Here’s what design is all about this month.
1. Focus on Typing
Admittedly, this trend seems a little obscure, but we think you’ll know it when you see it. Many projects are being designed with an emphasis on typography.
This includes large, bold letters, interesting typefaces, large variations in size or color, tiny animations, and overall strong imagery. You won’t see many photos or videos here (and if you do, they’re probably small).
After that, almost anything is allowed. And the designs are pretty amazing!
These projects include all types of typography, from experimental to bold. (You can even find it in the new typography animation in the new design for this website in the homepage banner.)
Here are three examples of three very different directions in this website design trend:
IGZIST it combines an oversized slab serif with a calligraphy style that takes up the entire screen. With a black-and-white aesthetic and red accent, everything has an in-your-face feel. There is a glitch animation that also sets everything up to keep it interesting.
Contra Bureau links headline too close for comfort i “CONTRA” with lateral text, a sub-headline with underlines, and multiple typefaces in a bold red and beige color scheme to keep you hanging on every word. A huge contrast in style and size adds to the effectiveness of this typographic game.
Readymag uses an interesting typeface in color changing animation to get you ready and grab your attention. The green-on-white pattern is not common and is a bit of a distraction. The largest graphic elements on the screen are the navigation buttons and brackets for small text elements.
2. Heroes with Very Small Text
This typography trend includes very little text. Many designers are creating hero headers with almost no text other than simple navigation.
How does this work? How does a user engage when there is nothing to read?
The images must be very attractive. And even then, this design style can still be risky. See the examples below; is there enough to make you click or scroll?
Mathijs Hanenkamp’s portfolio site uses a large photo with a small headline in the bottom left corner. But there’s an interesting top row with animation that makes you think there’s not much else. Then when you realize it’s your photographer’s portfolio, everything comes together.
AB Yachts has no text on the home hero other than the brand name. If you know the company, the video is probably enough to keep you going, but if not, it might be more of a stretch for inexperienced users to continue engaging .
Edlewerke focuses on unusual imagery (there’s also a tiny animation here) and navigation to help you move through the site. It’s visually striking, but is it enough? Tracking analytics on a design like this would certainly keep the answer to that question.
3. Serifs everywhere
For designers emerging in the world of print, this website design trend can be a breath of fresh air – serifs everywhere!
Although serifs have become much more popular with websites, they still don’t come close to using sans serifs. The right serifs can be beautiful and very readable.
They can also be used in a variety of ways to create a design with a nice focus on typography that isn’t the sole focus of the design. This trend is more central between the two most extreme examples above.
Momset uses a slightly larger modern condensed serif for the main headline in the hero area as well as other headlines throughout the design. Color adds an extra element of interest, and the use of space keeps this font readable.
Mbau goes super simple with a full screen video that rolls behind a simple serif headline that never moves. This design feels elegant and classy, perfect for a travel setting. Using “exclusive” in italics almost jumps off the screen because the design is all about that feeling.
Caddis Eye Appliances uses a large serif heading and subheadings balanced with smaller sans serif elements for other text elements. What’s fun about the whole design is that it’s about being different – they use the term “nonconformists” – and the serif helps visually represent that mantra.
Typography trends are an exciting design element because, depending on your brand – and your style guide – you may or may not be able to take advantage of these elements. How do you balance incorporating a trend and maintaining a brand identity?
The answer isn’t always clear, but many brands find a way to create the right elements to keep themselves looking fresh without losing who they are. Look at your brand’s rules to determine what constraints you have to work within and how you can be both on-brand and on-trend.