2012 was an amazing year in digital design. With the world of mobile and tablets growing in exciting and often unpredictable directions, the web continues to dynamically transform the way we think and interact. New ideas and fresh solutions are constantly coming to life, changing the digital landscape and defining new styles. With so much “new” happening, 2013 is sure to invite in some thrilling new trends. Exciting things are right around the corner, and we can’t wait for the year to start!
As we venture into 2013, here’s a list of 5 hot web design trends you need to know about.
Typography has been freed! The dominance of fonts like Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman has significantly decreased in recent years, inviting the use of creative custom fonts. By today and into 2013, typography is becoming an integral part of any web design, determining the way information is represented, enhancing messages and adding subliminal meaning. Next year, we’re expecting to see designs that use custom typography to enrich websites, often replacing the use of images.
This complicated word is actually something you encounter on a daily basis. Skeuomorphism is a design style that imitates an artifact or a material. In other words,it means making things look like other things. In the digital world, Skeuomorphism has been widely used on iOS. The iPhone calculator app, for example, literally looks like a real-world calculator. Same goes for the Notes app which looks like a regular old yellow notepad, complete with lines, margins and all. This approach is part of the reason that Apple products feel so natural and intuitive to use. Skeuomorphism will continue into 2013 and you can expect to see plenty of real life objects making their way into the digital experience.
“Microsoft Design Language”, aka “Metro”, is the new wave sweeping across web design. Solid color combinations, text-based buttons, 2D blocks of flat, bright tiles that represent various programs, are all part of this design language. Metro was partly inspired by signs commonly found at public transport systems and partly by the principals of classic Swiss graphic design. It is minimalistic, sporting an interface that goes back to the basics and offers simple, uncluttered environments to users.
Metro design is basically the opposite of Skeuomorphism, presenting elements that look nothing like real life. In the coming year, Windows 8 will become much more common in our technological surroundings, and we expect to see this design approach influencing the way people design and think the web.
Pinterest burst into huge popularity in late 2011 and the past year in web design was largely influenced by the clean, orderly look of the dynamic grid layout. Additional names for this layout include “masonry layout”, “tile layout”, or “brick layout”. A main characteristic of this design arrangement is that each tile has dynamic size, whether in width or height, and all tiles are ordered to fill in every blank space available. On a Pinterest board, each tile has a dynamic height while all the tiles are always in the same width. The content, largely composed of images, is presented on a scrolling collage that clearly de-emphasizes text. The focus here is on beautiful images, placed into sticky-note sized blocks. With the great success Pinterest is enjoying, this trend is expected to grow and develop well into 2013.
Stock photos of cliché or overused metaphors are out (unless you use them ironically). Authentic and innovative images are becoming a vital part of any successful site. Our tech savvy eyes have grown mature as we’re moving away from all too familiar images of pretty people with perfect teeth. Original photos of a company’s employees or team members are welcome, as well as captivating images of your building or facilities, or images of real life people using you products. Custom hand-drawn illustrations and designs are great as well, as the combination of digital design with hand crafted art never gets old. 2013 will be filled with real-life images and unique visuals, even cooky ones like this:
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