If you’re into the history of graphic design in America, you may know that design trends were once set by handful of talented and well-known artists whose work found its way into the mainstream – and into everyday life. Everyone knew them: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstenstein, and Peter Max, and LeRoy Neiman to name a few. Baby boomers were in elementary school. The computer (a mainframe, no less) was in its infancy and the tools these trendsetters were using were rudimentary.
Fast forward a half century and look where we are. Everyone has access to multiple computers, smart phones and other digital devices. Millennials are in the driver’s seat. And most important, the tools of the trade are readily available to independent and corporate designers who are pushing them to the max. These talented designer/technologists (many of them millennials) are setting new web design trends and using the Internet, social media and traditional product development to impact design in daily life.
DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS MAKE THEIR MARK
Yes, we will be getting into website design trends and design trends in general, but that’s putting the cart before the horse. In fact, any discussion of today’s design trends must begin with a discussion of purchase power. And in case you haven’t noticed, the millennials are on the rise (kind of like the evolution of The Planet of the Apes sequels!) For the first time, these 20-27 year olds are moving from dependents and have-nots to discretionary spending “haves.” According to a recent study by T. Rowe Price, millennials are outpacing baby boomers in both spending and saving.
Millennials include the hipsters who have been called the sponges of society, soaking up what they felt they were entitled to - but they are also honest and simple in their outlook and style.
They are also the progeny of Steve Jobs whose Apple Computer is still one of the most influential design firms on earth. And they are technologists whose website design trends and electronic gaming development are responsible for creating the designs that create the demand for new products and services.
And if you don’t think that we’re in the midst of a major paradigm change, just think about the acquisition of major retailers by e-tailers. Look no further than Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. What will this mean? Certainly, the masters of the online experience will be bringing their show to retail. Signage, store design and the whole in-store experience will “be a changin’’” to the match website design trends.
ORNATE MINIMALISM AND OTHER DESIGN TRENDS
So how does all this socio-economic trending affect website design trends and design trends in general? Our own analysis reveals that the often contradictory values of the next generation are being expressed through design.
Overall, the next generation likes simplicity, authenticity, naturalness, honesty and relevance. At the same time, they see things on multiple levels, through various prisms, so they can handle a degree of complexity.
Earlier we spoke about the hipster influence, which represents the values just mentioned. In fact, Hipsters are the embodiment of ornate minimalism, where the obsession with dramatic haute coiffure provides a wonderful and effective contrast to intentional messiness.
Apple, the paragon of website design trends, is a perfect example of ornate minimalism. Yes, Apple has remained true to the simplicity of its iconic logo and the use of white space across all media – digital and print. But within that minimal space, Apple has introduced a degree of ornateness in the design and digital and print promotion to its full product line.
If we look at trendsetting logos, the most basic expression of a company’s soul and design sense, look no further than the simplicity and bold color of the Airbnb.com logo or the minimal, yet colorfully textured logo and pages of brandcast.com (yet another technology company).
Tesla’s zen-like logo and website design uses clean typography and bold images to establish itself as a game changer in auto design and engineering.
THE INSTAGRAM PHENOMENON
No company has done a better job of staying ahead of the design curve than Instagram. Simply looking at their logo evolution shows where design is trending.
GET IN THE GAME
When you talk about the influence of website design trends, you can’t overlook the power of gaming. In 2017, the digital gaming industry continues to attract some of the most gifted graphic designers. They are the trendsetters and techy designers who are influencing web design trends by creating products that drive demand and create communities of intense loyalty.
For a great example of ornate minimalism, check out monumentvalleygame.com for their mind-bending use of minimalism, amazing colors and basic shapes.
Or how about themeshgame.com and its origami-influenced design that is both simple and complex. Don’t believe there’s a link between website and gaming design and the mass media? Watch the commercials of at least one major financial institution – hardly a design early adapter – influenced by themeshgame.com style.
SOME DESIGN TREND TAKEAWAYS
If you can’t follow up on the information provided in this article, here’s a summary of web design trends and cross-media design trends:
- Minimalist rules, coupled with the introduction of the ornate use of color and texture in products and websites.
- Muted colors will give way to bright, bold colors combined in new and adventurous ways
- Multiculturism and globalism will exert their influence.
- Authentic, honest images will show real people in their various shapes and sizes.
- The use of typography will be heavily influenced by what works best online and on mobile devices. The trend is to larger fonts, unexpected combinations of fonts and colors, handcrafted fonts that fulfill that natural and authentic trend, as well as geometrics. (Think Peter Max and Roy Lichtenstein retro.)
GET ON TREND – ON US
As a cutting edge logo design company, web design company and full-service marketing agency, Simply180 is offering a limited number of free graphic design/brand audits or consultations every month. We’ll take a look at your corporate website, digital media and offline marketing materials and make some recommendations.
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