Last year we saw a shift in the design world as brands looked to connect more on a personal level with customers. Apps have become more conversational and even your online banking treats you like an old friend. There has been an emergence of ‘vintage’ design as many brands are providing a hand-crafted spin on their products and independent businesses are coming into fashion. There's also a higher interest for consumers in the sourcing of products which has influenced design and copywriting campaigns.
As a response, brands have become more transparent and even blunt in order to remain open with their clientele. Going into 2017, we will see quite a bit of this continuing but with new advancements in UX/UI design and adaptation to new mind-sets and technology.
Virtual and augmented reality technology has been around for a few years now but 2016 has seen the popularity of VR headsets skyrocket. With many shops stocking affordable headsets in the run up to Christmas, this is a new technology with a growing demand for content. Where we had the incredibly popular arrival of Pokémon Go in 2016, next year we will see companies trying to capture the magic of this experience and try to appeal on a broader scale to the general public in whole new ways. 2017 will be a year where brands can add a third dimension to their design and marketing with a shift towards more imaginative, immersive concepts.
In 2017, we will no longer see just a focus on desktop or mobile interfaces separately but instead have a move towards full integration and responsiveness. Having a stronger mobile page at the cost of a weak desktop page is no longer an option - or necessary. Brand will be reconsidering their layout and we may even see a modular web design that is instantly responsive on a smaller screen yet still be a cohesive site. Long pages of text do not translate well across devices so short, concise content is important as well as strong imagery – whatever the brand or business.
In a time of 10-second videos, quick-paced recipes, and shrinking attention spans, what better way is there to grab someone’s attention than a moving image? Small movements within design can make any website, blog post, or social media post stand out from the crowd and create a lasting impression. We've seen GIFs across all forms of social media in 2016 for entertainment purposes and 2017 will see the rise of GIFs with more sophistication and marketing purposes. If a picture is worth 100 words, then a moving image is worth at least 500 as it communicates with consumers as quickly and easily as possible.
Yet again, white space within design is set to have a strong year in 2017. Effective use of white space cannot be underestimated in its ability to create impactful design. Bold lettering on a plain background complete with a message given space to breathe makes for a far more memorable piece of design than one that is over complicated and overcrowded. With brands such as Google, Microsoft, Instagram, Deliveroo, England’s Premier League, and MasterCard all undergoing minimalist rebrands in the past few years, this does not seem to be a trend that is shifting anytime soon. If some of the biggest brands in the world are embracing the minimalist trend, this is a sign that it is something that has been rigorously and successfully consumer-tested. So, if you think you are in the need of a rebrand – or a brand in the first place – then simple shapes and lots of space is the way to go.
Our interaction with our modern and digital world is largely visual. For this reason alone, illustration is a brilliant way to enhance a product or a service. In addition to adding a human element, they aid in our understanding. Although illustrations for instruction leaflets and the like have been used effectively ever since humans existed (think: cave drawings), the trend for 2017 sees a move towards this being stylistic choice. Informative illustrations need not be so rigid and boring nor do they need to be purely for aesthetic purposes. A sketchy style can give a brand more personality, add interest to a web page, and tie different elements of a brand together. Icons in the style of illustration that matches your brand can enhance sections of a website and make the user experience much easier and more seamless. Paired with a minimalist style, a softer icon or illustration can be just as hard hitting as loud or bold text.
Attention spans are shortening, the web is getting more crowded, markets are becoming more saturated. 2017 will be all about how you capture the attention of consumers, how you give them the information they want, and how you'll be more memorable than the competition. This trend is not so much a design style as it is a thought that needs to be at the forefront of every design decision. Choices in 2017 will be made to provide more information at a faster rate and in more convenient ways than ever before. In this vein, we are seeing a move away from the hamburger-style navigation menu on mobile as this hides away crucial information that is important to the user. That extra movement and tap on the screen makes all the difference between someone staying or leaving your website and using your competitor.
Most of these trends focus on user interaction with a brand but they should only be adopted if appropriate. If illustration works with your brand, use it! If it doesn’t, steer clear. A strong brand that can adapt with the times is far more important than jumping on any sort of trend band wagon. At Digity, we are primarily concerned with making sure all design decisions are right for you and your brand and are also tailored to your target consumer.
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Our Brighton office is buzzing with excitement as Pride approaches this weekend. Rainbows are everywhere, from banners and flags to buses and balloons, and so many small businesses are showing their support for this massive event.
Celebrating Gay Pride as a business is not a new concept, but it is something that is becoming more and more popular, as businesses become more comfortable being part of the celebrations and realise the benefits that can come alongside it.