The world of web design is easily one of the most fluent, rapidly changing digital branches today and it affects us all in one way or another. Just look at the debates on the new Gmail redesign, and you’ll see some pretty heated arguments on both sides of the fence.
Trends come and go like the tides and seasons, and coincidentally, many trends are cyclical by nature.
The emergence of new tech also prompts new trends – as we’ve seen with flat design gaining prominence to better suit the world of mobile and tablets.
In this post, we’ll be talking about fresh trends, some cool tools to use in back-end and front-end development, new standards being implemented across the web, as well as how certain big players like Google and the EU shift entire industries, including web design.
- 1 Current Trends in Modern Web Design
- 2 Front-end Website Trends to Look Out for in 2019
- 3 Pro Tips for Making Cutting Edge Websites
- 4 Popular and Useful Web Design Tools and Services
- 5 The Most Appropriate Website Layout for Your Business
- 6 Impressive Homepage Designs to Consider in 2019
- 7 Dealing With the Trend of Long-form Blog Content in 2019
- 8 Web Typography & Popular Typefaces
- 9 Keeping Your Website Fluid and Responsive
- 10 And Yet Web Pages Are Still Getting Bigger?
- 11 Lessons From Google’s Gmail Redesign – the Good, the Bad & the Unnecessary
- 12 GDPR as a Web Developer’s Priority in 2019
- 13 Giant Steps From Old-school 90’s Web Design
- 14 Fresh Website Header Design Ideas for 2019
- 15 How to Stay Ahead of the Curve with Your Website in 2019
Current Trends in Modern Web Design
“Responsive” and “flat” would probably be the first terms to come to mind when describing what marks today’s web style.
With the rise of mobile devices and Google basically dictating standards, it’s no wonder that responsive and mobile-friendly websites are much more competitive on the search engine results page (SERP).
Here is a list of trends that have marked 2018 and are expected to survive deep into 2019, as well:
- Responsiveness – “Mobile First” design
- Art and illustrations – prime example: WeTransfer.com
- Gradients are making a comeback
- Customized icons
- Grid layouts (especially broken grids as of late)
- Brutalism and Minimalism
- Organic curves, and slanted details
- Polygons, shapes, and flat geometric patterns
- Pop up calls-to-action
Front-end Website Trends to Look Out for in 2019
Unique illustrations and geometry integration are sure to continue to rise in usage.
Depending on the industry, bold type is also going to be a prominent trend as it scales beautifully, adds a dramatic punch to the page, and is easily implementable. Not to mention, there’s an infinite selection of innovative, unique typefaces to choose from.
This sort of integrative approach to delivering a “punch” to the target audience works beautifully when combined with overall branding efforts, including the logo design itself.
Pair that with a dynamic video or integrated animation, and you have yourself a winning design that will certainly leave a lasting impression.
Pro Tips for Making Cutting Edge Websites
“Good design is as little design as possible” – Dieter Rams
This has been reiterated over and over again, but it’s often misunderstood as a treaty on minimalism and brutalism. This is the wrong interpretation, although thinking this way is justifiable since the quote is coming from a pure industrial designer.
What “as little design as possible” refers to is not the minimally viable product, but a warning not to fall into the mindset of overthinking simple concepts.
If you’re delivering a complex message, then there’s nothing wrong with intricate and complex designs.
But if you want to deliver content in the form of text – that goal takes precedence over everything else. Get the typography in order before thinking about colors, calls-to-action, and backgrounds.
Good design gets out of its own way to bring true usefulness to the end product – the content.
Sometimes, thinking about ways to speed up your site can do much more for the user experience than busting your head over trying out 5 different themes and color palettes. Investing actual time and money into providing the smoothest possible experience to the end user is what is seriously lacking in today’s web design.
Luckily, website speed and responsiveness are important ranking factors on Google, which means that many sites doing SEO certainly have to solve this issue if they want to rank high.
And everyone wants to get to that sweet sweet first page.
Ultimately, the #1 pro tip is to hire the best Web Design Company to create your own cutting edge site.
Popular and Useful Web Design Tools and Services
We’ve compiled a list of interesting tools and services that should help speed up any web designer’s workflow. This isn’t going to be a debate on Squarespace Vs. WordPress, or Wix Vs. Shopify. But some important updates are worth mentioning:
With the 2.5 version update, WordPress introduced a nifty feature called WooCommerce Shortcodes, for their extremely popular WooCommerce extension. The Shortcodes plugin allows you to simplify grid customization and more, by adding a drop-down button you can use for all your shortcodes.
