Year after year, Web designers perfect their methods. Some design trends are more effective than others. For example, the trend of neon backgrounds and accents wasn’t such a good move, but the current trend toward high-quality images has turned design on its ear and made for more beautiful websites.
Here are the eight design trends to watch for in 2015 and beyond and how you can incorporate them into your own site. At the bottom of the post you can see the full infographic.
1. Huge and Beautiful Images
Thanks to sites rich in images, such as Instagram, the Internet is finally focusing more and more on beautiful images. However, smart designers know to use additional tricks, such as including human subjects the viewer can relate to or having that subject look at or point toward an element on the page, such as a call to action that the site owner wants the visitor to gravitate toward. The demand for images will continue through 2015 and beyond. An excellent example of this design concept is the website Leve Hytter. Notice how the photo takes up the entire screen.
2. Semi-Flat Design
Early this year, at the same time some sites started using richer, bigger images, others were moving toward a flat design. A flat design is simply very minimalist in nature with super-fast load times. Instead of three-dimensional images, you might see a flat pie chart or bar graph.
On into the design trends of 2015, expect to see a bit more interactivity with flat designs, making them semiflat. Expect to see brighter colors with more contrast as well. A good example of semiflat design comes from the online sunglass retailer Tens. It uses a big, beautiful image of a model in sunglasses and the rest of the page is black and white with a dash of light brown. It’s simple, easy to navigate and attention is drawn to the glasses. This is smart design.
3. Rich Content Experiences
People today are looking for an experience when they visit a website. Allowing the user to create her own story by making various choices that direct the interactive content not only keeps the site visitor on your site longer, it can also help you better understand how visitors think so you can target content to their needs.
Now that sites like the New York Times and Rolex have used this method, expect to see smaller companies jumping on this design trend of 2015. A good example of a site that uses this method is the Smithsonian and the way it helps you walk through Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington.
4. Better Typography
In the past, Web designers tended to stick with some pretty simple fonts. Comic Sans might be a big no-no in most design circles, but that didn’t stop websites from using it. 2015 has seen an increase in bigger, more beautiful typography that any design student would be proud of. Expect to see better and more vivid typography going forward, especially as more people now have high-speed Internet and can handle the load time of a designed font.
Alexander Engzell, a graphic designer, has a website that represents an excellent example of many of the elements discussed already, including a unique and rich typography. Notice how he also uses big images and a minimalist approach for a website that really draws the visitor in.
5. Magical Realism
From a dress that set fire to social media as people tried to figure out the color to Magic Leap’s image of someone holding a tiny elephant, people spent most of 2014 and early 2015 trying to figure out the methods used to make such images. This trend of magic realism to send people flocking to a site will likely continue because more and more people are using social media and like to share these surreal photos with their followers.
However, expect to see more companies using this method to get people excited about their products. For example, Graphic Burger has a photo mockup of someone holding a Samsung Galaxy S6.
6. Hand-Drawn Illustrations
Remember Sundays as a kid and how much you looked forward to reading the comics? People are drawn to illustrations, something Web designers are remembering and using to draw people into their sites and create a fun, informal look. This is a trend that will likely move forward slowly or at about the same pace, as many businesses prefer to have a more professional look online.
Expect more illustrations from the art-oriented niche, though. Pop Art Studio offers a good example of incorporating illustrations into design. You’ll see a group of artists sketched in and then the image morphs into color.
7. Background Video
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Video may be worth far more as it truly tells a story. Expect to see more and more sites using the large background feature and some sites using video to produce a powerful effect that draws the viewer in. Expect to see this method more and more from movie studios and travel sites. One example is the website for While We’re Young, which utilizes video on the landing page.
Another one of the design trends of 2015 is cinemagraphs, which are simply photos but a movement within that photo repeats. For example, a young woman blowing bubbles. These images are much easier to make than videos, so will likely show up a bit more than video backgrounds will. Designers can create these images in a program like Photoshop. While there aren’t a lot of designers using cinemagraphs in their main designs, there are some around the Web using them to highlight a product or a specific article. You can see several examples of excellent ad designs on 99 Designs.
One thing is certain as the year moves forward; there will be more designers pushing the envelope and design will grow more and more realistic.
Here’s the full infographic:
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.