To be a successful designer you need to be aware of current and future trends. Even though our field is in a constant state of flux, most trends stick around for a few years before feeling dated. This means you have the luxury of being picky on what trends you want to follow. However, if you can be at the forefront of upcoming trends, you’ll be able to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.
To help you get ahead of your competition, here are my predictions of design trends in 2017.
Note: Links to Creative Market are affiliate links.
Over the last few years designs have embraced thin fonts and soft colors. This resulted in designs trading legibility for aesthetics. In fact, Squarespace is a perfect example of this design philosophy.
The legibility costs of these designs can have unforeseen consequences when it comes to how effective a design can generate leads, monetize, etc., and people are taking notice. Because of this, I’m confident we’ll start to see a shift to higher contrast designs. In the end, usability > aesthetics.
If you want to learn more, this article does a great explaining why contrast is important and provides tips for your designs.
Larger, larger, larger
Going hand in hand with higher contrast, is the use of large text, images, etc. More and more designs are starting to use larger text to increase legibility and improve the user experience. One of the first things I noticed about Aleberry is how large the text is (not just the H1 text). Every aspect of the website includes large text that is easy to read on any screen.
Flat design merges with Google Material design
For year people have been saying Google’s material design is going to become popular, and every year they’re wrong. I personally don’t see material design ever becoming popular. However, elements of it will start to creep into designs. Subtle drop shadows will be critical to create visual hierarchy for flat designs. Taco Bell is a great example of using drop shadows with a flat design.
Sans-serifs will continue to dominate designs, but there will be a big push for script and hand-drawn fonts in designs, especially in more “personal” brands. You can see this trend on design product websites such as Creative Market, Designbundles.net, and The Hungry JPEG. When you look at the most popular fonts on each website, at least 7 of the 9 items are a script or hand-drawn font.
Gradients + Bold Colors
Instagram caught a lot of flack for their rebrand last year but gradients are going to grow in popularity. Also, bold colors will make an impact this year, and for some companies it will be their primary color (not just an accent).