The design world is constantly evolving. In fact, today’s trends might already be yesterday’s news! Many design trends relate to advances in technology. Technology changes the way we communicate, learn information, and lead our everyday lives. It also plays a crucial role in web design.
You’ve probably noticed that certain design features are preferred at certain times. What people consider to be attractive today has changed from five years ago. It is exhausting to keep up with the trends, but essential as a design professional.
Let’s explore how web design trends have changed over the years and the ways you can successfully adapt to a rapidly changing, yet highly rewarding, industry.
Web Design in 2004-2009
Although the first website was created in 1991, it wasn’t until the mid-2000’s that web layouts became a “thing.” At this time, more websites began including drop-down menus to accommodate large quantities of text. Web designers also realized that their websites would be better understood by the browsers if the information was categorized.
Scrolling was not a popular practice during this time. Webpages were short, the colors were drab, and many sites were written in Flash. HTML was limited back in 2004, and Flash granted websites more freedom. Today, websites are encouraged to avoid Flash because of its incompatibility with iOS.
Moving on to 2010-2015
As more businesses developed websites, the competition grew stronger. This is what led to design being more cutting-edge and advanced than ever before. In fact, the full color spectrum was experimented with, and no color was left untouched.
Another big change was the addition of mobile devices. With more people using tablets and smartphones, websites needed to be compatible with all devices. At first, two options were available: a responsive website or a dedicated mobile site. Responsive web designs have since become the top pick, as they are simpler and more cost-effective to support.
Additionally, websites have taken on unique styles and designs as brands fight for distinctiveness. Some of the most popular design trends from this period have included video backgrounds, single color backgrounds, parallax scrolling, and the use of infographics to deliver information. Many of these trends remain popular today.
The Past Two Years: 2016 and 2017
Over the last two years, design trends have continued to dazzle and inspire. Responsive websites are widely popular because they adapt to all screen sizes. Web owners need the reassurance that their websites will offer a positive user experience regardless of the device being using.
To accommodate mobile users, many of today’s web designs feature minimal text, unique navigational panels, large fonts, high-resolution images, and intuitive forms. Rather than filling up your screen with unnecessary information, or “fluff,” websites do a better job streamlining the user experience while still leaving visitors feeling complete.
Looking Ahead to 2018 and Beyond
As we look toward the future, one thing is certain: web design will continue to evolve. Some experts have suggested that websites will become an art form as opposed to a service. Rather than people stopping by to check out your product or service, they might visit for an experience that is full of beautiful imagery, friendly faces, and great storytelling.
Navigational changes will also take place. Each year, websites require less clicking, fewer words to read, and fewer pages to dig through. It’s possible that websites will continue to get simpler, to the point that one or two sentences will be enough on a home page. With more and more people using mobile devices, web design will be influenced by these users and what they find conducive to their lives.
How to Stay Relevant
Being in the design industry is gratifying, but it can also be unsettling when you see many new changes and new faces. How do you stay relevant in the graphic design industry? Is there a way that you can balance your experience and expertise with the fresh trends of the digital world?
Yes! It all starts with a desire to learn and grow! Here are a few tips.
Move Outside Your Comfort Zone
It’s nice to feel comfortable in your role, but comfort can also thwart your growth. Expand out and discover new things. You can take a class at your library or volunteer for a cause that is important to you. The purpose of getting out there and trying new things is to broaden your skills and experience.
Feed Your Brain
With online articles and blog posts, there is no shortage of material to satisfy your hunger for new information. If you are not much of a reader, try an audiobook or podcast instead; they are great ways to break up your commute to work. Other ways to keep your mind going strong include crossword puzzles, word searches, and time management games.
Network with Peers
Networking is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It’s important to continue meeting new people. Conferences and conventions are great places to connect with people who come from all backgrounds and experience levels. Young designers can teach you the lingo, while veteran designers can share their wisdom and experience, including the unwritten rules of design.
Be Confident in Your Role
No matter how old you get, you still have a valuable role in the industry. There are things that you have learned that others have not. You know what works and what doesn’t, which presentation skills get you further, and how to work well with others. Acknowledge that you have a wealth of information to share with others and be proud of your placement in the industry.
We may be biased, but choosing the design industry as your career path was definitely the right move. It’s an exciting adventure that brings new innovations all the time. To ensure that you stay relevant as the trends change, follow our suggestions above. But don’t forget: design experience is never obsolete.