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Six Design Trends for 2019

Design is constantly evolving—it is subject to trends just like our fashion and our decor. One of my favorite things about being a designer is watching influences in and out of the design world begin to shift; it helps me serve our clients better and keeps us exploring new ideas, mediums and concepts to apply to our projects.
Author Jessica Comingore

At the start of 2018, I shared some of the design trends I was witnessing, including shifts towards more social media design, more rule-breaking, and more color. As we wind down 2018 and start looking toward 2019, I’d like to share what new trends I’m seeing in the design world and how they are (and aren’t) different from this past year.

1. Verticality with website design.

For a really long time, a horizontal design (content stacking) has reigned most popular. This allows for menu bars and less content per page, but is a trend that I’ve seen shift in the last year. While horizontal design is likely still the “go-to” for people and businesses, a vertical design layout has become much more appealing, likely because most website visitors are using mobile.

A vertical design is often more narrow, with scrolling columns of text and the menu in the side navigation. Sometimes, this includes a split-screen layout that allows for people to read vertically while still being able to maintain access to the navigation. It all makes for a sleek experience, and one that I’m learning can also boost your SEO.

Curious about vertical design? Here are some great examples.

2. Mobile-first focus.

While I wouldn’t say this is a direct design trend, mobile design does absolutely influence how your brand decides to approach its audience. It also influences your search ranking. About 63% of all web traffic comes from a mobile device, which means that the majority of your brand’s audience are using a smartphone or tablet to look at your website. Google also switched to their Mobile-first indexing algorithm, which takes your website’s mobile version into account before the desktop version. For all of these reasons, designers and business owners alike should start to think about designing mobile first—and then think desktop.

3. Logo adaptability.

Think for a moment about all the places your brand’s or client’s logo appears. It will be seen on mobile sites, desktop sites, print, social media, email, etc. which means that a single design isn’t going to cut it. When designing or investing in logos in 2019, make sure you deliver or receive a suite that is flexible for a variety of platforms, especially mobile. I recommend, at minimum, a horizontal orientation, vertical orientation, and monogram or brand stamp to cover the average brand’s needs.

4. Authenticity in marketing.

This isn’t a new trend, necessarily, but I am seeing a real pushback on the sell-sell-sell nature of social media and general audience engagement. There’s been a major dip in Instagram engagement, likely because it often feels like scrolling through a feed of commercials. With more and more people realizing this—and not engaging with it—brands and entrepreneurs have acknowledged that selling should take the back seat to authenticity. While they might still be selling something, they’re offering more value to back up their service or product.

5. Digital brands going physical.

Online shopping has become part of our retail culture. We shop online and engage with brands and businesses online. But at the end of the day, the majority of customers still want to interact with products in person, especially clothing. There is an immediate satisfaction in being able to try something on and buy it, and I’ve seen quite a few digital brands respond to this demand by creating showrooms, pop-ups, or even temporary storefronts. And while retail giants are trying to push their goods by sheer volume, we’re seeing digital brands take a more boutique approach that is much more satisfying for their audience.

This is the best example I’ve seen of brands recognizing their why and adapting to their audience’s needs. If you take something away from this, it shouldn’t be that you need a storefront. It’s that you should identify your audience, what they want, and how to give it to them.

6. Colors and patterns are here to stay.

One of the 2018 trends I shared was an emergence of bolder colors and patterns. While pared down design, a focus on simplicity, and minimalist web design are still alive and well, they’re being matched with a whole lot of color. I’m seeing brighter colors and bolder patterns, a lot of which is a direct response to how consumers respond to brands. Upbeat and positive brands attract people seeking upbeat, positive energy. And I think we can all agree that we can use a bit of positivity in our lives these days.

I also think these brighter colors and patterns reflect a more quirky, playful brand trend that many Millennials and other consumers are flocking to. All of this translates to more vibrant websites, social media feeds, and other communication collateral that make for a strong brand impression.

By no means are these the only design trends out there; these are just a few of the things I’ve been noticing. What about you? What design trends have you seen emerging the past year that you’re excited for in 2019?

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