A website is still the crown jewel of a company’s online marketing initiative. How many times a day do you say, “Just check our website” or “We want to drive people to the website.” It’s natural because that’s the place where your story is. Your past, your future. Your products, your e-commerce. Plus, your website is always open and represents you when you can’t be physically present yourself.
But is your website doing what you had hoped it would? Is it tired? Is it functional? Is it converting visitors? Maybe it just needs a refresh for the new year. I’ve identified five web design trends to kick off 2018 to make sure your site says you’re more than ready for business.
For 2018, animation is very much in. Animation brings a brand’s story to life quickly and is especially effective when drawing visitors to the home page. It can communicate complex messages easily and in ways that viewers can grasp right away. Animation can also help portray a brand as digital savvy because it shares its story in a dynamic way.
Specific animation tactics that will show up in 2018 are animated logos and GIFs. Animating a logo helps a brand bring even more life to its persona and can be powerful and engaging when executed properly. The proliferation of design tools with simplified interfaces opens up the execution of animation to greater audiences and more companies.
While some brands will ramp up their animation, others will make typography their tool for garnering attention and pulling visitors in. Typography has always been present on websites, but we’re talking about fonts with more personality that take more visual presence on a page. Typography will also be ramped up in size, taking on the role of other graphics and visuals, essentially becoming a visual entity on its own. Some brands are already experimenting with typography and using only one font throughout the whole site. This varies from former style guidelines, which encouraged at least two or three different fonts, but some like the minimalism and simplicity that using only one font portrays.
2018 will be the year of disruption. Using bold, contrasting colors will symbolize what’s going on. The trend for putting together two or more colors that don’t seem compatible will strengthen as the year extends. New design tools like Khroma are helping designers experiment and take risks they might have shied away from in the past. They’re sharing bold representations for brands and showing the world that colors have incredible emotional impact and are vital in telling a brand story and capturing its persona.
For years, websites were designed on grids to create visually balanced and pleasing layouts. But disruption is the name of the game in 2018 and pages will now be designed to be asymmetrical with all the rules for grids tossed aside. How well this trend is embraced will depend on the brand and the persona it is trying to convey. Financial institutions may be more hesitant to look jumbled and off-center while some retail brands could wear it beautifully.
Web designers have been working on mobile-friendly designs for a few years but 2018 will see even more focus on mobile. Mobile browsing surpassed desktop in 2017, which means that brands will start to prioritize mobile in their design and usability efforts. Given that new focus, designers will be able to design more fluid and intuitive experiences, leading to more sophisticated and elegant solutions. And because simple intuitive experiences convert better, more brands will opt for this movement toward improved mobile design. Designers will continue to evolve their work to incorporate great user experiences while maintaining brand integrity.
Just when we think there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to website design, we’re greeted by new ways of looking at this valuable tool in the online marketing toolbox. Websites are workhorses, but they’re working smarter. It will be interesting to see how these web trends extend in 2018. I anticipate a nice blend of graphics and usability in these trends. Disruption and innovation just for the sake of being different have no place in the world of online marketing, but when it’s working toward brand goals to move the needle on sales, I’m all for it.