As a digital medium, web design is far more subject to shifts in technology than its traditional print forbearers. But we’re now 18 years into the new millennium, so that’s no surprise, is it? What is surprising is the way web designers have continued to cope with increasing technical challenges and still manage to create sites that are user-friendly, clear and innovative, consistent with the corporate style, adaptable to every conceivable device and just plain beautiful all at once.

2017 saw many advancements, including the mobile usage finally overtaking desktop browsing. This means 2018 is going to have to fully utilize mobile functionality in ways we’ve never seen before while desktops must continue to evolve to stay relevant. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some notable web design trends coming poised to take over in 2018.

9 web design trends to watch in 2018

  1. Drop shadows & depth
  2. Color schemes
  3. Particle backgrounds
  4. Mobile first
  5. Custom illustrations
  6. Big, bold typography
  7. Grid layouts
  8. Integrated animations
  9. Dynamic gradients


1. Drop shadows and depth

The use of shadows is not new, so why mention it? Although shadows have been a staple of web design for quite a while, thanks to the progress of web browsers, we now see some exciting variations. With grids and parallax layouts, web designers are playing with shadows more than ever to create depth and the illusion of a world beyond the screen. This is a direct reaction to the flat design trend that was popular in years past.
Shadowplay creates a surprisingly versatile effect that increases not only the aesthetics of a web page, but also helps User Experience (UX) by providing emphasis. For example, using soft, subtle shadows as hover states to designate a link is not a new idea, but combining them with vibrant color gradients (more on that later) like the examples above enhances the three dimensional effect of the old shadows.

2. Vibrant, saturated color schemes

2018 is definitely the year for super excess colors online. While in the past many brands and designers were stuck with web-safe colors, more designers are becoming courageous in their approach to color—including supersaturation and vibrant shades combined with headers that are no longer just horizontal but reimagined with slashes and hard angles.

This is partly helped by technological advances in monitors and devices with screens that are more suitable for reproducing richer colors. Vibrant and even clashing colors can be useful for newer brands hoping to instantly attract their visitors’ attention, but it is also perfect for brands who want to set themselves apart the ‘web-safe’ and the traditional.

3. Particle backgrounds

Particle backgrounds are a great solution to performance issues websites run into with a video background. These animations are lightweight javascript that allow movement to be created as a natural part of the background, all without taking too long to load.
They say that an image says more than thousand words, and a moving one certainly does. Similarly, particle backgrounds immediately attract the user’s attention, so brands can create a memorable impression of themselves in only a few seconds. Additionally, motion graphics like these are becoming more and more popular on social media, providing eye-popping leads back to landing pages.

4. Mobile first

As mentioned earlier, mobile browsing has now officially surpassed desktop. Almost everyone these days shops and orders on their smartphone. In the past, this was a clunky process that users were not as quick to adopt. Designers puzzled: how do we get a decent menu, submenu and subsubmenu on a small screen?

But now mobile design has matured. The roll-out burger has become established, minimizing the menu for the small screen. You might have to ditch large, beautiful photos your client sends you in the mobile version, but icons are much more economical in terms of space and have become so common that the user has no trouble understanding them. And UX issues have become easier to identify and fix with micro-interactions getting you immediate feedback on your users actions.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

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