At the end of every year we see a ton of hype around the design trends for the upcoming year. But is there anything to all the hype? Well, yes and no. Just because something is trendy with designers on creative platforms doesn’t mean it will work in a functional way or catch on in the mainstream. So… since it’s been almost an entire year since we’ve talked about web design trends (also, how did that happen so fast!?), we want to show you a few of the big design trends projected for 2018/2019 that actually made it out of the “idea” stage and into the wild. These are the trends that have held up and gotten picked up over and over again on actual, live websites!
1. More Illustration & Diverse Illustration Styles
This year, design doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the big trend in illustrations proves that. While illustration has been slowly and steadily replacing photography-only design for the past year and a half or so, this year we’ve seen a super fun turn in illustration style. Surreal Design and Abstract Design are very in. Designers are having tons of fun moving away from photography-heavy design and taking new liberties with elaborate illustrations. And the surprising thing about this trend is that we’re not just seeing it from businesses that are in the creative field, but we’ve seen brands that are professional and traditionally more “serious,” like the two seen below, use this design trend to stand out and take a more lighthearted, fun approach. And we can get on board with that.
2. Serifs & Vintage Type
At the beginning of 2018, we had a big debate over serif and sans serif fonts for a few months, and someone (we won’t say who) on our team wasn’t exactly on board at first with the return of serifs. Ahem *he* wasn’t convinced the trend had staying power, because sans serif fonts in all caps had been on-trend in recent years, and before that it was sans serif in all lower case.
Well, for over a year now we’ve seen that Serifs are officially back, they’re bold, and it looks like they’re staying around for a while. But it’s obvious that serifs are more than just a “projected” trend, but they’re being used regularly and by big players in both the creative and business worlds. (And we happen to think they pair quite nicely with the abstract and surreal illustration trend as well.)
3. A New Style of Hero
Last year we saw a bit of an evolution (if you will) if the standard hero section. If you don’t know, the “hero” is the first visual a visitor sees on a website, and its purpose is to quickly present the most important information— what defines the company or product in an eye-catching way. In recent years, the hero was basically always some sort of full screen image with text overlayed, and centered. It’s obvious that designers grew tired of the centered headline and CTA button on top of a beautiful photo.
So what’d they do instead? We’ve seen a huge trend in moving the headline and CTA to the left and setting the image to the right, and oftentimes replacing the image with a custom illustration! This puts the most important information to the left where the eye (in western culture) naturally goes first. Genius! But don’t count out those who go against the grain. We’ve also seen a lot of headlines and CTA moved to the right with the illustration on the left as well. *Scandalous!*
4. Large Bold Text/More Text/Full Screen Text
Remember how we mentioned images are out and illustrations are in? Well, we’ve even seen a lot of sites with jumbo-sized characters even replacing images AND illustrations. Large, full-screen letters in bold colors are very in, as well as juxtaposing sans serif and serif fonts to help create dynamic visuals.
5. All The Gradients & Bold Color Palettes
2019 is all about color. Apple has been using gradients in their iOS icons for years, but over the past year, we’ve seen gradients that are not just in icons, but dominating the design. Popular gradients in years past were more of an ombre (different shades of one color), but now we’re seeing gradients with 2 or more distinguishable colors. And we don’t hate it at all.
Bold and unexpected color pairings are probably our favorite current trends. Vibrant and even clashing colors can be useful for newer brands hoping to instantly attract their visitors’ attention. Colors you wouldn’t normally see paired together can be very eye-catching and keep you in your users’ minds long after they’ve left your site. We’re even seeing bold colors play a huge role in creating a great user experience, with designers using eye-catching colors placed where they want site visitors’ eyes to go.
Hey— don’t have the money for new professional photography? A simple gradient background mixed with a few strong design elements like bold typography can be a super trendy, yet practical solution to represent your brand message and make your website pop.
2019 is definitely a fun year in design around the web. And several of the sites we’ve shared have incorporated multiple, if not all of these at once. Here are some examples of that:
2019 isn’t stuffy. It’s creative. It’s fun to look at. We can’t wait to see how these evolve and how designers will the limits on these trends in the coming months and years. We’re also having a lot of fun incorporating some of these into our designs whenever we can, too!