The New Year celebrations are over, our hangovers are (thankfully) just a distant memory, and now it’s time to think about the coming twelve months. Before Christmas we gave a brief overview of what we could see on the horizon as an agency, but now it’s time to delve deeper into what our hopes are for the future. After all, isn’t that why we celebrate? One of our in-house creative team takes us through their desires for a more beautiful web in 2014.
Emotion. This is something that might not necessarily be associated with web design, but why not? A website’s audience is human (for the most part - we can’t forget about those pesky Google bots), and generating a connection with a website, and a brand is something that can be very powerful if you want to move users towards action.
The transfer of emotion through design is well represented on the Milk and Blood site, displaying simple photography alongside emotive captions to give more information about South Sudan.
How do I hope to achieve this as a designer? Well there are many tricks up my digital sleeves that, if implemented, I feel could make a real difference to our clients’ web design projects.
Firstly, we may break the confines of grids more, producing work that doesn’t just feel like a populated template. Whilst there is a great deal of thought that goes into any web design, getting away from generic formats gives us the ability to generate different UI menus, and refreshing ways to display columns of type. This is implemented on the Sidsel Marie Bøg site, making simple fashion imagery more expressive and experimental.
What about brands in particular? I’m sure we’ve all seen plenty of sites that have great web design, using all of the most up to date tricks and trends such as flat graphics and glossy interfaces, but lack any distinct look or feel. The current trend should be reversed, with brands coming first and adapting them to work as an interactive and visual medium, in order to really make sites stand out.
Applying a brand vision across everything down to the very textures of the site can be seen on the An Idea Lives On site, using a ‘retro’ look to achieve an overall aesthetic.
Sticking rigidly to current trends leads me onto my next set of hopes for the year ahead. Too many designers feel the need to remove all white space, making sure that no internet real estate is wasted. But there should be a balance to this; compromising to include the right amount of content and not over clutter. This is achieved to great effect on the Diesel site. The rule of lining everything up, whilst a tidy way of designing sites, could also be relaxed to make everything seem more organic.
Making sure that a site is more organic is sometimes a difficult task when there is a lot of information that a client wants to get across. However, simplifying menu structures and navigations by reducing the content on the site can make it that much easier to navigate. Dropping sidebars, that offer a great deal of distraction with all of their text lining the sides of the page, is another way to simplify the menu structure of websites.
Ever heard of a ‘hero’ areas? Here’s hoping that they will become much more popular over the next twelve months. Experimenting with different ways to utilise these fullscreen intro pages, usually with limited elements to focus your attention, could generate a number of really interesting designs. If you still don’t get what a ‘hero’ area is, head to Squarespace or NZ Opera for a couple of great examples.
Web design is not all about websites though, we turn out plenty of conceptual app creative too. Perhaps one of the biggest changes to app development and creative arrived in 2013 with the delivery of iOS7. Flat graphics have been the watchword for mobile app design ever since, but it is important to remember; we aren’t doing this to fit Apple’s style, we want to create something that is independent, unique, fun and beautiful to look at.
Whilst on the subject of smartphones, we all know that 2014 is set to see more growth of this area of the web. Therefore finding new and exciting ways to make experiences on mobile and desktop/tablet completely seamless could really help to ensure brands make the most of this powerful technology.
These represent just some of the many ideas that have been discussed by our creative team of late, but in the quest for an ever more beautiful web experience they represent the very first steps.
If you’d like our creative types to use the best of the latest trends online to give your brand a fresh perspective in 2014, please give us a shout.