battles. Even though most of the current trends are driven by similar fuels: progressing mobile revolution, user-centered approach and decreasing attention span, they solve problems in a different way. Which one of them will gain an advantage in 2019 fights? Let’s get ready to rumble!
Pastel vs Bold Colors
First fight. In one corner we’ve got soft and subtle colors delivering elegant impression and pleasant experience for an eye. This milky color scheme might seem to be delicate but it has a strong power of creating friendly ambiance and positive connection with a brand. Beside sophisticated tone, muted hues also provide transparency to a website, helping the user to navigate and finding the information they need. At this moment we have to mention another trend fighting the same calm and sober strategy - black & white. Even though we’ve seen hundreds of web implementations of it, it’s still in vogue luring on graphic designers with a mysterious and clear look and some irrefutable values like supporting energy saving and quick-loading or eye-friendliness.
In the opposite corner, there is a bold color palette which has already won the hearts of some web designers. For those who find washed out shades too sweet and the black & white style dull, this is a refreshing alternative. Vibrant colors recall the spirit of the ‘80s with cheerful mood and footloose fun, striking a sentimental chord among today's thirty- and forty-year-old audience (so the main consumer target group). But using them is a heavyweight challenge for designers. Saturated and fluorescent colors can help to draw users attention but web implementation of them is often just one step away from the gaudy, irritating effect.
The unexpected winner of this trend fight would probably be...Pantone. Living coral, the color of 2019, is something between discussed competitors - intensive but not garish, “vibrant, yet mellow”. It stands out, allures, and mesmerizes but remains natural at the same time.
Custom illustration & Animations vs Photos & Videos
It would be definitely too early to announce the end of stock photos, but the fact is that web designers have become more demanding and they bet on the natural, unique pictures. As the images are today the main blocks used to build an amazing website they need to be engaging and expressive to set a specific tone for the whole work. Photos are now not only a decoration but also an essential part of the content, providing information and enhancing brand values.
This role is even more evident for videos, which accounts for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic. Large background films on top of the website are replacing - skipped over by most users - sliders. They serve as tutorials and manuals. They show a hotel or a restaurant in all its glory. They tell a brand story or convince that the company has a great team and it’s really worth to join it. The range of applications is more than wide and with proper implementation, a video is just worth a thousand words.
The rivals of the real-world pictures are tough and have already made their way to the top. Custom illustrations & animations have pretty the same pros and cons as photos & videos but they belong to a different weight category. In this case, it is a great benefit as the page's speed performance is getting so important for Google. They also set fewer limits on graphic designer’s creativity which is a significant benefit in projects touching on more abstract topics. And usually it requires less logistic and money to create awesome illustration or animation than to prepare the whole photoshoot set and scenography.
With using other design trends in colors and shapes, you can create fully customized pictures fitting needs of the brand’s communication in the most relevant way. And let’s admit that - it’s just marvelous, like watching well-designed book for children. Just look at all of those fluid shapes filled with bold splashes, lately reactivated gradients or eye-popping handmade designs looking like from a drawing notepad.
Making illustrations move can even double the profits. With harnessing some interactive solutions the animation on the website will encourage a user to browse it from cover to cover. But even small, subtle, animated element will revive the site by providing unusual experience and bringing to mind some cool devices from science fiction movies.
No matter which trend will triumph - real-world or illustrated, we all going to be winners by gaining more artistic, delightful and custom-made webs without plastic models smiling to a bowl of salat.
Simplicity vs Diversity
Last battle looks more like an evolution. Keeping the website simple is the requirement of search engines and the “mobile first” approach. Since the flat design philosophy appeared and is developed with Google’s Material Design and Microsoft’s Modern UI (Microsoft Design Language), the whole web design seems to get more and more minimalistic.
Even if white, clean background with just unnecessary information and moderate graphics is helping to navigate and concentrate on important elements, the users might have already grown weary of it. So now designers started to add at least some subtle changes to diversify commonly known UI solutions. Beside some experiments with colors (like a bold palette) and illustrated graphics, they modified a very base of flat design - blocks, by giving them a little bit more rounded forms (and even Chrome followed the hype for the curve). Inspired by nature they are using some organic shapes, imperfect and irregular but more dynamic and closer to human. Designers are also looking for some new ideas in upsetting the traditional balance of the website. The asymmetry is noticeable in a broken grid, diverse typography and even mixing completely different styles to achieve an eclectic effect. Some webs went even further and turned into a chaotic collage of seemingly random elements. This anarchic design rebel is breaking the rules of functionality and UX to highlight its independence and artistic soul.
Are we good clairvoyants? Well, you can check if our predictions for web design trends in recent years came true. And if you’re looking for some of our own works you can find them on our portfolio and on Behance.