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Trend Today. Trend Tomorrow.

By Shaun Culbertson | January 22, 2019


Be assured designers, there will be a trend today and a trend tomorrow. If you stick around long enough, you’ll recognize a lot of them.

Design trends are both new and old. I know this because I have been in the industry long enough to notice. I like reading Behance’s design trends because they are typically accurate and inspiring at the same time. But yesterday’s trends also emerge as new trends, even after designers get tired of them. Check out Behance’s post below about 2019 Design Trends. I’m interested in hearing you’re thoughts.

Trends I Love:

  1. Bold Fonts Instead of Images – This one I really like. Even though my college design training was based mostly on typography, these days it will be hard for me. Somewhere along the way in my career I began to almost exclusively design layouts whose central focus was a photograph or video. It became expected. Which is why I think this trend provides the most reward for me. With so many more fonts designed for digital monitors and working alongside talented font designers like Anna Richard, I see how a purposeful font choice with a single word and color can carry as much emotional appeal as an image.
  2. Asymmetry/Negative Space – I blended these two together because they go hand and hand. This one brings me back to my early design days when I was taught Swiss Design. Between then and now, the digital canvass has become a dominant force in the way most of us work. We’ve had to design in vertical, narrow layouts that involve some sort of scrolling mechanism that reveals more content above and below when an interaction occurs. I think I can speak for most designers that aligning everything center becomes somewhat redundant, even if it is practical. But since web development has evolved and we understand more about audience, design experiences work differently on different devices. For a desktop computer it could be an asymmetrical layout but in mobile, it could be symmetrical.
  3. Broken Grid & Overlapping Elements – The best! I think being able to break a grid while effectively overlapping all or many of the design elements separates the best designers. Okay, I don’t do it very often but, given the right opportunity, oh yeah I would do it. It takes a more edgy design character, one who is willing to take chances. I have found that when I achieve this, it’s usually not on purpose. Rather it’s often the result of a happy accident, like dragging a layer out of a masked layer.

Trends I Disagree With:

  1. Mobile First – This UX/UI design trend seems a little outdated. But it is making a come back due to Google’s algorithm change in July 2018.  Almost a decade ago, when smartphones surfaced as the new way to browse the web, designers started talking about mobile first design. Mobile first became an obvious decision. But UX statistics are primarily based on a retail shopping experience with big brands. Since working in the behavioral health space I’ve learned that not everyone treats their online research the same way. They don’t search for a treatment center the same way they buy a new pair of shoes. Most treatment center or health-related searches happen when people have downtime sitting at a computer. Most websites we have assessed show that most of the visitors still find resources using a desktop computer or a larger screen.
  2. Natural Looking Photos – I’m very surprised about this one. Mainly because I’ve never known candid photos to be a trend. More often they are a style within a brand’s marketing. I’ve been an art director for many years now and know the difference between when I would suggest to a client photos that are candid versus photos that contain people looking directly at the camera. Candid shots convey positive energy and happy emotions while photos that look staged or have people looking directly into the camera portray a sense of dominance and strength. Recommending one of these two directions I wouldn’t really classify as a trend. They are more purposeful.
  3. Video Background – This trend has been on the list every year since the very first data point was revealed that conversion rates increase with video. I remember as long as 5 years ago applying video to loop in the background of web pages. Don’t get me wrong, I totally push for a video to be applied in backgrounds when the situation is right. But, I think Video Background being listed as a design trend is like saying Skinny Jeans are a fashion trend in 2019.

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Shaun Culbertson

Shaun is our Digital Design Director. He directs the design and development of all our digital work and positions the creative in all digital channels. Shaun offers our clients more than fifteen years of digital experience. Extremely detail-oriented and design-focused, Shaun always looks to take the design to the next level. Before arriving at dR, Shaun worked as Senior Art Director at Adcom and Art Director at Rosetta. He has worked on several Fortune 500 brands, including Sherwin-Williams, Marriott International, and Rigid Tools.Outside of work, Shaun is an avid backpacker, dog lover, and aspiring Polaroid artist.

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