We’ve all hit the ground running this year, but don’t let the busyness of the start of the year get the better of your innovative design work. Take a moment to read and think about how to keep your designs on trend.
Here are 19 design tips for 2019 that will help you bring about fresher and more on point design work.
1. Design with a goal
Design for the sake of design misses the point. Your designs should go hand-in-hand with your text and goals. When deciding what you want to create, first think about what you want your audience to take away from the design and what you want them to do. Work backwards from there and make sure that all of the parts of your website/app/packaging/brochure etc. integrate and directly lead to that goal.
2. Mobile first – again
You’ve probably heard how you should be designing for mobile first, but we’re saying it again because it is so important. Last year Google announced that they are increasingly indexing sites and ranking them according to mobile designs. You can read the announcement here. That means thinking more about the distance a thumb can reach, movement and layouts, interactivity, and navigation. Here’s a great article with more tips on designing for mobile, if you’re interested
3. Seamless design across platforms
Commerce and eCommerce haven’t been two separate things for a while now, to sell more you need to be in more places and meet your customers where they want to shop. While eCommerce accounts for 10% of all purchasing, it’s on the rise and many people search online before going in-store to purchase. Mobile eCommerce sales also account for 63.5% of all eCommerce purchases, so don’t forget point 2. Facebook alone also influences over 50% of online and offline purchases. Your commerce therefore needs to be seamlessly integrated across multiple platforms and throughout your channels, making sure your brand experience and content is coherent across your physical store, your online store and social media.
Simplicity and ease of use cuts through in the busy digital space. There is a continual focus on simplicity, and even as we go through more trends we’ll see it come up again. Simple design communicates the key message and direction, you want to channel your viewers towards your main goal and remove all distractions. When designing websites, that means seriously straight-forward and mapped out UX and UI. You want your design to lead directly to conversion points and prompt in a way that is clear and natural.
5. Designing for social
Your content is being consumed on social media. Make sure it looks great in those mediums. Businesses need to engage with their audiences faster, people scroll through or click away from ads instinctively. If using video, you generally have a maximum of 5 seconds before a user moves on. If you’re not using video, then your best bet is to try and encourage interactivity in another way – ask a question, use a poll or challenge, try and encourage an immediate reaction in reality so that they are interacting on another level. Social media for businesses is about bringing your business into everyday, individual lives.
6. Custom made illustrations
Using stock images is a bad idea, it doesn’t build out your corporate identity and lumps you in with every other company who used that same image. In fact, one marketing experiment tested stock images over a real photo and users were 35% more likely to convert. Custom illustrations are designed to contribute to your message (important, as we remember from point 1). They also contribute to your brand style, are faster to make than taking and editing numerous photos, and are generally more eye-catching. Especially if you use bold colours.
7. Bold colours
Bold colours are in! In an UCLA study, it was found that bold and vivid colours are more likely to create a feel of ownership and a higher personal valuation of something. Everyone knows that colour have an emotional effect on viewers, if you want to understand more about it, here’s a useful article on the psychology of colour. So be bold with your colours, just make sure your creating the right impact.
In 2018 we saw the rise of gradients, especially with HTML5 enabling gradients to coded rather than just in graphics. In 2019 we expect to continue to see more gradients, giving life and movement to designs in the subtle changes. Brighter gradients with a dark screen also give a slicker, more techy feel, further merging the technology bias into everyday designs.
9. Negative space
If you use too much colour though, it can become overwhelming. That’s why you need to balance your bold imagery with plenty of negative space. Remember our focus on simplicity and goals. Use negative space to guide your viewers towards your goal, to provide boundaries, shape and interest, and to keep them on your main message. When designing graphics you can play with the negative space to create shapes and marks of distinction, in layouts negative space is especially important for UX and UI when thinking about a user’s movement through your website and your key conversion points.
Adding a touch of animation to your site or app can bring it to life and make it more of a joy to use. Micro-interactions give the user a greater reaction and therefore a greater sense of control and ownership. They encourage interactivity and bring a bit of fun to the design, they can also be powerful prompts and tools to guide users towards your main conversion points. If you want to check out some examples of great micro-interactions there’s a great selection on Dribble.
