The Best Web Design Trends From 2018

The Best Web Design Trends From 2018

Web design trends have fluctuated, much like fashion design trends, ever since the web was created. So, it’s not surprising that new trends come onto the horizon.

2018 demonstrated that new ideas in web design would be challenging, eye-catching, and take more chances compared to the standard minimalist approach that had dominated previous years.

For 2019, there are three prominent web design trends from the previous year which we think will continue to expand. Each trend offers a unique approach, even if some of the concepts behind them are decades old. It may be said that there is really no new style, only variations of established ones. However, it is also true that 2019 will be far away from the comfortable, almost sanitised minimalist designs that have dominated the web over the past decade. For many online business owners along with web designers, that change is most welcome.

Brutalist and Asymmetric Layouts

The smooth, clean web designs of previous years were strongly challenged in 2018 by the ragged and jarring brutalist style. The rough textures and shapes of brutalism are quite eye-catching and helped set websites apart from their competitors, especially when combined with asymmetrical layouts and bold, unusual colour combinations. Interestingly enough, brutalism has been a popular technique in print media since the 1950s, but only recently has it made its way to the web.

There are various reasons why brutalism and asymmetric layouts made a strong appearance in 2018, but it mostly was a response to the clean, simple layout trends in previous years. Online companies that wanted to stand out chose a brutalist style that emphasises uniqueness and strong colours that provide a strong counterpoint to the seemingly endless minimal and light designs of the past.

There is no mistaking the brutalism style thanks to its stark, powerful approach. While some may consider it garish, it does retain much of the minimal style from previous web design trends. The backgrounds are usually dark, and the text can often be monospaced.

The inclusion of images is optional, although purists will say that true brutalism does not need images or photos as part of the design. Everything about this approach is straightforward, simple, and quite stark. There are elements in the style that do not so much interact as overlap and the lack of symmetry is quite noticeable. In fact, much of this design appears to be mistakes or misuse of shapes, which draws the attention of the eye in a way that sleek, simple designs miss.

Brutalism is an architectural style of the 1950s and 1960s characterised by simple, block-like forms and raw concrete construction.
– Tate

The same is true for website that avoid brutalism and go simply for layouts that are asymmetrical.  By creating an imbalance, the overall appearance manages to catch the eye while still being unique. The eye is often drawn to something that doesn’t quite feel right, and taking advantage of people’s responses to this can help to make parts of your website stand out.

It is not an easy design to create as the look of asymmetrical layouts requires careful planning. The use of space and colours must be considered as well. But when properly executed, it can be quite stunning and beautiful on its own.

That’s why the asymmetrical layouts are very much a part of brutalism, offering a simple, seemingly mistaken design that does exactly what is intended. To catch the eye of those who see it and imply that the site is independent and does not follow established trends. Some have referred to brutalism and the use of asymmetrical layouts as ugly, but that is the intention.

Unorthodox Colour Palettes

Colour palettes have been a part of design since the early days of print. Many popular website designs and some of the more successful sites use colour palettes to denote a pleasing, almost harmonious tone to the imagery. However, 2018 saw the rise unorthodox colour palettes which usually combined colours, shades, and tones that normally do not mix well together.

It was not surprising that some of the earliest websites to embrace this approach were unorthodox themselves. The unconventional use of colours made them truly stand out and the world took notice. Now, more designers are embracing unorthodox colour palettes across the spectrum of online businesses to create an eye-catching, unique appearance in their bespoke designs that gets the message across.

While the combination of vibrant and subtle colours may seem garish at first, as long as it does not interfere with proper navigation it has been embraced. In fact, an inspirational use of different colours often attracts attention for all the right reasons. It makes the website stand out and catch people’s attention while at the same time being easy to understand and to find what is needed. You could argue this is great for user experience, as it makes the choices you have as a user more apparent on the screen.

The use of such palettes is commonplace when displaying two or more different types of images or designs on the template itself. One colour for the sky and the other for the earth is simple enough, but the use of unusual or unexpected colours makes a powerful statement. It displays the design or imagery effectively and with a boldness that is not easily forgotten. A sky that is bright purple over a grey earth will capture considerably more attention compared to a blue sky over a green field if only because of the unexpected combination.

As more online business owners are looking for ways to make their sites different from the competition, so too are web and graphic designers embracing the combination of different colour palettes to ensure that their designs are noticed for the right reasons. For many this fascinating approach made 2018 a banner year for web design and 2019 looks to benefit even more.

Wide Range of Bold Fonts

If there is any trend from 2018 that is definitely staying for 2019, it is the use of bold fonts. Big, almost garish fonts have been on the rise over the past few years and the trend will continue strong for the foreseeable future. There are different reasons as to why, but in large part it’s due to the eye-catching nature of fonts that are both big and not used as often as the more popular types.

Another reason for the growth of the use of unusual fonts is the excellent online repository of free fonts – Google Fonts. There are currently over 900 fonts available for anyone to use on their websites. With such a large choice, you are bound to see some fairly unusual fonts creeping into mainstream usage as designers work out ways to capture people’s attention online.

One aspect of such fonts when used in this manner is how they immediately catch the attention of the visitor. When all your text is bigger than normal, it makes it easier to see and understand faster. When done properly, it does not turn away the visitor, but invites them into your site in a way that is more personal. This is a trend we also see in logo design, with logos moving away from a detailed and intricate nature to something bolder that can stand out on smaller screens.

However, a subtler aspect, if such a thing is possible with large, bold fonts, is that they reflect the confidence of the site itself. By going with big, bold fonts, it’s almost a call to action unto itself. When combined with a complimentary design, the use of larger lettering makes the site a beacon for those who have interest in what the site offers.

Of course, having big bold fonts is a plus if only because it makes the site easier to read and understand. But the side effect of being inviting and powerful makes using bigger fonts a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s not surprising that elements of brutalism, asymmetrical layouts, unorthodox colour palettes, and bigger, bolder fonts are often combined into a single website. While few sites will have all four elements, any combination of is becoming more commonplace. This is because designers are becoming more confident and bolder in their approach, reflecting a new wave of interest that helps online business owners embrace powerful designs for their sites.

What 2019 promises in terms of the best web design trends is that being bolder and more aggressive will pay dividends for web designers and online companies that really want to stand out from the crowd.

Posted in the Web Design blog category on January 28, 2019.

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