Every year, just like fashion, website trends ebb and flow. For a while everyone was into a highly navigational website where there were pages on pages of content and the site was a maze to maneuver. Eventually people got tired of that and the pendulum swing entirely in the opposite direction and websites became just one mega-scroll to the bottom. We’ve slowly settled somewhere in between, but with 2019 comes a host of new design trends and details, so let’s take a look at just a few...
1. Broken Grids and Asymmetric Layout
There is nothing specifically exciting about this trend, because it’s been around for years, however we will certainly meet this trend more often on websites in 2019. The broken grid spreads the menu items over the entire page in no particular order, which creates a controlled mess that is certainly different than all of the other layouts out there. Unique, but can be confusing.
2. Irregular elements
We are moving away from straight lines and regular shapes, and their place is taken over by non-geometric shapes and asymmetrical patterns. This trend harnesses the beauty of imperfection and takes your eye on an exciting journey through the page.
Instead of the usual rectangles, circles or triangles, these websites employ a collection of more organic irregular shapes for the layout. This makes the website seem less digital and more alive.
3. Monochrome Websites
If you only use one main color in your design and branding, you can strengthen your brand even more, by highlighting your main color and keeping it simple. You can further simplify things by going entirely black and white for your website, although it does make it feel a bit more angsty and emo. Totally up to you!
4. Huge Navigation Menus
A lot of menus are carefully arranged and planned throughout the design of the site, but what if the menu was the whole site. Huge menu blocks that take up the whole page have become a recent trend we have observed. This is certainly an interesting take on navigation, but what you gain in design rarity you may lose in usability, so if this is a direction you want to take, make sure that it makes sense to the user… or else you may just render your site one bit design and no function.
5. Bigger white space in the designs
To include more whitespace in your designs and deliver a better result, start thinking about every detail of a page. Think about margins, header, footer, menus, images and captions, items in a list, words, and letters. Think about all of these elements and start leaving more space between them, always keeping in mind that you want to create something elegant and clear while improving user experience.
A good experience means having space to breathe between elements and letting your reader’s eyes relax. Placing text in an 11px font and cramming it into the bottom of the page just won’t deliver the experience your readers crave.
Even though we call it white space, it doesn’t mean the actual space must be white. The blank space may be filled with any color as long as it is free of any elements like text or images. This of it more like negative space, or space that is unoccupied.
White space is also associated with elegance and sophistication since it is a way to organize text and elements, and guide users attention to certain portions of your design.
6. 3D illustrations
Designers try to get as much depth and reality as possible, blurring the boundary between the digital and the physical world. With the advancement of digital imagery tools and the accessibility of those tools to the common consumer, it is getting easier and easier to great 3D elements for your site. Sometimes even the flat will also be a deep flat with several layers stacked, which almost generates a 3D appearance on its own.
7. Surreal art in web design
The use of surrealism in web design takes the form of photo manipulation, hand drawings, cartoon-style imagery or photographs taken from unusual angles or set up scenarios. Much like the access to 3D imagery tools, we also have access to more and more digital photo editing, allowing us to create dream worlds that are almost mind-breaking in theory, but captivating in execution. This style will certainly make your website stand out, and if executed correctly, could be truly breathtaking.
8. Animated Logos
Everything takes less space now, and is easier to create so even animations are starting to find their way into websites large and small. You can animate a menu and a logo with the same ease, and if you don’t know how to do it, you can pay someone almost nothing on any given crowd-sourced design website to do it for you. The pitfall here is to get so animation heavy that your website becomes distracting and difficult to navigate, but a couple little moving pictures here and there could be a nice spice for an otherwise elegant website.
Minimalism will continue to dominate the digital landscape in 2019. Animations and fade-in effects that make scrolling more engaging will give web pages freedom to space out their content and thus result in more whitespace, contrast and clear typography without too many distracting elements. Minimalism has been around forever, and it’s going to be around forever, so don’t discount this timeless classic.
10. Thumb-friendly navigation
Mobile is taking over the desktop. Most people are using mobile over desktop devices to browse, shop, and most of their other internet-related activities. Websites should follow suit if they want to keep up!
It is important to think in terms of mobile whenever a design is being planned because most of the people that visit it will see it that way.
If you need some inspiration, you can refer to the book, “Designing for Touch” by Josh Clark for further information on how users hold their mobile phones. Even user movements, specifically the thumb movements and how these are processed in the web design process flow have been explained well in this book. The landscape is changing, and you have to change with it to stay relevant.
If you are considering this thumb-first approach, you should consider designing the site as a mobile site first and then adapt it with responsive design to also work for desktop. Many website design platforms allow for this type of flexibility, but it takes great attention to detail to execute it effectively.
Now get out there and start making your website! Follow these trends, mix and combine them together, or start something new! The world is your digital oyster.