Everyone loves a little animation. It brings your site to life and captures interest for a precious few more moments. Your animation can help tell a story and engage with the audience. Just be careful to not over-animate. Too much animation can be overwhelming and confusing. With all things, you want your animation to contribute to the overall message and move with the rest of the design.
12. Animated logos
Animation doesn’t just have to be in your little interactions or images, an animated logo helps you stand out from all the other logos. Of course, you also have to think about what it will look like printed. You can’t animate print… not yet anyway. Also, don’t animate your logo just for the fun of it, your logo is your brand identifier and everything about it should support who you are. Consider how your animation contributes to your brand – does it help showcase what you do or show how your brand has progressed? Consider what meaning your animation can add.
13. Isometric design
Isometric design is becoming more and more popular because it adds depth to a design, making it appear more realistic while still playful and illustrative. One of the main ways isometric design is being used is for icons. They make icons pop more, but designers should be wary of adding too much details or over complicating the design. They also don’t suit all clients, think about whether the isometric style suits the rest of their brand – are the bright colours too much? Will the style come across as too cartoonish?
Related reading: 8 Emerging User Interface Designs to Watch for in 2019
14. More videos
Videos engage audiences, hold them on your site for longer and communicate large quantities of information faster and in a more digestible way. They also improve SEO. However, people’s attention spans are still short and videos take much longer to produce. We are seeing an increase in home page videos to introduce a brand, improve ethos or introduce an idea. A video should tell a story though, if it is too slow or abstract and too long you will lose your audience’s interest and you’ll have waisted valuable resources.
15. More font, less image
There’s an increasing trend towards using big bold typography and less images. In these designs, your text works like an image, breaking up paragraphs and playing with the layout of the screen. Your font here is key, it has to maintain your brand and convey the tone and idea you want your audience to take away from it. It means very different things to write the word ‘love’ in handwritten script, or jagged capitals. The text here also interplays with images, or other design elements. It doesn’t have to follow the normal layout rules and can animate to show the progression of a word. Playing with type can bring a whole new element to your designs.
16. Custom typography
On the theme of typefaces, more and more brands are using custom fonts. Your average user can tell Times New Roman or Arial anywhere, so make sure you’re using something a little bit more special. Taking it a step further though, is to develop a custom font. Something that captures your brand personality and is uniquely yours. Make it a typography that is recognisable so it becomes a key identifier for your brand. No one can use Disney’s font without everyone automatically thinking of Disney.
17. Less plastic more natural
We’re going to think about packaging for a moment. Interest in sustainability and the world is continuing to rise. Maybe it’s in opposition to the way technology infiltrates everything, but people love natural materials. The more raw and close to nature (without being impractical) the better. Also using recycled materials is always a positive. People love to think that by buying something, they’re doing something good for the world. Think about using slightly alternative materials too. What about using bamboo or hemp or even elephant dung? Just make sure it’s all clean and safe to use.
18. Disruptive design
Disruptive design is about thinking in an innovative way, it’s not just about what it looks like or its structure and intuitiveness, it’s about stimulating change and challenging the norm. If you’re not sure what disruptive design is check out this article. Question why something is done the way it is, why is that the status quo? Does it help achieve my purpose? There’s no point challenging for the sake of it, you have to disrupt towards your goal. Think outside the box. If you come up with something brilliant – let us know about it, we love that stuff!
19. Tell a story
If you want to relate to your audience, capture their attention and draw them in and invest in you, then you have to tell them a story. Tell them who you are, what you believe in, why you’re different and connect with them at a deeper level than a price tag. Your design is a key part of that. Your design needs to tell the story too. The way your user navigates through your site, the little micro-interactions and engaging animations, the font, the colour, your style of imagery, all work together to communicate your story. Is it all on target for your audience?
That’s our specialty. We love designing for an impact and to make sure the message that matters is the one conveyed. If you want a site or brand that is designed to reach your goals, come chat to us. We’d love to work with you.