“Google, but for colors”
Now to the fun stuff – Picular is a cute little sandbox for experimentation with themed color palettes. It displays a color palette based on search results upon entering a term, like “sailing”:
This tool is a match made in heaven for Picular. It works on a similar principle, but the suggested color palette is created based on a picture you input yourself. Think of it as “Google Image Search, but for colors.”
Google Web Designer
Believe it or not, Google actually did a half-decent job with this one, compared to the recent bad UX trends they’ve subscribed to.
(Looking at you, Gmail!)
With Google Web Designer it’s easy to produce a basic HTML5 website, but the tool also allows you to easily create nice ad banners very quickly.
Sharing screenshots, made easy. One of the best, if not the best, screenshot tools out there, and it’s free! Share your ideas and designs fast and easy with remote coworkers. Nagging your friends for feedback has never been easier.
This little gem has been around for a decade and it’s still in development, serving thousand upon thousands of web designers. Launching your ideas like rockets – this is probably one of the best prototyping tools a web designer can master – easily!
Optimize your images without the loss of quality – think mobile first! TinyPNG is a service that many web designers use. Free up to 20 images, 5 MB each, but the service offers a PRO version that removes these limitations.
This is an interesting wireframing tool that allows you to quickly mock up design frames any time, anywhere.
With version control and collaborative extensions like the Google Drive Add-On, unlock your creativity again, without having to jump through hoops or deal with details and distractions. The ultimate playground for wireframing and conceptual iterating.
The Most Appropriate Website Layout for Your Business
Templates and themes will save you a lot of headaches… but only if you pick the right one. Don’t be frightened, though. Really, there are only several rules to follow when picking a theme or layout for your business, and your choice will ultimately depend on:
- The type of business, or type of website you’re building. For example, use full-width content area for creative, and boxed-width area to achieve more of a ‘business’ feel, a traditional sort of look.
- The message you’re trying to send and your target audience. This is an important consideration as you can extract certain preferences for the profile of users you’re targeting and use that to cater to the majority. Remember, this may be your website, but your visitors and users are its lifeblood. If it exists solely for its own sake, it might as well not exist at all.
- How much time you have to experiment. Hint: you don’t have the time. Experimentation never ends. And neither do trends.
Based on these factors, you will consider using the appropriate font, page width, header, menu bar, color palette, imagery, and of course, let’s not forget the content. If you’re aiming at conversions – landing page copy is just as crucial as all of the other factors combined.
The Do’s and Don’ts of efficient, purpose-specific web design
|Experiment with custom icons, themes, various CMS’s and plugins.||Pick a CMS or platform that’s not suited for your type of business (or hobby).|
|Test! Use every available free test to find flaws, and fix them. Start with Google’s mobile-friendliness test.||Overdesign, overcrowd, or overthink superficial details.|
“The medium is the message” – Marshall McLuhan
In the context of the internet as the world’s most complex living, breathing communication system – your message to the internet is embedded in your website.
Impressive Homepage Designs to Consider in 2019
The home page is the first thing a visitor sees – a proto-landing page that’s supposed to say everything about your business as fast as a person’s eyes can scan the screen.
A good home page can be a portfolio in itself! Use this fact to catch your visitors unprepared and impress them sooner rather than later.
On that note, here are our top picks for Home Page designs to consider as inspiration for 2019:
A merger of that Hackers (1995) feel but with a modern touch, this is a solution to definitely look up to if you want to leave a good first impression.
Who said you can’t use sound to activate and keep your audience engaged? Website design only has the limits you impose yourself.
La Shop Studios is a breath of fresh air, or in this case, maybe a wave of fresh sound sent to awaken you from the mute slumber of silent browsing.
Here’s a home page with a punch. Boom. No need for words. You already know what this guy does – he crammed his entire personality and brand into the first 5 seconds of looking at his home page.
Dealing With the Trend of Long-form Blog Content in 2019
Walls of text, be gone. Now that internet speeds are reaching half-decent numbers, we can actually afford to cram heavy content into pages without noticeable loss of smoothness.
We’ll talk later about why this technologically-driven bloat trend is bad, but for now, we can just acknowledge that long-form content is getting more extreme and requires some breaking up.
This is, in part, due to the first page of Google search results featuring more long-form results. In fact, content length is one of the major ranking factors for SEO, and many websites are consolidating content into fewer but longer pages.
