5 digital design trends to look out for in 2018

The pace of change in the digital design world is incredible. The speed of digital design idea to deployment is so quick that it is so easy to look outdated within months of a new concept or rebrand.
Web browsers are more unified and capable, our devices are even more powerful, connection speeds are getting quicker and our interactions with the digital world are constant – many of us form opinions, make choices and buy things or experiences without leaving the digital world. 2018 will only see this type of behaviour continue and whether you believe it or not, what we see digitally and the way those assets are designed will influence where we go, what we do and how we spend our money and time – getting it right is vital to all businesses & organisations.
This all being said, it’s time to make some digital design predictions for the year ahead. Here are 5 things I expect to see:
1. Brighter, bolder colours.
We mentioned this last year but this trend shows no sign of slowing down. You might have seen some big names rebrand with bright bold colours which dissociate them from a boring palette of corporate colours.
Take the English Premier League (EPL) for example:

The idea is simple – Take away singular brand colour association and use a broad range of beautiful, bright neon colours with a high contrast. The colours look great on our new devices with incredible colour palettes and really stand out.
2. More custom hand-drawn vector illustrations
Freehand graphics are gaining in popularity. The new Microsoft Surface Studio arrived in design studios across the UK this year and creatives are itching to use them to create something completely unique!

Hand-drawn vector illustrations are not a new thing but advances in the technology that drives them is bringing their use into the mainstream and when used effectively they really give your brand a unique and elegant feel.
3. Better, custom product photography/video
Nothing brings your products to life better than good photography & video content. The pace of internet connections and brighter, more capable screens/devices mean that good product imagery is vital – particularly in an ecommerce setting.
The big boys are already heavily investing in getting the aesthetic perfect. Take the new Nest website which really goes to town on showing off their products so you can see every single angle. A lot of this content is made up of 3D models which means you can control every aspect of the imagery and video.

You will also notice 360 imagery/video arriving on websites. Clicky are working on a number of 360 projects currently to allow users to get an even more immersive experience. Take a look at this Tweet I wrote recently about the Range Rover Sport 360 images of the inside of the car – it’s really impressive.
4. Broken grid layouts
Uniform grids are comfortable and easy to code and design – yes we use them a lot on this site but a new site is on it’s way!
Being seen and remembered online is so important in an ever more crowded environment and so breaking the uniformity can really make you stand out!
Breaking away from the grid is hard to do and poses new challenges for designers and developers. They are not impossible though. Take a look at this nice example from https://kreafunk.com/. Also take a look at these examples someone has very kindly assembled on Pinterest.

5. Curves!
The web is often pretty angular. Squares, rectangles the occasional circle if you are lucky.
An interesting new trend which is taking off amongst the a few website is avoiding straight lines altogether.
Take a look at this nice new design I spotted on Dribble the other day below. I really love the concept!
Again curves pose bigger problems for developers but I can see this type of design really standing out in 2018.

So there you go! 5 little predictions. We could go on and come up with 100’s more but those 5 seem to stand out to me right now. I can’t wait to see what our creative industry comes up with next.

Written by Oli Yeates


Follow Oli on Twitter