5 Web Design Trends You Can't Live Without in 2018

If we had to choose one characteristic to describe web design, it would be dynamic. Both words “web” and “design” represent something that changes faster than the time it takes to complete a thorough research on upcoming trends in the field. Even if you feel you’ve nailed the right formula, you still have to be on top of your game and keep on evolving professionally. Internet users’ tastes are rapidly changing, and you need to know exactly what will please them, when designing a website for you or a client.

Getting inspiration on a daily basis is crucial. But sometimes, you simply cannot afford spending hours on a detailed investigation of what’s hot and what’s not. To help you out, we’ve compiled five of the most dominant tendencies we expect to see ruling the online world. Some of them have already emerged in previous years, and will continue to unfold in the near future. Some others will be freshly introduced to the creative realm. Read on for the list of major web design trends you’ll need to master in 2018.

 

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1. Second that motion

It’s alive! In 2018, you’ll see a surge of movement everywhere on the Internet. It started a few years ago, when the famous GIF format made a noticeable come-back on our screens. Motion is now evolving towards something more subtle and delicate, taking advantage of the diversity of tools available. Parallax scrolling continues to be in the lead here. Adding some depth to otherwise flat websites, this trend walks hand in hand with the continuous rise in mobile browsing. The cool news? You can now add a striking parallax effect to your website without a single line of code to write. Another example: slow movement videos and cinemagraphs will replace their hectic predecessors, providing a smooth and stress-free user experience.

The benefits of setting your website in motion are varied: on top of making the design richer and more appealing, animations create a feeling of interactivity - and thus encourage user engagement. Moreover, ‘breathing’ pages, with well-ventilated sections and animated transitions, enhance your visitors’ experience and help them grasp content more efficiently. Attention, though! There’s one indispensable strategy to apply, if you want to be efficient: all motion techniques should be applied wisely, in a minimalistic fashion. The idea is to achieve a predefined purpose, not to do it for the sake of beautiful design (only). Adding some “fun” to exploring a website’s content shouldn’t take away from having a pleasant user experience. In a nutshell: always serve the user, not the designer.

Your shot of inspiration: The website of this Paris-Montreal-based creative agency found the perfect balance between motion and subtleness, while displaying rich content.

 

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2. Divide and conquer

“If you can’t chunk it, junk it” could be your new motto for 2018. For obvious reasons, websites with a lot of content to display (such as big organizations, news portals, etc.) simply cannot go with a long-scrolling page. On the other hand, a massive menu with tons of sections isn’t an option either. So, how can you achieve readability and elegance at once? Splitting your content is the answer. More and more websites adopt columns, strips and boxes, giving the general impression of browsing on a gigantic grid. It help readers quickly find the right information, and digest it more easily. On top of this, dividing text and images into pieces (within logical hierarchy) creates a visual order that is highly pleasing to the eye.

Built to let you design without limits, the Wix Editor comes with a whole section of ready-to-use columns and strips. You can insert them in a click in the website builder, in order to neatly divide your content. Even better: these features are adaptive to mobile and other devices, which means that you don’t have to worry about how they’ll render on small screens. How to make the most out of this trend? “First, I like to start with a blank slate that I divide into small boxes”, explains Yotam Kellner, Brand Designer at the Wix Studio. “Then, I work on the visual DNA of one of the boxes. Once I’m satisfied, I simply repeat the same pattern to all the boxes, and I adapt the content accordingly, with the maximum attention to the details.”

Your shot of inspiration: Check out how Brazilian photographer Bruna Cristina challenged the standard photography portfolio structure, creating a striking two-column grid to showcase her work.

 

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3. Fatal abstraction

Material Design is slowly fading out, but you’ll still perceive traces of its influence on the web, in 2018. The most notable ones are geometric shapes, lines and patterns, which will take over website backgrounds. It doesn’t matter if they float, hover, drift or linger: abstract patterns can make any page look über-stylish. Pair abstract shapes with subtle motion, and you’re on the way to master the art of holding users’ attention. Having seen highly-regarded design conferences, like Parisian D’days Design Festival, use this trend on their websites, we don’t need any further explanation.

This trend will mostly suit the “cool kids” on the web - creative agencies and fun-loving brands, that can allow themselves to break regular geometrical standards. Again, lots of abstract figures are already waiting for you to play with in the Wix Editor. You can also make your own babies and upload them in a click. The actual forms, whether they move, and where you place them is all a matter of personal preference. The bottom line (or shape) is to make visitors’ eyes intrigued and drawn to your content.

 

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4. 3D (e)motion

Milton Glaser once said: “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.” One way to triple your visitors’ whispers of emotion over your work is to design a website with some 3D in it. This trend has been around the web for a while, with the surge of vaporwave and classic video games-inspired designs. Not only should you consider using it for the fresh look it immediately gives ; adding some depth can also benefit your website’s performance, especially since the latest studies showed that a flat UI tend to attract less attention and cause uncertainty.

If your bread and butter is creating 3D motion, then, needless to say, your homepage needs to deliver that experience. Yet, this trend can benefit a lot of other people. Check out this stunning page by Campo Alle Comete wines to see how 3D can be of great service to any type of brand, and engage any type of target audience.  

 

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5. The bold and the beautiful

Having waited long enough, colors are finally allowed to shout out loud like never before. What does this mean? That you can match whatever hues you want, without ever worrying about the web-safe option. Participating to the same tendency is the color gradient, coming to us straight from the 90s (OK, the 2010’s, but they already feel like the 90’s). Using gradients two, three, or four years ago would be unforgivable. Applying it now, especially combined with other topmost tendencies, will reserve you a spot amongst web design trendsetters.

The same goes for fonts. You can go wild and upload all your favorite fonts straight to the Wix Editor. Blunt, bold and eye-catching typefaces are no longer reserved for titles: they can make a menu button or even a CTA roar. As mobile browsing is the rule rather than the exception, and websites become heavier by the kilos with every piece of content, it would only make sense to replace clickable images with words written in colorful and artistic fonts. To put it in one sentence, to master this trend, all you need is love (for web design) and some guts.

Your shot of inspiration: Ink Byte Studios’ website makes amazing use not only of bold colors and typefaces, but of other trends we’ve discussed today, including subtle motion and content blocks.

 

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Conclusion? In 2018 more than ever, the great thing about web design is that it has no limits at all. You can literally do whatever you want, so go crazy! Just make sure the design is aligned with your message and concept, and the rest will follow. Ready to play? Start designing your website with Wix now.

 

 

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Julia Ronen

Julia is a creative content developer for Wix Expert Communities. She regularly writes for High on Design, a major outlet for professional designers and creatives, and for the Wix Photography Blog.

Colin Whitlock