The web design landscape is always changing. Since the infancy of the internet, multiple trends have come and gone, with websites that were ‘cutting-edge’ yesterday appearing vastly outdated today. As a small/medium business owner, you should know that your professional website is one the most effective marketing tools you can have (see Why Your Outdated Website Design Is Hurting Your Business). If it’s been five years or more, chances are you’re due for a refresh. Here’s a list of the most noticeable trends in web design we’ve seen making their mark in 2017 – and who knows, perhaps they’ll inspire you to tackle your own web design project this year.
Bold custom typography trends in web design
One thing is for sure: big, bold typography never goes out of fashion. In fact, it’s one of those trends that just seems to keep improving with time. There is a huge array of web typefaces available to download from sites like DaFont and Font Squirrel, but that doesn’t stop designers from taking matters into their own hands and creating something totally bespoke when the need calls for it.
- Novelty typefaces have never been more popular, and it’s refreshing, as we’ve seen plenty of the same sans serif options used again and again. Move over Helvetica – it’s time to embrace something a little more adventurous
- Whether you like the vintage look or something more artistic, there are lots of ways to add panache to a web design with creative lettering. Check out the rustic aesthetic we went for when designing the Deer Stalkers Club website, and think about what your typography says about you and your business
Mobile is a priority
Mobile-first design is an increasingly popular process, and there are many good reasons for that. For instance, did you know that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers (Source)? And that one-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet (Source)? Thus mobile optimisation is increasingly important for web design: so much so that many designers now start with the mobile version and work up to desktop, rather than the other way around. This is because much of what works perfectly well on a large screen doesn’t translate to a smaller device.
So what are the benefits of mobile-first design? The first and most obvious is that your website will look flawless on mobile, where more and more of your visitors will find you. The second is that it forces you to do away with anything unnecessary and get to the core of your offering – since too much content will clutter a smaller page. You can really tell the websites that have not been built with their mobile pageview in mind; they’re the ones with reams of text and tiny little buttons. (also read: Mobile Marketing Trends for 2015)
More authentic photography
Ah – the crass and terrible stock photo. We still see them out there, lurking on sadly outdated websites: businessmen shaking hands, carefree women laughing at salad, customer service reps wearing massive headsets. But luckily, they are on the decline. As customers, we crave authenticity, and nothing says ‘faking it’ like quite like a cheesy stock photo.
- Photography is making its comeback in 2017 and with it plenty of good stock image sites that offer appealing, natural pictures. Pexels and Unsplash are two good examples. But what more business owners are also coming to realise is that every image on your website should serve a purpose, and say something about who you are and what you do. Check out this great guide to DIY product photography.
- Pikwizard is an excellent new addition to the stock photography family. It features over 100,000 high-quality images, with 20,000 of these completely exclusive to Pikwizard. There is also no attribution required on any of these images. What makes Pikwizard stand out however is its high-quality images of people, which are few and far between on the best stock photography websites.
- Don’t feel you should stick exclusively to stock photography – photos of your team and your office culture help to humanise your brand and build trust between you and your web visitors. Be yourselves
Minimal homepages trends in web design
In the past, heavier homepages with lots and lots of content have been very popular, filling every inch of space with text, images, banners and buttons. No more! Minimal web design is taking the industry by storm: think lots of white space, scrollable pages (so you can still get everything you want on there) and strategically placed text and imagery.
- With minimal design, everything has room to breathe. Images and bold typography stand out more. Your call to action screams to be clicked. Your products look better. Minimal design looks clean and modern – just what every good business wants to portray
- Check out what we created for Black Mountain Modern for minimalist inspiration.
Sure, web animation is nothing new. But what designers and developers choose to do with it can turn your website from vaguely average to seamless and interesting. Soft, subtle animation sequences can transform how it feels to use a website when carefully planned to enrich your structure and transitions.
- If you decide you’d like to include animation on your website, it should be considered and thought out from the beginning – not tacked on as random effects at the end. If it’s not integral, you might as well do away with it
- Remember, everything you build into your web design must be justified. Take a look at the clever animation used on this parking lot website. It totally makes the page – but it’s not over-the-top. Just what a sophisticated web design should be
As trends in web design continually evolve, web designers are getting much better at learning to deal with different platforms. DIY web builders get a lot of business owners part of the way there, but many still require the extra help and support that only a trained creative professional web design agency can provide. At Studio 72, we stay abreast of what’s happening in the industry to bring you cutting-edge web design that will impress and delight your customers.
Patrick Foster: Freelance Web Specialist & Emarketer
As a business owner and digital marketer, I understand the power and impact of your business’s web presence and am interested in everything from design and UX to content and marketing. I write for a range of online publications worldwide and also for my website, EcommerceTips.org.