It seems like web design tends to push most of the trends in the design industry as it really has the least constraints and more flexibility to experiment with new things. With that said this list will probably feel like a “web design trends to watch for in 2015” but I can assure you that what the web does, the rest of the design industry tends to follow.
Over the last few years we have seen a rise in the ever prevalent flat design. It has pretty much taken over in full force. While I don’t see it going away anytime soon, it definitely looks like it will start to evolve in subtle but significant ways.
Leading that evolution is Google. Almost every designer is watching what they are doing with what they are calling “Material Design” and that starts off our list.
1) Material Design
Material Design takes flat design and infuses a bit more life into it. It gives more context to how the design relates to the physical (or material) world that we live in. Things like shadow and motion are used to give dimension and depth to objects that in a standard run of the mill flat design were all stuck on one two dimensional plane. It gives a rigid and sometimes cold flat design a more organic feel. While this is mostly a digital design trend, the look and feel will cross into print design as much as possible. Google has put together a very simple and comprehensive guide to what Material Design on their design site: http://www.google.com/design/
2) Vector Graphics on the Web (SVG files)
The web is pretty much a rasterized pixel for pixel world, but with more and more retina and 4K displays in hands and on the desktops those pixel counts are getting higher and higher. Browser support for vector SVG files has made it possible to make sure designs are crisp and clean no matter what screen they are seen on. Big screen, small screen, one graphic file that doesn’t have enormous file sizes and scales wonderfully. SVG files lend themselves well to the flat design aesthetic which makes the switch that much easier. Not only that but SVG files can have each element animated independently.
3) More Animation and Interactivity
All of these trends are closely related and work together. A large part of Material Design is the motion and interaction, while the animatability (I don’t even know if that’s a real word, but spell check is letting it slide) of SVG files allows us the ability to make that motion happen a bit more fluidly. Back in the day Flash was… well… flashy. It just didn’t evolve well with where the web was needing to go. HTML5 has brought a more lightweight Flash-like experience to the web that works cross platform in very responsive ways. Get ready to see designs come to life in organic and fluid ways. Here’s a real quick example of SVG’s and animation: http://snapsvg.io/demos/#game
I may be biased on this one since I love to produce videos, but more designs are going to incorporate video. I can talk for days and days (and probably will in other blog posts) about why you need to have a video presence online. You need to have video incorporated into your website. End of story. In 2015 we’ll see video being incorporated in more cohesive and seamless ways. From web to print, video will be there adding another dimension and value to your content and messaging. The cost of high quality productions has and will continue to drop. There is no reason you shouldn’t have video production budgeted out in 2015.
5) More Demand for Large Format Design
I foresee an increase in the number of companies wanting to design on a larger scale. Simple messaging, simple imagery, that is targeted and straight to the point in telling clients stories and pushing their brands. Designers will need to know how to create effective designs in large formats. This could be everything from large digital displays and billboards, to vinyl banners and window perf. We’ll see more people want to spend their marketing budget to showcase themselves using larger designs.
While this is just my humble take on what to expect in 2015 you can also see what over 50 other designers are saying at http://foundersgrid.com/design-trends-2015