In many cases, entire blog posts are purposely converted into infographics, to better present complex concepts through visual means.
A picture is still worth a thousand words.
Simplified Layouts – a Clean Message
No more action-crammed sidebars – cleanliness and to-the-point structure is here to save us from the clutter.
Now, this is something to cheer for. Those of us old enough to remember what the internet looked like in the early 2000’s, welcome this trend as a chance to catch our breath once more.
Compare this website with something along the lines of the legendary Ling’s Cars abomination, and you might get an idea of where we’re coming from.
The overall feel is that there might be more text and more long-form content now, but it has never been more of a pleasure to consume. And this is something we’ve all been looking forward to.
Web Typography & Popular Typefaces
Typography is just as important as the content it’s displaying. In terms of chronological order of impact, typography leaves its impression right after the color scheme and imagery used.
It’s the flowers beside the road. But if not properly handled, it is the mud on the sampietrini pavement, detracting from the actual content – the page copy. It can also be anywhere in between, which is where most website designs fall into.
Here are 5 notable and trendy fonts to consider when building a website in 2019:
Roboto is a sans-serif open-source giant that rose to prominence just as soon as it was developed by Google. It found its home on the Android system, for which it was designed back in 2011. It’s been available to download for free since 2012. Enjoy!
Transcript is a designer’s favourite no-brainer. It’s a good choice for headlines, but with a feeling of commercial intent and a plethora of variety – 14 styles complete with both Cyrillic and Greek scripts.
One Day is a font by Nawras Moneer – a slim modern rounded style with broken lines that convey an almost neon feel, without being too curvy. It’s free for both personal and commercial use, and can bring that outer space touch to tech-related websites and cyberpunk-inspired blogs.
We can’t not include at least one serif font. And the trend shows that Cardo is making quite an impact out there. This rich font was created by Google, and serves general content where Old Style is preferred. It’s perfectly suited for scholars, writers, and medievalists.
Another serif font but with a completely different message. Made in 2010, this modern aesthetic font offers truly remarkable functionality in web design. It’s an oddball mix between Clarendon and Skotch, tossed into a single contemporary blend of mid-century household warmth.
Keeping Your Website Fluid and Responsive
Newcomers to web design might find responsiveness optimization hard to master, but it’s important enough to dedicate time to learn. It has already become a necessity and future trends will follow this trajectory. If you want to rank on Google, responsive design is an integral part of SEO, as website speed will influence a plethora of other factors and user behavior indicators of whether your web page is good enough to be on the front page.
The number of mobile searches has gone up ever since web developers started implementing mobile-friendly design solutions:
- Flat design
- Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
- Image Optimization
And Yet Web Pages Are Still Getting Bigger?
Despite responsive design taking off like a rocket, the overall trend shows that web pages are getting bigger by the hour. The reason we don’t notice is that technology advances so fast, and with advanced processing power and faster internet, we just don’t notice the bloat.
This trend is also known as the web page “obesity” epidemic.
Web developers, just like programmers, adapt to this technological advancement by letting sloppy code, and unoptimized solutions pass Quality Assurance.
So what if the web page loads 0.5 seconds slower, you might ask? It’s not a matter of speed anymore.
This ever-expanding sloppiness leads to ever-harder maintenance problems, dependency issues, security holes and many other serious issues for user data protection and back-end development.
Where this trend will lead us, no one really knows. And maybe that’s for the best, but we have to keep trying to make clean back-end solutions. We’ve been really successful in doing so for the front-end.
Lessons From Google’s Gmail Redesign – the Good, the Bad & the Unnecessary
Since we’ve talked about responsiveness and bloat, the time has come to turn our attention to Google.
If you’ve been using DoubleClick, Google Ads (former AdWords) or Google Analytics, you might have noticed that the services get slower with each new upgrade. Well, they’ve left the best for last – the long-awaited Gmail makeover is finally locking us away from the old user interface, so you’d better get used to it.
Although many like to call the new design “minimal”, it certainly doesn’t lean towards that side of the spectrum, at least compared to the old Gmail user interface (UI).
There are good sides to this overhaul, as you might have heard:
- Self-destructing emails for when you want to hide something… from Google?
- Google Apps sidebar integration
- Dynamic pop-up actions (hover actions)
- Email Snooze and “Smart Reply”, and much more…
GDPR as a Web Developer’s Priority in 2019
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a directive serving to protect the personal information of citizens in the EU.
