Design in every aspect of life reflects the culture beneath it – influencing and being influenced in turn in a cycle of creative and productive trends. The only thing that’s certain about design in every field is that what’s hot and modern today will be cold and old-fashioned tomorrow.
That makes trends the hardest part of any design effort. The best-case scenario is to see trends coming and be in the forefront; not only does this make you look modern and forward-thinking, it also means you get to enjoy the full-throated benefit of the trends hot phase. The worst-case scenario is leaping into a trend just as its petering out, making you look like an also-ran, and making your site look old even though you just redesigned it.
It’s a new year, and that means new trend cycles. Here’s one trend you should resist, because it’s already overdone, and one trend you should get in on immediately.
Trend to Avoid: Huge Background Images
Animated or not, you’re likely seeing a lot of web pages out there with massive scrolling background images. These are dramatic and eye-catching, and for the moment they mark your web design as thoroughly modern. The problem is, they’re modern in a 2014 sense, and it’s 2015.
This design trick is already way overused and way over-familiar. It’s grown so popular so quickly, it makes people think you’re working with a template of some sort, because even though the background images are all different the approach allows for so little personalization and customization it comes off as generic. Walk away from this trend before it drags you down with it in the coming months.
Trend to Use: Material Design
Google’s Material Design concept is poised to take the web design world by storm. Like all great design, the basic concept is simple and bold: Combine the look and feel and old-school reliability of paper and ink with the power and flexibility of digital.
The design aesthetic attached to the concept is all about bold: It’s about contrasting colors that make objects jump off the screen, graphical icons and other artwork that are representative without being literal, and large-scale everything: Fonts, images, and design elements. Animation is a big part, too, but Google’s design vision calls for the animation used to be smooth and elegant, with a lot of thought and planning behind it.
This concept screams modernity and is likely to become a key component of modern web design for some time, meaning it’s the ideal trend to jump into; you’ll be benefiting from a look that feels of-the-moment for a long time to come.
There’s never any guarantee when it comes to design trends; what seems fresh and exciting today can seem played-out and dull tomorrow. The key is to lead the trends as much as possible, and not get mired in a trend that’s going to peter out and abandon you. A good designer knows how to navigate these rocky waters and produce lasting designs that stand the test of time.