Ready or not, 2019 is here, and that means a host of new design trends, strategies and players will be entering the field. If you actively practice your craft, you know staying ahead of the curve is necessary to land new clients. Individuals and businesses alike are always looking for new ways to give their websites more pop.

In light of that, here are some promising trends that will undoubtedly rise to the top this year. Many of them, you’ll notice, do away with conventional measures and limitations because the devices of today are much more powerful and capable.

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1. Down With the Grid

While browsing the web today, you’ll notice something almost instantly: Websites have become unbound from the grid-based designs of yesterday. It might seem chaotic and unpolished at first glance, but some stunning designs have grown out of this movement.

 

TechStyle Assymetrical Design

 

Similar asymmetrical designs abound with more vivid and colourful layouts. They demand attention and focus, and they certainly attract it. The idea behind it is not merely to break outside the box, but to invoke a more dynamic and lifelike experience.

Examples: TechStyle, Basecamp, TheVerge

 

 

2. Bolder Typography

You can add a bit of style and colour to text, but it’s still relatively bland. It doesn’t have to be, though, and that’s certainly the driving factor behind a major typographical trend. Web designers and developers alike are now using stronger, more unique fonts that demand attention.

 

Mulher Bold Typography

Everything from handwritten and unique fonts to eye-catching 3D script are making an appearance, and it’s fantastic.

Examples: Pinch Studio, Mulher 3D Type, Arkipelago

 

 

3. Contrasting Color Schemes: Light and Dark, Warm and Moody

Light and dark. Vivid and grayscale. Black and white. Many companies and designers are now including contrasting colour schemes in their designs, and it works brilliantly. What makes this approach so excellent when it comes to design is that you can take a template and add different styles to it merely by swapping the colours.

 

Reddit Contrasting Color Schemes

 

One design might include a black-and-white style, while a separate version of that same template includes contrasting colour and grayscale versions. This method even adds a layer of customization to the design, allowing clients to choose which version or style they prefer. It’s born of the idea that light schemes work best during the day, and dark ones work best at night in low-light conditions.

Examples: Twitter, YouTube, Reddit

 

4. Authentic Imagery

Overly staged stock photos are out. With the rise of the smartphone, the number of people who have access to a camera has skyrocketed, meaning stock photo companies are adapting to create more authentic-looking images in order to compete.

Sites such as Pikwizard have listened to consumers’ needs and now strive to provide fresh, convincing images rather than staged and bland-looking imagery of the past.

 

Frui.it Authentic Images

 

The negative associations previously held by creative design agencies and web designers towards stock photos are beginning to fade. Rather than avoiding stock imagery altogether, designers are becoming more selective in their choices by favoring authentic-looking images over staged ones.

Examples: Fru.it, Goat Locker Brewing, Mazda

 

5. Interactive Media Players

 

Gusto's Interactive Media Play

 

While they are especially fitting for artists and music labels, we’re seeing a lot more media players and streaming content hit the web. Gusto Play is a stunning example of this trend in action, as the entire site design, from top to bottom, showcases the studio’s pre-compiled playlist.

Media content, in general, is making a dramatic splash across the industry, with videos playing in the background, auto-play music and playlists and even streaming content from YouTube and similar platforms taking center stage. Not only are the devices we carry more capable, but people are also much more willing to take part in an audio/visual experience.

Examples: Bastille/Spotify, Gusto Play, Audiograph

 

 

6. Wide, Connected Designs

For the most part, a design element starts and ends in a confined section or grid. A photo, for example, doesn’t extend beyond its borders and remains limited to one specific section. But much like we see in business thanks to wide-format printing — which plays a huge role in how companies communicate their messages — we’re also seeing web design elements extending beyond conventional borders.

That could entail an image that extends beyond its boundaries, like the tip of a tree or top of a building outside the frame. Or, it can be an extended banner that incorporates additional photos and images across the page.

 

Bewegen Connected Design

 

The example above provides a beautiful scene, but it also helps convey much more personality than a single, confined photo or image. Throw a bit of three-dimensional context in, and you have the makings of awe-inspiring aesthetics.

Examples: Bewegen, Mathieu Levesque, iFly 50

 

 

7. Jay Gatsby Is Back: The Rise of Art Deco

Once again, we’re nearing the roaring ’20s, only this time in the 21st century. It makes perfect sense that art deco imagery is making a huge comeback, in web design and graphic arts especially. Many retro styles are returning to the fold, with art deco standing front and center.

 

Svart Ink Art Deco Inspiration

 

This design style has had a significant influence regarding both visuals and typography, with unique sans-serif fonts appearing here and there and fascinatingly intricate geometric patterns and shapes consuming modern imagery.

Examples: Svart Ink, Dickey Boats, Irrational Games

 

 

8. More Complex Gradients, or “Duotones”

Gradients, or colour transitions, serve as a colour scheme that fades across an element. One gradient might go from red to blue, for example, or from a lighter red to a darker red. They have been in use for years, but have also grown more popular recently.

 

Bruno Pego Gradient Design

 

More specifically, chunkier duotone fades have seemingly exploded across the design industry, with complex themes well beyond anything we’ve seen in the past. Designers and developers alike are finding new ways to mesh disparate colors in a striking, bold gradient.

Examples: Bruno Pego, Spotify Wrapped, USA Today Geex Arts

 

 

9. Colour-Injected Minimalism

Usually, when you think about minimalist design, you’d imagine a lot of white space with, well, actual white space separating elements and text. Minimal design is still very much alive today, only it’s now incorporating a wide variety of colours and styles beyond plain white. The past year or so has completely redefined the term “white space” to mean just about any colour.

 

Stilt Media Minilmalist

 

Designs are still pared-down, efficient and clean. The foundational elements of minimal design exist and are as strong as ever. The most significant difference is that the colours have been turned on their head, with vivid pinks, blues and similar tones taking the spotlight.

Examples: Silt Media, Five/Four, The Curious Agency

 

 

10. Nontraditional Scrolling

Parallax scrolling is a polarizing topic: Some people love it, while others hate it just as much. That has no bearing on how its popularity has exploded in recent years, because it provides an incredibly dynamic and interactive user experience.

It’s also spurred experimentation with other forms of nontraditional scrolling. More importantly, we’re seeing a lot of nuanced animation and design elements meant to complement a user’s movements across or up and down a page.

 

ACES Non-Traditional Scrollling

 

ACES Baseball Inc. is an excellent view of this in action. As you scroll down, elements scroll onto the page from the right-hand side, creating a captivating visual element.

Examples: ACES Baseball Inc., Le-Mugs, McWhopper

 

 

11. Adding Depth: Isometrics, Shadows and More

To give a design more weight, many are turning to the addition of elements like drop shadows, isometrics and more. Drop shadows, for example, are an incredibly simple visual component that help give buttons or boxes added depth. Isometrics involve turning 2D and flat imagery into a 3D-like component through visual accents. For example, think about how you add sides and shadows to a cube when drawing it out on flat paper.

 

Mortgage Hub Added Depth

 

To give certain elements a little more focus, designers are taking to using depth in new ways. Expect to see a lot of this throughout the coming year, as designs change to include much more complex layouts and elements.

Examples: Mortgage Hub, Clearbit, ScaleAPI

 

Are You Ready?

2019 is sure to be an interesting and exciting year for graphic and web design. Thanks to increasingly powerful devices and software platforms, developers can take full advantage of the added power and functionality. That has made for some incredibly beautiful and dynamic website and designs well beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.

Even more exciting, however, is the point that innovation is rampant, which means many more trends — some we have yet to imagine — may bubble to the surface.

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