If you’re in any way keeping visitor or user data, be very careful what plugins and beautification extensions you apply. Whether you like it or not, your website’s UX and visual detailing is subordinate to user security. Since almost everyone today is using someone else’s code, it’s always the website owner’s duty to ensure that their website is safe to use.
Front-End Security is as serious as it ever was, and since website building is becoming more modular and simplified, we’re expecting that web designers will be able to operate all-in-one website building solutions. This means they’ll need to at least know the security part of the web developer’s job. Otherwise, if vulnerabilities slip through, it can get pretty expensive, pretty fast, at least in the EU.
A web developer, and by extension the web designer, need to assess the risk factor when choosing a platform to use for the website they’re working on. Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress are popular solutions, but depending on the type of business, the cloud-based platforms might not be suitable.
Giant Steps From Old-school 90’s Web Design
It’s easy to overlook the obvious when you’re born into it. For those of you just discovering the world of web design, it’d be good to get a glimpse into the history of this amazing industry, if only to realize how much has been accomplished since the dawn of the World Wide Web. And maybe observe some mistakes that we haven’t gotten rid of to this day.
If you compare back-end and front-end web development over the years, there is an inverse trend between the complexity of one and beautification of the other.
Old back-end web developers were dealing with relatively simple code, the websites were compact and fast. Well, they would have been blazing fast with today’s internet, but with 56K – not so much.
In contrast, modern web design tends to rely on many abstracted services content management systems (CMS’s) and API’s, removed from the actual website owner/maintainer and used as a rentable service.
The back-end system has never been more complex, but the front end has the potential to be the most gorgeous it’s ever been. So why isn’t the whole web gorgeous? There’s some food for thought…
Some of the ugliness of today’s web design actually stems from the technical side of things. By trying to make everything more modular, more accessible, more customizable, and a just a few clicks away, the underlying structure of today’s web design (what developers refer to as the “back end”) is built on programs and libraries that are arguably more complex than ever.
It’s ironic to think that the more “simplified” the tool, the more robust the back-end has to be.
The positive side of this trend is that we went from web pages straight out of MS Paint…
…to cleaner web pages that have grown up to be stylish and at least half-decent looking – and most importantly – easier to navigate:
If the word “progress” in web design could be summed up in two pictures, these would probably be the top candidates.
Fresh Website Header Design Ideas for 2019
Saving the best tips for last.
There are a couple of simple rules to follow when deciding on an appropriate header design.
A couple of trends have certainly proven how a good header can have a huge influence on the first impression. Here’s our top 3 tips:
- Deliver a direct message
Simple and efficient is the way to go in this case. In this case, the primary action the user performs is domain search, so that‘s what’s presented as the visual priority.
Depending on your business, you might not need the standard “About Us / Services / Contact“ structure for the header. If it doesn’t serve your brand identity or type of business, then don’t box yourself in these types of molds.
2. Enforce the rest of the content
Maybe the landing page copy should be the primary eye-catcher. You can still use the header as an auxiliary function. Just blend it in instead of making it scream out:
Protonmail does a fantastic job at this. Their landing page copy takes priority and the header is just there to blend in and provide some specifics about their values, services, and business model.
Notice how they have “Security” and “Enterprise” listed as separate categories. It’s the most direct and elegant way of showing the specifics of your business and your expertise. Use the chance to list out the psychological benefits of your service.
3. Tickle the user’s imagination
There’s nothing stopping you from using custom assets – artists and creative businesses use this to bring back that sparkling imagination that’s missing from a lot of template-based websites nowadays.
Just look at those fonts, the icons and artwork, the color scheme… It’s the chalkboard feel of good old days – all of those feelings crammed into a single page.
Don’t be afraid to be playful, if that’s the type of business you’re in.
How to Stay Ahead of the Curve with Your Website in 2019
Website design is ever-changing. Google’s search results are ever-changing. How could you possibly keep up? And how do you design and develop a website that represents you and your unique business? It’s a lot for a company to manage on its own.
That’s why you should book a free 15-minute consultation with our experts. Our specialty is creating a unique web design for your business – that’s what we do. Regardless of the latest design trends, we focus specifically on what makes your business unique. And then we design a custom-tailored, business-specific site that accentuates your awesomeness and impresses your fingerprint upon your customers. Contact Fingerprint Marketing to learn more today.