Web Design Trends in 2017 – Where is the web going?

Today, we’re going to look at something a bit different: 2017 web design trends.

No other industry – except perhaps digital marketing itself – is so constantly in a state of evolution.  Web design trends are always shifting and changing.

So, if you’re looking for a guide to how things have changed so far this year, you’re in the right place. We’re going to cover four main areas, one-by-one.  For each one, we’ll take a look at the new trends that have appeared throughout the year, and give you a good example of a website that’s nailed it.

These are the main areas we’ll cover:

  • Imagery
  • Fonts
  • Colors
  • Layout and structure

Real photos

One of the biggest ‘tells’ for a low quality site is the use of canned stock photos on the front page.  Anyone who regularly browses the web (which is pretty much everyone these days) knows the difference between a high quality image that’s been really thought about and properly sourced, and one that’s just been grabbed off a stock photo site.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with stock photos in some situations – they can be ideal for blog posts, for instance – but for the front page of a website?  In the wrong situation, it can look very cheap. As a result, more and more websites are choosing to go the opposite route and make a real effort with their onsite photography.

A great example of effective imagery would be Mikiya Kobayashi, whose site uses beautiful product photos as part of a slideshow-like gallery.

Illustrations

Illustrations are an effective way of planning your design around an image without making your website look too ‘bloggy’.  The right drawn illustration can be a really good way of demonstrating your company’s personality and remaining on brand at the same time.

What’s more, illustration is a great way to set a website apart from its competitors: though the effect can be stunning, this trend is still in its early days.  If you want to ride the wave, now’s a great time to start making use of it.

A good example is actually Dropbox, whose homepage contains a number of simple but stylish illustrations.

Moving images

Another unique design features that several websites are spicing their homepage up with.

Rather than basing pages around a static photo, companies are starting to use moving images.  The result is a page that still provides information in the right way, but engages the eye a little bit more.

For a great example – and you’ll have to excuse us for blowing our own trumpet here – check out the Iconic Solutions homepage. Simple, but – we’re sure you’ll agree – it attracts the attention in a way that a static photo simply wouldn’t.

Big, bold and beautiful

The right typography can have a magic effect.  It can convey tone of voice, or evoke different emotions.

This year, big and bold typography has become more and more common.  Indeed, the combination of massive font typography over on a single image has led to some seriously eye-catching websites.

Check out Victory Journal for a great example. They routinely use this technique, and their homepage is never less than stylish and arresting.

A wider, richer variety of fonts

Go back three or four years, and you’d struggle to find a font on the web that wasn’t part of the neo-grotesque family.  Helvetica, Lato, Roboto, Open Sans…

Now, those are all great fonts, but it’s been pleasing in recent months to see other typefaces coming to the fore.  Designers seem more open to combining different styles and even – whisper it! – using contrasting fonts to create a unique effect.

Geometric fonts, for instance, are becoming more popular. Futura, Proxima Nova, Montserrat and ITC Avant Garde are often seen in more contemporary designs.  These fonts have more character and weight to them, and offer a different feel.

Check out Huge, whose website is…well, in-keeping with the company name!

web design trends

Hand-drawn

Being unique is a key part of success in business.  With that in mind, it’s no surprise that hand-drawn fonts and homepage features are becoming more and more popular this year.

There’s no better way to have a completely unique website design than by hand-crafting the main text on your website.  Whilst this might not work for long body copy, it can be stunningly effective when used on the homepage.

For a great example of how this can work, check out Marie Catribs, a restaurant in Michigan whose website has been gaining a lot of deserved publicity for its brilliant design.

2017 web design trends

Brighter, richer colors

As with typography, ‘bolder and brighter’ has been the message for designers so far in 2017.  A number of websites have made use of more vivid, bright, eye-catching schemes than you would have seen even a couple of years ago.

With competition on the web growing, it’s possible that brighter colors will be the next step in brands attempting to set themselves apart from the online noise.

By far the most renowned attempt at this came from Spotify, who moved away from their classic green and black scheme to a vivid purple-pink design.  Opinion was divided – we quite like it – but the change sure grabbed people’s attention.

Gradients

This is the other main graphical development this year – and one that could be seen on Spotify’s site until recently.

When making use of brighter, more vivid colors, gradients become an effective way of slightly diluting the effect.  The result is easier on the eyes than a sheer blanket of color, and can look very stylish.

Gradients are also a very effective method for taking those big, beautiful bespoke photos we talked about earlier and making them easier to overlay text on, in a way that doesn’t detract from the image itself.

A great example of this style can be seen in the NYC Pride site, which uses exactly this technique to combine bold colors with great-looking images.

Combining the horizontal and the vertical

Another 2017 web design trend that’s becoming more common is the use of both horizontal and vertical elements.  Though the effect is a fairly tough one to get right, when it does work it can be very effective.

What’s more, this is another great way of creating a totally unique design: the horizontal and vertical combination is still rare enough that any website using it instantly sets itself apart from thousands of competitors.

MSDS are a design studio in Canada whose website has got a lot of attention as a result of a quite unique, and very effective, design.

Gallery style

If you’ve ever headed onto Netflix, you’ll almost certainly have seen this style of design before.  The idea is simple enough: laying out a number of images side by side in a horizontal grid, before laying the different grids out how you prefer across the page.

In addition to Netflix (and their competitors), you’ll also see this layout on multiple social media websites – Pinterest springs to mind.  The appeal is obvious: it’s a very visual style, so if your market is one that lends itself to imagery – food, for instance, or interior design – this can be an good way of getting your market’s mouth-watering quickly!

As we mentioned above, Netflix is a killer example of this.

Responsive and mobile first

We’ll conclude with a trend that’s hardly design based at all, but remains hugely relevant if you need a website built in 2017.

The simple truth is that a responsive website design is now essential.  (For more information, check out our guide to responsive web design.)  It’s no surprise, therefore, that more websites are choosing to prioritize mobile users OVER those using desktops or laptops.

If you want a great example of a mobile site then check out Etsy.  Their mobile site is stylish and really easy to use.

If you’re interested in a new responsive website design and you want to work with the best, give Iconic Solutions a call. We’re specialists in building websites that work perfectly with mobiles, tablets, PCs and laptops.