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Trend: the word has a bad reputation. It’s looked at as something that will one day be outdated or “uncool”.

Trends have a different meaning in the digital world; the knowledge of current trends and practices are vital to the success of everything we do.

The web design industry is constantly evolving, and each year a new standard is set for brands to try and live up to. I’m going to highlight 5 of the most notable trends that deserve your attention this year!

Bold Type & Grid Layouts

2017 is coming in with a bang! Big and bold designs are the new craze; and they definitely won’t be short-lived. Because the web has been around for a while, it’s no longer enough to just ‘have’ a website. Consumer’s expectations are much higher, and your website has to make a lasting first impression.

Bold type is becoming the standard in modern design; and it doesn’t always mean the weight of the font, but the position, size and impact it has on consumers. Short, impactful statements with bold text is the new way to connect with website visitors and get your brand’s message across. It’s eye-catching and loud, but not overwhelming. A great example of big and bold type is our client, the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

Grid layouts go hand-in-hand with boldly-styled designs. They keep it clean, while still having an edgy look. Grids are utilized in many different styles, and it’s the best way to organize your site in an engaging, appealing fashion. Tumblr has taken this method seriously, and created an interactive grid/block layout that keeps you interested as you scroll.

Content First

The content on your website has always been important, but it’s quickly becoming essential to your website’s success. Graphic designers are now thinking along the lines of “How can I best display this content to make the biggest impact?” instead of “What will look best?”.

Before, at the beginning of a project, you would put most of your thought into the layout and design of a new website. Now, content is the main focus; and bold, meaningful, straight-to-the-point statements are the new black. With this new strategy of meaningful creation, the collaboration between a designer and project manager is on a whole new level. The designer is more connected to the story and character of the brand, so they are able to make the best decisions on the client’s behalf.

We finally figured out the main reason consumers visit a website: Information! So, now it’s the design’s job to present content in an effective way.

High Quality Photography

Photography; it’s been in the back of your mind for years, and now it’s time to take action. High-quality photos can make a tremendous difference on the overall impact of your website. Not only does it make your site look better, but it shows a visitor that there are humans behind the brand.

Modern consumers can spot stock photography from a mile away, and it can make them lose trust in your business. When you see photos of actual staff members, customer interaction, products being produced, or updated product shots; consumers feel like they’re seeing “behind the scenes” in real time, and that they can trust what they are purchasing from your business.

Tip: Instead of taking plain shots of your product or service, take the time to stage the shot with props and scenery.

Minimalist Approach

Everything from logo to website design is going for “less is more”. Bringing more personality and less distraction to design. With our fast-paced world, this is one of my favorite (and most effective) trends yet. It allows users to do what they came to do or find what they were looking for quickly without sacrificing style.

Logos were the first obvious transition: The days of intricate details, slogans and phrases are over. Abstract shapes, bold colors and even shorter names (sometimes abbreviations) are in the now. The best example of this trend is Instagram. They took their very detailed icon, and turned it into a clean, modern, more polished version. As you can see, the colors are loud but the icon itself is much simpler.

Website design has adopted the same approach. Block-style design and simplistic backgrounds make it easier to draw attention to content or photos. If you give someone too much to look at, they could miss what you really want them to see or click. WordPress is a great example of the minimalist style, and how it can still be impressive and innovative at the same time.

Conversational Writing Styles

Conversational writing is a more natural way of writing and connecting with consumers. It shows your transparency and personality as a brand; something that is becoming the standard for modern buyers. When surrounded by salesy wording and facts, they don’t feel connected to your brand on a personal level. Trust is something you want to establish from the beginning and never lose; it’s a hard thing to win back.

Conversational writing makes a customer feel welcomed and understood; they aren’t going to truly “care” about a business that is trying to make money. They care about a business who understands what and why they are visiting their website. A perfect example of conversational writing is our favorite email marketing platform, Emma. As you scroll down the homepage, they take you step-by-step through how and why email marketing works, something that could easily be salesy, but keeps it light and relatable.

We say it all the time;
the digital world is ever-changing. But it’s more important now than ever before to try and keep up. Feel overwhelmed? Prioritize these items in importance to you (it’s more fun that way), and start with one thing at a time. We offer each of these “trendy” services, and would love to help you make the most of them. Let’s connect and see what’s in store for your business in 2017.

Cindy Knebel

About the Author

Cindy Knebel
Cindy is a former Element 74 Project Manager and contributing author for the Element 74 blog.

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